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Your Maryland State Representatives Need to Hear from YOU now

Guide for Legislative Campaign 2014

Introduction

This guide is designed for members of Maryland Smart Meter Awareness  to be used in contacting their respective state representatives in Annapolis for the 2014 session that begins in January of 2014. Our goal is get a cost free opt out passed.  We have this year cost free opt out bills in both the House and Senate.   The bill numbers are in the model letters to Senators and Delegates, respectively.   This guide works regardless of whether you have internet access, although using the internet may be more efficient.  This guide will first explain how to determine the legislative district in which you live if you do not know this already.  Then the guide will explain how to figure out who your respective state senators and delegates are.  Once you have done that, you will have their contact information if you are using the internet.   If you are not using the internet, you will need to get the contact information by calling 1-800-492-7122.

House Delegate Glen Glass introduced an Opt Out bill and to date has gotten over 40 cosponsors. And for the first time, we have a Senator, Senator Kelley, willing to introduce an Opt Out bill in the Maryland Senate.  But this year’s bills are moving much more quickly than in previous years, and it is vital that you contact your respective legislators quickly.

Once you know who your elected representatives are, you need to decide whether you want to meet with your elected representatives or just write them letters.  By far the most effective action you can take is to actually meet with your elected representatives either near where you live (called an ‘in-district’ meeting) or in Annapolis.  MSMA will do its best to have someone accompany you if you would like that.  Of course you will need to coordinate with us before you make the appointment.  While meeting face to face with your elected representative may be something out of your comfort zone, you should not be at all intimidated.  The only reason why your elected representatives are there in the first place is because people like you elected them.  They are there to serve us, not visa versa.  In fact, they will welcome the opportunity to meet with you unless they have some sort of competing concern.  They all want to keep getting re-elected, and the best way to do that is to be responsive to the needs of their constituents.   Keep in mind that before the session starts in early January, they will have time to meet with you.   As the legislative session gets going, they will have less and less time to meet with constituents.

If meeting face to face is not an option, then it is vital to at least write a letter to each of your elected representatives.   We have drafted some model letters for you to use and put them on our web site.  We did not include every reason why we are opposed to smart meters as that will overwhelm your elected representatives.   Rather, we focused on the key issues that we think will present our opposition to smart meters in the most favorable light.  You are encouraged to add your own personal touch to the letters.  We make some suggestions in the Writing Letters section, below.

Some people like sending e-mail to their elected representatives.  The jury is still out as to how effective that is.  For the younger generation of lawmakers, it probably works, although it is less effective than written letters.  For the older generation of lawmakers, they clearly give much greater attention to written letters.

Determining Who Your Elected Representatives Are

If you do not have access to the internet, you can call 1-800-492-7122 and ask them to help you figure you who your representatives are and how to contact them.   If you have access to the internet, then just go to the website:
http://www.mdelect.net/

At the top center of the page, type in your street address and press the find button.   All your elected representatives in Maryland will appear on the left including your state senators and delegates.  It will also tell you which district you live in.  Each name is highlighted in blue.  You can click on each name and get all the contact information you need for each of your senators and delegates.  (If you have more than one delegate from your district, you will need to contact each one.)  You will need this information if you wish to set up a face-to-face meeting, send them a letter or send them an e-mail.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can call 1-800-492-7122 and ask them who your representatives are and how to contact them.   If you have access to the internet, just go to the website  http://www.mdelect.net

Requesting a Face to Face Meeting with Your Elected Representatives

As mentioned above, a face-to-face meeting is the most effective way to communicate your concerns to your elected representatives.  Once you have determined who your elected representatives are and obtained their contact information, you need to call up their respective offices and start making appointments.  You do not have to be a master of all the facts to meet with them.   All you need to do is express sincere concern about smart meters.  Personalize your reasons for opposing smart meters if possible.  (See letter writing section for ideas.)   It also is a good idea if you mention you belong to Maryland Smart Meter Awareness as it will give both you and our organization more credibility.  If there is some question you cannot answer, note it carefully and tell the elected representative that you will contact MSMA and try to get the information.   If it is easier, we will contact the delegate or senator directly.   Once you have finished meeting with a particular delegate or senator, please e-mail me with the results at jlibber@gmail.com.   We will need to know the elected representative’s name, his or her district and what attitude that person had.   If your representative seems really supportive of our efforts, ask him or her to co-sponsor the bill.

