Why Opt Out is a Cop Out

180 'Smart' Meters with dwelling above

We received this e-mail and the photo above from a concerned woman the other day:

I live in a large apt complex. all 180 meters are about 12 feet below my living room window. do you think the first step would be to have someone come take a reading of the radio frequency output? if so, do you know anyone local to me and about how much it would cost?        thanks, *******

What good is PG&E’s proposed ‘opt out plan’ going to do for this woman? Say she opts out…  she’ll have 179 meters under her window, and she’ll have to pay for the privilege!  The bottom line is that these devices are dangerous and they are hurting people.   At the VERY LEAST the CPUC must declare an immediate moratorium on further installations, and order ALL utilities to remove unwanted and health damaging meters from people’s homes.  And not just in Northern CA.  Don’t forget about SDG&E and SCE customers as well. Apartment dwellers need rights to opt out not just from one meter, but from cumulative meter exposure.   Cities and counties must (and do) have the right to opt out as well.

The manner in which this ‘opt-out’ plan has come about is instructive in and of itself. Instead of dictating what the utility needed to do to ensure public safety, Peevey asked PG&E to take the lead and come back with a proposal, which no doubt the Commission will rubber stamp.   Rather than regulating the utility industry and protecting the public safety, the utility industry is in fact regulating the regulators and dictating the terms.   Michael Peevey, former executive with Southern California Edison, must step down if the public is to retain any shred of confidence in this commission.

With the addition of Tehama County yesterday, we are up to 34 local governments representing 2,242,123 people in CA who are demanding a moratorium. PG&E shareholders should be very nervous right now that they will be on the hook for a $2.2 billion smart meter program gone bad. Not to mention future damages claims.

One thing is for certain- PG&E should pay this poor woman’s bill for EMF analysis.  Or CEO Peter Darbee should swap homes with her.  But somehow we doubt that is going to happen.

SSM! March Newsletter is now available here.  Speak UP at the CPUC Meeting this Thursday March 24th 9am 505 Van Ness SF (sign in to speak for 1 minute max by 8:45am or by noon on Wednesday- sign up online here)  Join our “adopt a Wellington Installer” day after the commission meeting.

PG&E: See Your Power....Just DON'T get too close...

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16 Responses to Why Opt Out is a Cop Out

  1. kramer says:

    I just got a message saying SDG&E was going to install a smart meter on my house tomorrow.

    Can I opt out of this?

    And how do these things report the electrical usage to the power stations, via the web? If so, are they using my internet connection?

    • Hi Kramer- sure you can opt out- just don’t allow the installers access to your meters. They might tell you that they will turn your power off but it’s an idle threat- no one has had their power turned off from declining smart meter installation. In fact that would be illegal. Lock up your meter if you have to, post a sign, a couple of tarantulas, and you are set. The ‘smart’ meters send a powerful microwave signal roughly every 4 seconds that communicates with other meters in a ‘mesh network’ and eventually to a DCU (data collector unit) mounted on a power pole and then to a cell tower and to the utility. Saves them a lot of money but costs your health. See latest newsletter for what you can do: http://stopsmartmeters.org/ssm-bulletins/vol-6-march-2011/

  2. Donna says:

    Hi Karmer

    Please visit the link.

    http://refusesmartmeter.com/index.html

    Thanks

  3. kramer says:

    Thanks onthelevelblog and Donna. But it’s too late, they installed it this morning.

    I found out that these things are going to send our usage data to SDG&E every fifteen minutes. This seems like an invasion of privacy. If I have to live with this thing, why can’t they just take one reading a month to get my usage data in order to bill me?

    Seems to me that there might be some law we can use to stop them from taking these readings 4x/hour every day…

    • autumn says:

      kramer, that is a very good question. i have an idea one reason they might monitor our 4x hourly usage so they can charge us double and triple during peak hours. i know my bill has increased considerably since the smart meter came.

      • kramer says:

        autumn,

        I’m sure charging us more money is a big part of the reason. And I’m sure another part of the reason is to shape our energy consumption use to what they’ve determined is appropriate for us.

        On a side note, I just read that people under PG&E can opt out of a smart meter for a fee of about 600 dollars. That may be worth it if they are going to charge us more for peak usage. I hope SDG&E has an opt out plan…

        • robert says:

          Check out EMFWATCH on youtube. They have the levels that are being emitted from the devices, and how often they are emitted, and it’s not good. They shoot off celllular microwave radiation every minute and give an extra large pulse every three minuts or so. the xtra large ones measure in the guys daughters room. She was geeting radiation every three minutes whikle sleeping or while hanging out in her room. 210 times a night. She had sleep problems, body aches, spine pain, trouble concentrating. He put two and two together, moved her out of the room and she recovered after a few weeks, then he bought the meter you see in the videos to prove to himself that it wasn’t just a fluke. And there were the pulses every three minutes, when SDGE told hime that it would only send a signal 3 times a day. Sorry uyou missed refusing the meter by so little a time, but you can avoid the effects somewhat until they remove it.

