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23 September 2023

Switzerland: Smart Meter as a Major Health Hazard: Referendum Possible

Press release from the Swiss Association for Protection against Radiation (Verein Schutz vor Strahlung) concerning smart meters and the upcoming debate (week of 25 September) on this issue in the National Council of the Swiss Parliament.

Media release
Referendum possible
Smartmeter as a major health hazard

Schutz-vor-strahlung, Zurich, September 22, 2023 - translation by DeepL

With the Energy and Electricity Supply Act (also known as the "Mantelerlass"), the parliament wants to accelerate the introduction of renewable energies. The association Schutz-vor-Strahlung is considering the launch of a referendum against the law. This law provides for the obligation to install digital electricity meters and controls, so-called smart meters, in all private households.
In most cases, these devices are associated with health risks and are in conflict with data protection. Another goal in introducing smart meters, combined with flexible electricity tariffs, would be to bring about a change in behavior among the population. Any possibility of controlling household appliances from the outside is an invasion of privacy.

Next week, the National Council will finish debating the remaining differences in the Electricity “Mantelerlass” (revision of the Energy and Electricity Supply Act). The association Schutz-vor-Strahlung vehemently criticizes the planned bill. This is because it stipulates that the Federal Council must oblige all electricity producers and consumers to install a digital electricity meter and a control unit. These devices are smart meters, which, according to the decree, must be installed in every Swiss household.

Health hazards due to radiation

In most cases, they represent a health hazard. The automatic communication with the power grid operator's control center is often done via Powerline Communication (PLC), or via a 4G transmitter. The electrosmog that is continuously generated by this type of communication can lead to health problems for a significant proportion of the population. With PLC, signals are emitted via all power cables - from the oven to the bedside lamp - in private households, causing increased pulsed emissions. Although there are some places, such as the city of Zurich, where appliances are connected to the Internet using fiber optics, it is expected that in large parts of Switzerland the continuous radiation due to the smartmeter obligation will lead to significant health damage in the medium term. In particular for the ten percent of the population with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), negative effects are to be expected. Further negative effects are expected for the bird population. The radiation from PLC spreads for kilometers and has been shown to disrupt the orientation of robins.

Control from outside

In addition, the digital electricity meters will in future not only collect data and transmit it to the electricity grid operators, but also in certain cases, will be able to access electricity producers (power plants, private solar systems, e-cars) and consumers (private households) and switch devices on or off in order to stabilize the power grid. In future, smart meters will switch off solar systems when there is an excess of electricity or switch on e-cars at charging stations. In the event of a power shortage, the switching off of consumers or the automatic reduction of heating and the like are envisaged.

The bill leaves open which consumers can be specifically switched off in which situations. The Federal Council is given a great deal of leeway. For example, it can determine to what extent consumers can use a remote control system of their electrical appliances and in which situations. Solar installations, refrigerators, e-charging stations or entire households can be switched off against their will. Swiss households are thus all forcibly connected to the Internet, which creates a gateway for Trojans and hackers.

Psychological stress and discrimination possible due to flexible electricity tariffs

Furthermore, flexible electricity tariffs are envisaged, which may lead to increased psychological stress and discrimination. Every electricity consumer with a flexible electricity tariff must pay attention to the time at which he or she draws electricity, since the tariffs are constantly changing. It is unclear whether this pricing model will become mandatory for all customers of a network operator. What is certain, however, is that this additional effort is perceived by many as stressful and is discriminatory for people in professions with fixed working hours (nurses, teachers, factory workers, etc.). This additional burden would exacerbate the increasing fatigue in the population. Flexible electricity tariffs are advertised as having a savings effect. However, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy already determined in 2018 that only 1.8 percent of electricity can be saved.

The “Matelerlass” leads to significantly more electrosmog, to problems with data protection, to encroachments on privacy. The associated flexible electricity tariff can cause stress and lead to discrimination. The association Schutz-vor-Strahlung is very critical of the bill and is considering a referendum - primarily in the interest of health protection.

Media contact Association Protection from Radiation
Rebekka Meier, President
rebekka.meier@schutz-vor-strahlung.ch, 032 652 61 61

Original text in German:

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