Jennifer Stahl, an advocate against the smart meters initiative, told The Blaze she “was protecting” her property when she refused to allow the smart meter installer install the device. She felt “like a momma bear protecting her babies,” she recalled.
Many opponents to the meters worry about the type of data the smart grid will collect, opening up a potential for hackers and criminals to know when residents are home or not. Also, because the meters work on a wireless RF system, some are concerned about health safety in their home. Reports of health risks due to the meter's wireless transmitter's emission of electromagnetic frequencies surfaced in 2011. People with the meters installed on their homes reported symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, tinnitus, and DNA breakdown.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Malia “Kim” Bendis was also arrested on two misdemeanors for resisting a police officer and attempted eavesdropping, when she filmed police on scene, despite a recent federal court ruling that the state of Illinois’s ban on recording police officers in the line of duty was “unconstitutional.” The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that ruling in November.
The city maintains that homeowners can opt out of the wireless transmitters but only by substituting those with an alternative meter at a high fee. The Tribune reports there is a $68.35 initial fee for the alternative meter plus a $24.75 monthly fee for manually reading it.