Of course, if you want one of our members to accompany you, you will need to coordinate with us so we can have someone there.   As a practical matter, we have members willing to travel to areas within easy striking distance of Baltimore, Annapolis and the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC.  It will be much harder for now to reach areas beyond that.   To get someone from MSMA to accompany you, call Jonathan Libber at 410 358-4616 or e-mail him at jlibber@gmail.com.

Writing Letters to Elected Representatives

By far the most effective letter is one that is in your own words.  We of course realize that many of you are very busy and need something simple and easy.   And it is certainly preferable to have a mass produced letter sent than no letter at all.  We have included some model letters on the MSMA web site where you can just add the senator’s or delegate’s name and address, your own name and address, run it off and then send it to that elected representative.   One compromise might be take our model letter and change it around a bit so they look somewhat different.   Here are a few very helpful ways to personalize your letter.   First, try to include your own personal reasons why you do not want a smart meter.   For example, you have someone who lives in your apartment with pacemaker, and the FDA has warned that the rf radiation may interfere with its function.  You might mention that you live in an apartment, and that there is a bank of meters on the other side of wall of your bedroom.   Even if you opt out, it will not help because of all the other meters.  If there is a cost-free opt out, it will be easier to convince the other apartment dwellers to opt out.   The American Academy of Environmental Medicine put together a list of medical conditions that could be adversely impacted by smart meter radiation.  The list appears below.  If you have any one of these conditions, I would mention that in your letter.

In any case, your letter should clear and concise and not more than two pages.   Keep in mind that our state representatives have only one full time staff person, a part timer and an intern.  With that staff they have to deal with the thousands of e-mails, letters and calls that come in.  So a long complex letter is not going to be appreciated.  Finally, you should ask them to respond with their position on the issue or the legislation if it has already been introduced.

When you get a response from your elected representative, we need to keep track of how they responded.   It may be just a noncommittal polite response (e.g., “thank you for letting us know about this important issue”).  But it might contain more information that gives away where the elected representative is coming from.    Please e-mail me with the results at jlibber@gmail.com.

Medical Conditions Having Adverse Health Effects Related to Smart Meter Radiation

  • Neurological conditions such as paresthesias, somnolence, cephalgia, dizziness, unconsciousness, depression
  • Musculoskeletal effects including pain, muscle tightness, spasm, fibrillation
  • Heart disease and vascular effects including arrhythmia, tachycardia, flushing, edema
  • Pulmonary conditions including chest tightness, dyspnea, decreased pulmonary function
  • Gastrointestinal conditions including nausea, belching
  • Ocular (burning)
  • Oral (pressure in ears, tooth pain)
  • Dermal (itching, burning, pain)
  • Autonomic nervous system dysfunction (dysautonomia).
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Neurological conditions (Headaches, depression, sleep disruption, fatigue, dizziness, tremors, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, decreased memory, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, visual disruption)
  • Fetal abnormalities and pregnancy
  • Genetic defects and cancer
  • Liver disease and genitourinary disease

Expect a response with their position on Smart Meters

Finally, you should ask them to respond with their position on smart meters or the opt out bill if it has already been introduced.

Help MSMA Track Each Representatives’ Position

We would like to keep track of how our representatives responded so please e-mail me with the results at jlibber@gmail.com.   If the response is just a noncommittal polite response (e.g., “thank you for letting us know about this important issue”), then we don’t need to know.

Writing E-Mails

While not as effective as personal letters, a quick e-mail containing the same substance as the model letter is certainly helpful.  It does seem that the younger representatives have a higher regard for e-mail than the older ones.  The same guidance for letters applies here, particularly in regard to personalizing the message.   In addition, use the subject line to state why you are writing this e-mail.  In the body of the e-mail you should state up front that you are a constituent (unless you are not!) and include your name and street address.  Finally, you should ask them to respond with their position on the issue or the legislation if it has already been introduced.   Again please e-mail me with the results at jlibber@gmail.com.   If it is easier, just forward the response to me.

See Model Letters

Some Links You Might Want to Share with Your Representatives

Dr. Joseph Mercola’s article “Smart Grid Funding Misspent on Obsolete Technologies, Says New Report” (referring to the Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid report). This is a summary of the a report put out by the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy. This link also includes many links to other reports etc.

Link to the actual report: Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid

Consumers Digest Investigative Report by William Kelly: “Why Smart Meters Might Be a Dumb Idea”  This concerns the (lack of) cost benefits to the consumer.