  4. Aaron Brock, Esq. says:

    1. INSURANCE COMPANIES WON’T INSURE THE HEALTH PROBLEMS FROM WIRELESS Smart Meters

    And Insurance companies don’t sacrifice insurance premiums ($$$) for no reason.

    TV NEWS VIDEO (3 minutes, 13 seconds)
    http://eon3emfblog.net/?p=382

    2. WIRELESS SMART METERS TRANSMIT RADIATION APPROXIMATELY 25,000 TIMES PER DAY, 24/7, not 45 seconds per day as claimed by Utility Company.

    VIDEO – Radiation Measured From Smart Meter Mounted On A Home (6 min)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRejDxBE6OE

    3. CELL DAMAGE, DNA BREAKS & BREACHES IN THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER observed in laboratory tests from low levels of pulsed RF signal radiation as emitted by Wireless smart meters – reported by Top Wireless radiation scientists in the world:
    VIDEO – http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/cc-video/

    4. THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE IN STOCKHOLM THAT GIVES NOBEL PRIZES ISSUES GLOBAL WARNING AGAINST WIRELESS SMART METERS.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/48148346/Karolinska-Institute-Press-Release

  5. Nat. Environmental Consult, LLC says:

    PG & E Declared SmartMeter WAR on Innocent Customers!!

    Civil, and Constitutional Rights have been violated.

    Indictments will begin if Smart Meters are not Banned and Removed Immediately.
    Millions of Customers have been intentionally, and maliciously harmed by SmartMeter Microwave Radiation devices.
    _______
    View and Save this link:
    Smart Meters and PR Wars: Best Practices
    http://www.euci.com/events/index.php?ci=1320&t=O&e=WC
    This is actual wording from:
    Smart Meters and PR Wars: Best Practices
    May 12, 2011
    2:30 – 4:00 PM Eastern Time

    The California PUC’s decision to require opt out proposals for smart meters in Northern California has raised the stakes for utilities. Billions of dollars have been spent on smart meters and AMI, and tens of millions of smart meters have been installed. Utilities, which had previously received commission support and expedited approval for smart meter deployments, now face a potential barrage of public outcry, moratoriums on smart meter installation, and the real possibility of customer revolt over health concerns.

    The PR process begins long before the first meter is installed. This course will equip utilities with best practices to win the communications and PR battles. From call center employees to compliance managers and executives, utilities must be prepared to address smart meter issues before they arise. Attendees of this course will develop offensive and informative strategies to win the smart meter deployment war.

    Who Should Attend

    Utility executives and managers
    Call center managers
    Compliance directors
    Utility government-affairs staff members
    Attorneys, general counsels, and legal advisors
    Communication and public relations staff members
    Smart-grid technology vendors and consultants
    Learning Outcomes

    Develop a plan to educate and engage customers
    Examine strategies to gain broad base support for your smart meter program
    Recognize and address privacy issues and health concerns before they arise
    Develop internal privacy policies to address smart-grid data
    Formulate plans to equip and educate your dream team on the appropriate methods to address customers’ concerns
    Analyze techniques and policies to manage third-party data access issues
    Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

    About the Instructor

    Linda Evers, Shareholder, Stevens & Lee, P.C.

    Linda Evers is Chair of the Energy, Communications and Public Utility practice and a Shareholder at Stevens & Lee. Linda represents public utilities and other companies in matters before governmental and regulatory agencies. Prior to joining Stevens & Lee, Linda served as longtime in-house counsel for FirstEnergy Service Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., one of the largest investor-owned utility companies in the nation. In addition to her significant experience in energy, public utility, and regulatory matters, Linda is also a frequent blogger on energy issues and is editor of the Stevens & Lee Smart Grid Legal News Blog.
    Instructional Methods

    A Web-based PowerPoint presentation and online interactive question/answer session will be used in this webinar.

    Continuing Education Credits

    EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.1 CEUs for this program.”
    ____________________________

    Smart meters are a menace to our health – all of us, collectively, and individually. This is the worst case I have ever heard of, in modern times, of forcing people to have a new technology on their property that has zero benefits to the individuals and ignores the health effects warnings of scientists and research for the past four decades. I recommend everyone opt-out, as the mesh grid that is being set up is harmful, whether on your home or across the street. Further, even if you can’t feel the harmful effects you are risking horrific health problems. I think that Californians should insist on NOT paying for the privilege of remaining healthy and for NOT being assaulted by this dangerous device on our homes. . Read more at http://www.smartmeterdangers.org . Demand immediate removal and Ban of smart meters Now!!

