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A Legal Brief Filed in New Mexico Describes the Dangerous Impacts of Smart Meters on Human Health and Wildlife

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A legal brief has been filed with the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission to oppose plans to roll out smart meters in the state.  It details comments from the public regarding the impact on their health from the radiofrequency (“RF”) radiation emitted by the devices.

Not only does the brief state that the dangerous impacts on human health have been overlooked, but also the deadly impacts on wildlife.

Smart meters – sometimes referred to as advanced metering infrastructure (“AMI”) are digital devices that measure and record electricity, gas or water consumption in real-time and relay the information to utility companies, according to IBM. In addition to potentially harming health, many say the meters present privacy and cybersecurity risks.

New Mexico continues to be one of the few American states without smart meters.  However, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (“PNM”) has applied to the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission to approve a “grid modernisation” plan, which includes a smart meter rollout.

PNM has tried three times to get regulatory approval to put smart meters in the state, according to New Mexicans for Utility Safety, a public advocacy group that “has successfully opposed smart meters in the state of New Mexico for health and environmental reasons since 2016.”

After it filed its third application on 3 October 2022, the Commission asked PNM to provide a cost-benefit analysis for its proposed grid modernisation investment.

In April, the commission held a public comment hearing about the case and the cost-benefit analysis.  However, a week before the hearing the commission said in a press release that comments made during the hearing “will not be considered as evidence in this proceeding.”

New Mexicans for Utility Safety filed a legal brief earlier this month urging the Commission to deny PNM’s application.

“Public comments should be considered in evaluating PNM’s Cost-Benefit Analysis,” the group said.  And alleged that “hundreds” of public comments testifying to smart meters’ dangerous impacts on human health and wildlife went overlooked in the case before the state’s regulatory commission.

The group also argued that costs to human health and the environment should be included in the cost-benefit analysis.

PNM has ignored scientific studies and evidence of “severe health effects,” the group said. Additionally, the state’s hearing examiner ruled that evidence relating to health and the environment was “irrelevant” to the case, the group added.

Many of the comments submitted during the hearing came from people who had smart meters installed in their homes and then sought to live somewhere without a smart meter – like New Mexico – because they believed the RF radiation emitted by the device was affecting their health.

New Mexicans for Utility Safety’s legal brief included this comment from Elizabeth Foley Walsh:

After a smart meter was installed in my home in NC [North Carolina], I began having severe headaches and dizziness the very next week, and absence episodes which later were diagnosed as temporal lobe seizures …

I had to go on medical leave from my 18-year career in developmental epidemiology … In desperation, I decided to sign a short-term lease to move to a remote and rural community in NC where I could pay a fee to keep my analogue meter.

I was not terribly optimistic which is why I was stunned at the change in my health. It was truly shocking. I never had another seizure.

Deirdre Novella believes she was severely affected by smart meters. “They were installed at my job as a hair stylist,” she said, “and within a few months I had massive radiation poisoning symptoms.”

“My hair was falling out and I was diagnosed with leukaemia… New Mexico is a safe haven for me, so I think smart meters should be banned,” Novella added.

Other commentators noted how they no longer saw wildlife – including bees, birds and frogs – after a smart meter was installed on their home.

You can read the public comments as noted in the legal brief HERE, beginning on page 10.





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