Angry Residents in SF’s Richmond District Take Action to Block Installations
San Francisco, CA- Facing mounting opposition to wireless ‘smart’ meters being rolled out by California utilities, including 10 local governments who have criminalized installations, and 23 more who have demanded that the CPUC stop the program because of widespread reports of health impacts, the Commission yesterday signalled that it would ask one of California’s utilities- PG&E- to develop a plan to allow customers to opt out of having a wireless meter installed- at customers’ expense. Meanwhile, as residents in San Francisco and elsewhere learn more about the meters, some are furious and are taking direct action to stop installations.
Kendra Lock, a resident of San Francisco’s Richmond District who had a ‘smart’ meter installed at her house yesterday after being told that “it would be installed whether she allowed it or not,” was angry enough to physically block the Wellington Energy installer from leaving the scene- insisting that he remove the meter from her home. “I felt that PG&E intimidated me- I now realize they are systematically intimidating everyone. We need to start asking questions. Why are they pushing this on us so quickly without consultation or notification? What’s actually behind this rollout?”
Environmental health advocates and a burgeoning grassroots movement to halt the installations welcomed the CPUC’s admission that there is a health crisis with the smart meter program, but slammed the meager steps proposed to address it. According to Joshua Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters!, “Admitting that there is a problem is the first step to fixing that problem. However, an individual opt out at customer expense for PG&E customers is a diversion. What if you are too poor to avoid having a wireless meter- is the state saying you have to pay to avoid having a headache? That sounds an awful lot like extortion. What if you live in Southern California, or in an apartment building with dozens of meters on your bedroom wall? The bottom line is that these meters are hurting people- and no one deserves to be subject to powerful microwave radiation pulses 24 hours a day in their own home.”
The wireless meters have been widely reported to cause headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears- even memory loss and heart palpitations among susceptible individuals due to bursts of microwave radiation. The movement against wireless meters is the sharp end of a growing movement demanding health-based standards for wireless technology. Michael Peevey, who Gov. Brown has allowed to continue chairing the Commission, has continually insulted individuals with electro-sensitivity, inferring that they are ‘just making it up.’ Peevey, the former President and Senior Executive of Southern California Edison (SCE) has ties to the telecommunications industry, and continues to chair the Commission that is meant to oversee the utilities, despite popular outrage about clear conflicts of interest. SCE plans to have installed 5.3 million meters between 2009 and 2012.
Health advocates say they will continue protests and civil disobedience until a moratorium is imposed on any further installation, independent hearings on health are scheduled at the state level, and the utilities are directed to remove unwanted meters.