Opponents of Naperville's smart meter installation program have gone to great lengths to stop the project, including a failed attempt to put a referendum on the March 20 ballot, a federal lawsuit and, in some cases, refusal to let the installers work at their home.
One resident chose to go a different route recently when he filed a complaint with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Pollution Control Board in an attempt to delay the city's $22 million Smart Grid Initiative.
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In a recent email to council members, 25-year resident Kit Weaver stated he has requested "that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency invoke its broad powers under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act in order to protect the public and the environment from the chronic exposure to the preventable environmental hazards associated with radio-frequency emission devices being installed for each and every property within the city of Naperville,"
Ultimately, though, Weaver, a health physicist, said Tuesday that his strategy was to get the IEPA officials to acknowledge they have jurisdiction over the city's smart meter deployment.
"I'll be really disappointed if they decide it's not worth looking into," Weaver said.
Weaver received a confirmation letter from the state agencies confirming receipt of his complaint but officials at those agencies said Tuesday they have no record of it. Even if they did, however, an IEPA spokeswoman said they wouldn't investigate.
"This issue is clearly federal and not under either the Illinois EPA or the Pollution Control Board's regulatory authority," Maggie Carson said Tuesday. "Illinois EPA would therefore not have been referred to an inspector to conduct an investigation."
City Manager Doug Krieger called the complaint "laughable" and the "most creative" he's seen in regards to the opposition of the meter installation.
"I'm fairly confident we wont be hearing from the EPA on this one," Krieger said. "If they were to do what the resident is suggesting, they would be shutting down all TV and radio transmissions throughout the city and cellphones and baby monitors would be banned," Krieger said. "I don't see that happening."
Weaver, though, said if the IEPA would give him the courtesy of a phone call to discuss his complaint, he would narrow the scope of his complaint.
"My strategy was to get the state agencies to say these things should not be installed on private property without consent of homeowner," Weaver said. "I'm not trying to ban cellphones and everything else. I'm just trying to stall until we get a further review by IEPA to investigate what the city is doing here."
The city maintains the initiative is a safe upgrade to its $360 million electric network to provide more efficient, cost-effective and reliable service to customers. The plan's critics say they are concerned about the long-term health risks associated with the wireless RF meters and the safety concerns associated with connecting to a wireless network.
To date, about 9,000 of the projected 57,000 meters have been installed throughout the city.