Police now accompanying Smart Meter installations:
Two homeowners arrested for saying NO!
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) As if police in most major cities didn't have enough to do
already, now they are being deployed as enforcers for the nanny state.
Cops in Naperville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, have arrested two mothers after
they attempted to block utility workers from installing so-called "smart meters"
on their homes. The women, who were known to be vocal opponents of the wireless
electric meters, apparently, were not the only smart meter opponents, however,
because city officials told the Chicago Tribune they have ordered police
to accompany utility crews as they install the meters on other homes where they
were previously sent away.
"The previous installation attempts were met with some resistance and we wanted
to ensure our employees' safety," City Manager Doug Krieger told the paper.
Translation: Your home isn't really your home anymore.
Your home is not your castle
According to the paper Naperville has installed about 57,000 smart meters
already and is about 99 percent finished with the process. Officials say the
meters will make the city's electrical system more efficient and reliable and
will also reduce costs.
But the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group says they are concerned about the
health, security and privacy aspects of the wireless smart meters. They group,
which was led by the two women who were arrested, has a federal lawsuit pending
against the city.
Malia "Kim" Bendis, one of the two, was charged with a pair of misdemeanors, the
Tribune said - attempted eavesdropping and resisting a peace officer. The other
woman, Jennifer Stahl, also received two citations - interfering with
police and preventing
access to customer premises. Again, your home is not your home in Naperville,
Upon her release, Stahl said when she refused a smart meter for her home utility
installers accompanied by cops cut a bicycle lock she had put on her fence
before entering her backyard. After that little incident of trespassing, she
said she had no choice but to stand in front of her old meter, refusing to move.
"It was forced on my house today," she said, according to the paper. "It was
really a violation. I violated something, but I've been violated too so I guess
we're now in a society of violating one another."
Naturally, the city is defending its actions. Officials say the
smart meters are no
big deal - they are safe, they are "smart," they will save residents money and
they will improve the efficiency of the electrical grid.
But privacy advocates like Stahl and Bendis are rightfully concerned about what
personal information and data the systems are relaying back to - whomever.
Others are also worried about the anti-privacy implications associated with
smart meter technology. National Geographic outlined such concerns in a
In theory, the information collected by smart meters could reveal how many
people live in a home, their
daily routines, changes in those routines, what types of electronic equipment
are in the home, and other details. "It's not hard to imagine a divorce lawyer
subpoenaing this information, an insurance company interpreting the data in a
way that allows it to penalize customers, or criminals intercepting the
information to plan a burglary," the private nonprofit Electronic Frontier
Foundation noted in a blog post about smart meters.
Plus, to add insult to injury, the smart meters come with added costs, at least
for Naperville residents: According to the Tribune, "there is a $68.35 initial
fee for a non-wireless meter plus a $24.75 monthly fee for reading it"
(our emphasis). So, not only do Naperville residents not have a choice
whether or not they get one, they are going have to pay a monthly stipend for
the "privilege" of having their civil rights violated.
And just exactly how are these devices supposed to save residents money,
when they cost more per month just to have? If the meters don't save residents
more than $25 a month, it looks to us like electric bills in Naperville just
'We have the right to violate your rights'
Stahl has it right. She says residents who want a non-wireless meter shouldn't
have to pay for it because, after all, if the city utility is foisting it on
residents, the cost should be on the city. She says she represents other
homeowners who were
unable to continue refusing the installation.
"I have not done the work of attempting to educate the community and advocating
for the right of anybody in Naperville to refuse the smart meter just to stand
off to the side," she said.
When Bendis exited the police department, a handful of smart meter opponents
were there to cheer her. Citing advice from her attorney, however, she declined
comment to the press.
Krieger was unrepentant, as expected, as well as dismissive of homeowners'
"The city has always had and maintains the right to access our equipment,
and...we were simply exercising that right," he told the paper.