See update about Smart Meters.
On the 19th of November 2012, Stephen Hadley wrote a press release (see below) about carbon monoxide poisoning and smart meters in an attempt to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning as well as the implications of smart meters being introduced within the UK.
As we know carbon monoxide is a silent killer and in 2011 government figures showed that each year 4,000 people go to A&E, 200 people are hospitalised and that there are around 50 deaths in England and Wales alone. Stephen also shared with me that information was released on the 1st of May 2013 that one in four carbon monoxide detectors that had been fitted to homes in one council area were found to be faulty. This equates to over 6,000 council properties that are unprotected. This highlights the need for us to be aware as individuals as we may not be as protected as we expect.
With regard to smart meters, there are some currently being installed voluntarily with no pressure selling on consumers. This is prior to the EU Directive which comes into force in 2014 where it is planned for all UK homes to have a smart meter installed between 2014 and 2019. This means that there is no EU Regulation placed upon them currently. Steve also mentioned that Sweden suspended their programme after health concerns were raised and studies came to light. He also sits on the Smart Metering Grids for standards and Holland also suspended their programme. Germany has just completed their studies of which they are awaiting their findings.
The true cost of Home Energy?
We have a duty of care in protecting our nation against silent killers like carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning yet in this the 21st century we are openly falling short unlike other countries. In truth, we have both the knowledge and skilled workforce to become leaders in minimising this threat.
In comparison it is a legal requirement in Britain that annual P.A.T. testing of electrical equipment in the workplace such as computers, telephones and even the humble kettle is not only carried out by a professional but also stamped and data logged. It is compulsory to have a yearly vehicle MOT whereby an emissions test is once again performed and logged on database. And so it becomes apparent herein that there is a flaw in the legal conformity in regards to safe-guarding against carbon monoxide poisoning. One could sadly point out that perhaps it will yet again take the tragedy of a parliamentary members relative to fall victim before such an enforced method of testing becomes a legal requirement.
Experience has taught us to act vigilantly and where necessary to use all resources to protect our children and adults from predator’s intent on putting lives at risk. The media are vital tools in these measures. Therefore in acknowledging carbon monoxide as a killer we should again call upon such measures to ensure the people are aware of this silent threat to life and minimise its effect.
HSE have established that EFGA testers are the only accurate and safe way of determining carbon monoxide levels and yet in servicing our appliances there is no legal requirement for such equipment to be used.
Carbon monoxide detectors are vital in this fight against the silent killer and as such could be issued by local council (costs added to bill) or indeed in times of such prosperity for energy providers could become a stipulation of their duty of care to the customer and tested alongside the servicing of gas appliances.
In our haste to move with the times we should not ignore reported health concerns by other nations following the implementation of these meters. In fact in addition to any risk of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity there is also the very predominant concern of stress to those most vulnerable not only in rising utility costs but the fear of how this new equipment will control their provision of energy.
It has become apparent that we are failing in establishing safe installation practices (ie gas flues in voids), yet other EU countries are forging ahead and again, that we are not delivering the message that this silent killer is amongst us and will strike without warning.
Therein it would be an advantageous move to gain the nations trust by putting safety first by forewarning and forearming against the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning; which as we know could save £178 million per year, also in putting the consumer first by further research on the effects of smart meters to both health and also financial wellbeing before installations are carried out.
Stephen Hadley Gas Safety Consultant