by Mike Opelka, The Blaze  |  published on February 11, 2013

A handicapped woman in western Ohio has to battle the freezing winter weather this weekend because she refused to allow the local power company to install a “smart meter” on her property.

Brenda Hawk has a pacemaker for her heart and because her brain was injured in a car accident, she requires a breathing machine in order to sleep at night. She does not want the new radio-frequency emitting meter because of the health problems these devices have been said to cause. But American Electric Power AEP-Ohio, the local power company, has persisted in their push to swap out Hawk’s analog meter and replace it with the new one.

TheBlaze spoke with Hawk on Saturday. At the time, she was using a kerosene heater to stay warm in the freezing weather. Hawk gave us a basic timeline on the story.

In October of last year, a utility worker arrived on her property and announced that he had removed her old analog power meter and replaced it with a new one. Hawk told him that she had not approved the meter swap and requested that the old one be restored. A series of phone calls between Hawk, the power company and the sheriff’s office was enough to get the new meter pulled out and the old one re-installed.

Fast forward to Jan. 24, 2013. A certified letter from AEP executive Ralph Rocca, Jr. arrived at Hawk’s home announcing that she would be getting a new meter or her power would be cut off. Her efforts to contact Rocca were not successful. All that Hawk wanted was a guarantee from the company that the new meter’s electrical signals would not interfere with her pacemaker. The company could not give her that assurance and it was her position that unless and until they did, no “smart meter” would be installed.

On January 25, after the letter arrived, she called the local sheriff’s office and claims that call was not returned. Hawk also wrote letters to her Congressional Representative Jim Jordan and Ohio Governor John Kasich asking why the new meter program had no “opt-out” clause for health reasons. Those letters were not responded to either.

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