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Today in Cleantech

It’s freaky Friday, so let’s talk about the idea that wireless smart meters cause brain tumors and massive headaches — if not in the heads of protesters and their elected representatives in California’s Marin County, then perhaps for the utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric. For years, a tiny but vocal group of people have claimed that radio frequencies (RF) from common wireless communications devices cause a host of health problems — and for years, groups like the Federal Communications Commission, the World Health Organization and other scientific studies have said it ain’t so. But that hasn’t stopped opponents from blockading smart meter installation trucks along California’s Highway 1, or pushing the Maine Public Utilities Commission to consider allowing some customers to opt out of having wireless smart meters installed at their homes. So far the protests haven’t really stopped meter installations, but given the other PR problems utilities are having with smart meters, it may be time for some good old-fashioned customer outreach. Or, as Pike Research analyst Peter Asmus notes, it may be an opportunity for powerline carrier-based smart meters from the likes of Echelon to step in as an alternative.