This is an article concerning the utilities’ attempt to sell the Smart Grid as “green” but the reality is far from this.  There are no energy savings from Smart Meters, as shown in Dumb and Dangerous: The Problems with Smart Grids by B. Blake Levitt and Chellis Glendinning.

The following two articles discuss how localized solar energy solutions are threatening the utilities monopolistic business model:

“Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities, according to U.S. Utilities” written by David Roberts

“Building a Solar Economy: 4 Lessons from Hawaii” by Erin L. McCoy.  Hawaii’s solar boom has brought about an obstacle: excess power.

6 Responses to Your Maryland State Representatives Need to Hear from YOU now

  1. Scott April 20, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    The big boys have came out with their own “Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC)”. You can google it. Obliviously filled with a lot of false information. You can tell a lot of corporate money is being spent on their campaign. To say that their system does not violate privacy laws is a bunch of crock. I have two houses. One of co-own the other I live in. Last winter my neighbors tree fell into my yard taking down my power line to my house. BG&E came in while I was at work and made repairs. During the repairs they replaced my analog with one of their Smart Grid Meters. I didn’t ask for it. Didn’t want it and when I called I was told that my current (analog) unit was broke and that they didn’t have any alike replacements. Every month since then I get their report that tell me how much power I used and then they tell me how much my neighbors use. Then comes the insult. They tell me how much power my neighbors who use conservation measures use and then tell how much other neighbors who do not use conservative measure use and then tell me where I stand between them. I find this very insulting and certainly a invasion of privacy. Anyone who has the ability to tab into your information and can tell how much energy you use down to the minute is like placing a magnifying glass over your house. Any hacker can “electronically poll” your meter and gain information on your house. Its RF and RF radiates in all directions. In fact wireless is not allowed in computer networks were Secrete Level information and above is stored in all US government systems. Why because they know there is no such thing as a totally secure wireless system!.

  2. Tony Kritsings March 8, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    And by the way when variable rates are enacted this does not mean that utility rates are going down. This does not mean utility rate outside of Premium hours of the day during the summer months and premium hours during the nights of the winter months are going down either. Just another ingenious way to charge even more. Marylanders are being fleeced, sold down the river by both parties of Maryland State Legislators. Only a few have taken a stand but not enough to make a real change. Change is needed!!!!

  3. Tony Kritsings March 8, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    I have seen State Bills introduced about preventing third parties from obtaining private utility information. I think this is a distraction from the real issue. THE UTILITY COMPANIES do not need to know how much amperage you use ON A MINUTE SCALE. For decades the utility companies collected utility usage on a month by month scale. It works, it still works and is not a broken system. These new meters now track and record your usage on a HOURLY SCALE AND can allow the utility company to know THE TIME OF DAY ABOUT YOUR USAGE. This means that with these new meters they can do away with FLAT RATES and change to VARIABLE RATES. What this means is instead of paying one flat rate for the entire month now they will certainly charge a VARIABLE RATE, A PREMIUM charge during the hottest part of the day when your elderly grandparents need it the most. When your sick children are trying to heal and recover during the coldest part of the night.
    They call this going GREEN. Because you can chose to conserve, really, a choice. We can’t afford utility hikes as they are now. With premium rates you will be forced to suffer more because you will not be able to afford keeping your house warm when it is the coldest. The elderly, babies and children will suffer because you can’t afford to keep them safe and cool when it is at its extreme hottest during those cruel hot summer days. This is their idea of GREEN. Yes more GREEN for them! And they are laughing all the way to the bank while padding Maryland State leaders campaign pockets!

    .

  4. Sara Treadway January 19, 2014 at 6:38 am #

    I have opt out for having a “smart” meter installed on my house in Carroll county. For several reasons, there is no good reason for a business to know in minuet detail what I am doing minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day in the privacy of my own home. If BG&E is trying to cut down on man power resources (which places more people on the unemployment line) then all they needed is a device that electronically sends data at the end of each month BUT that does not have the propensity, nor the capacity nor the potential capability both present and future to track and record usages and changes on a minute by minute, hour by hour and day to day use. This is purely a constitutional violation of my right to privacy in my own home. Secondly the capability of the “smart” meter creates new ways for BG&E to charge me more by charging more during premium periods of the day this is new to Maryland. Haven’t they raised the utility cost enough since Maryland Gov. Parris Nelson Glendening was in office. I think they BG&E are smart enough to know that they cannot simply continue to ask for hike increases on a blanket scale but with the smart meter this creates a creative means on their part to raise rates in a unique way and fly low under the consumer awareness radar! Stop the greed and hold state representative accountable!

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