Energy and Climate Change CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Therese Howell (SMR86)

I am writing to you regarding the inquiry into “Smart Meter roll out”.

I have some concerns about Smart Meters, which I will go through in detail below.

My concerns are summarised as follows:

1.Health effects from radiation:

Wealth of scientific evidence points to wide range of health effects.

Precautionary principle should be followed.

Individuals are unable to opt out of exposure from their own or neighbours’ Smart Meters.

Authorities should prove beyond reasonable doubt that radiation is 100% harmless to health and wellbeing before installation.

2.Privacy and security issues relating to remote access and control:

Risk of hacking, terrorism or legal interception of supply to population.

Privacy issues relating to access to personal details and real-time usage information.

Solar activity impacting on supply of gas and water, not just electricity.

Health Effects from Radiation

For scientific in-depth information about health effects related to Smart meters and similar wireless technology please find a list of links on the last page of this document.

1.1 From what I understand the type of Smart Meters that are relevant for use in the UK use wireless technology with pulsed microwave radiation. This is the same type of radiation emitted by Wi-Fi technology, for instance.

There is a wealth of scientific evidence pointing to this type of radiation, and its electro-magnetic field, causing health effects ranging from relatively mild problems like headaches, insomnia or mood swings to very serious issues like cancer, infertility, birth defects, immune related illness, auto-immune diseases, ADHD, autism, hormonal imbalance just to name some of the commonly mentioned health problems.

1.2 The scientific community involved in research in this and related fields have repeatedly urged the need for further research, and for the precautionary principle to be applied, in order to protect the health of humans as well as the health of animals and plants.

The Council of Europe published a report in 2011 entitled “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment” (see links section).

From the summary:

“One must respect the precautionary principle and revise the current threshold values; waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case in the past with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.”

1.3 In the case of Smart Meters it would be impossible to protect oneself from radiation emitted, non-stop, either from one’s own or the neighbour’s Smart Meter. This is of great concern, particularly for those individuals suffering from electro-sensitivity, or indeed for children, pregnant women or those with a lowered immune system.

1.4 It is my opinion that the safety of the microwave radiation associated with Smart Meters should be proven beyond reasonable doubt before rolling out a Smart Meter scheme. The responsibility for proving 100% safety should lie with the authorities, manufacturers and installers (ie utility companies). The population should not have to put up with being used for this type of public health experiment.

Privacy and Security Issues Relating to Remote Access and Control

2.1 Whenever a wireless communication technology is used there is always the risk of interception.

Hacking of wireless networks is not particularly difficult. Anyone with the skills to hack the encryption of the wireless communication used in Smart Meter technology could potentially gain access to personal details and real-time usage information and gain control over the supply of gas, electricity or water connected to a Smart Meter. As Smart Meters have a remote system for switching off supply, any interception of this would be highly attractive to terrorists or anyone else wanting to control and disrupt the population’s access to water, light and heating, for instance.

According to, James Woolsey, ex-CIA director said in 2012:

“Smart Grid is a really, really stupid idea” with attacks on the energy grid “entirely possible”.

2.2 There is also the issue of which organisations and authorities could potentially gain access to personal details and real-time usage information through legal means. Legislation can be changed once the infrastructure is in place, to allow sharing of customers’ information. Worse still, supply could be controlled and restricted in a worst-case scenario.

2.3 The technology would also be vulnerable to disruption caused by the solar storms predicted for 2013, where geomagnetic surges are likely to affect electromagnetic systems on Earth. Power grid operators are, of course, aware this could affect electricity supply. If Smart Meters -controlling gas and water supply—were to be affected we risk losing not only electricity to millions of homes, but also gas and water.

I trust the issues I am raising will be taken into consideration in your inquiry.

Thank you very much!

Kind regards,


Therese Howell


Council of Europe report 2011

Download report from their website:

The BioInitiative report 2012

Download report from their website:

Olle Johansson, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Sweden:

Peer-revied article: “Disturbance of Immune System by Electromagnetic fields”:

Letter regarding Smart meters and health effects:

Magda Havas, Phd

Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University, Canada:

Website with wealth of information and links to scientific literature:

Letter regarding Smart meters and health effects:

The Rausing Laboratory, Lund University, Sweden


Persson et al, 1997. Blood-brain barrier permeability in rats exposed to electromagnetic fields used in wireless communication.

Elihu D Richter MD, MPH

Associate Professor, Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Israel:

Letter regarding Smart meters and health effects:

Karl Maret, MD

Letter regarding Smart meters and health effects:

Dr Andrew Goldsworthy, MSc, PhD

Honorary Lecturer in Biology, Imperial College London:

“The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic fields”:

February 2013

Prepared 26th July 2013