  6. Redi Kw from Marin says:

    I have some legal questions regarding PG&E’s franchise agreements.
    Every city, town and unincorporated area of Marin County has a franchise agreement with PG&E to allow them to set up shop and sell power to anyone who wants it and agrees to pay the going rate for, and those rates are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. It does not make any difference if electricity customers chose the Marin Energy Authority to be a middle broker for some of the electricity sold in Marin, PG&E still calls all the shots.
    I have never seen the franchise agreements, but no doubt they were drawn up decades ago.
    I would assume that there were clauses built in as to reasons that PG&E has the right to cut power to customers. Those reasons would be to protect PG&E and the customers. When awarded the franchise PG&E has an obligation to do their best to keep the power on, and to fix any storm related emergencies and power condition problems (sags and surges) as soon as possible. Voltage sags (brownouts) are the biggest cause of customers equipment failure, even more than surges.
    Having not seen the franchise agreements, andI really don’t know, but I assume that the main reason for PG&E to be allowed to cut power to a customer would be for non payment of the monthly bill.
    There are many customers who have meters installed in buildings that are not normally accessible to meter readers for many reasons. So in the franchise agreement there has to be a requirement that the customer must read their own meter and either set the reading on a card for the meter reader once a month, or to phone in the reading to the billing department. There are thousands of customers who have been reporting their use to PG&E like that for decades. Especially in rural areas where people sometimes live.
    I have heard rumors that people have been threatened with having their power disconnected if they don’t allow PG&E to change out their old analog meter. But I have never heard of that actually happening so I think it’s a bluff.
    Could any lawyers please look into these details ?
    Thank you.
    R Kw

    • Here in Texas, I dealt with the threat of power disconnection because I wouldn’t let anyone in to change the meter. But the PUC rules very clearly state the circumstances where it’s permissible to shut off power, and this circumstance wasn’t even remotely in there. But they kept threatening me anyway.

      Then on a Friday afternoon they called and said they would shut off power on Monday if I didn’t allow the meter to be changed. Because the utility offices were all closed on the weekends, I started looking up home phone numbers or other personal contact info of CEO, members of the board of directors, executives, etc. It only took leaving a message at the CEO’s home number detailing the situation that stopped the disconnection threats. They are eventually going to pay for it, though–in Texas it’s called “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress”.

      So I would look up the CPUC rules, probably on their website. Searching for the word “disconnection” or “disconnect” should get you to the appropriate section of the rules.

      FYI–I live in a rural area, not a city. I have not had a chance to research this franchise agreement idea, but I didn’t have to. The PUC rules are the same as laws when it comes to regulating the behavior of utilities. Keep in mind, neither franchise agreements nor PUC rules can regulate the citizen’s behavior. For example, neither of those things can say that you are required to do anything. Those can’t regulate the individual’s behavior. An easement maybe can. A contract might be able to.

      Here is a link to lawsuit documents filed here in Texas to stop a smart meter installation because the law simply doesn’t force anyone to allow it (if you have the means to physically block it). There might be some legal ideas or concepts that could work for others, even in other states.

      Note: I am not a lawyer, but have done extensive research into the law.

  7. Redi Kw from Marin says:

    Thank you for those documents, very interesting.
    Has the case been completed and a determination been made yet ? The last words AFFIANT SAYETH NOT, make me wonder.
    For people that live in single family houses, they have a better chance of battling the “deployment”. But for people that live in condominiums and town homes, they really don’t have a say because even after they pay off the 30 mortgage and rent to the building owners to maintain the buildings and grounds, they will never own the buildings and grounds, only the inside 4 walls.
    People who live in condos, apartments and town homes don’t have building ownership or the same rights as people who live in single family houses, and if they want to fight the installation of smart meters and /or install solar panels, they need to work on the property managers and owners.

  8. Redi Kw from Marin says:

    I am in the electrical industry and I have to keep current on changes and new technology being dreamed , planned and built for all things electric.
    I am not a spammer, but I would like to share a website that has a wealth of information about what is happening all across the country.
    Keep in mind that this a commercially sponsored publication by corporations involved in the electrical industry, and some of things are just pipe dreams, but there are many informative articles relating to recent trends and the financials behind them.
    http://www.ecmag.com

  9. Redi Kw from Marin says:

    I forgot to mention that one will not find much information at all in the above site about the new SmartMeters being deployed by the government. Except for the completely separate E9(b) meters that are strictly for charging electric vehicles.
    The SmartMeters are not the power grid, not installed by electricians and not important to the updating of the power grid.
    In California and other states, the new meters are being installed by Wellington Energy of Pittsburg, PA.. Their is only one license holder in that corporation, the president, and all their installers are not even first stage electrical apprentices, they are what we call, non-electricians.
    I don’t know how they got around this in California, because here anyone installing electrical devices (UL approved or not) must be a certified electrician.
    It is my belief that Wellington Energy is a government start up corporation funded by federal taxpayer dollars. They are a temporary corporation that will be dissolved as soon as the deployment is complete.
    Wellington Energy installers are temporary, hourly, at will employees who earn $25 per hour plus incentives of $25 for each meter over 35 meters installed in a day.
    In southern and west Marin, the topography is steep and density is low, and with all these gated residences , long driveways and refusals, there is no way that any Wellington employee could install more than 35 meters in a day.
    They like central and north Marin where there are many large condo/apartment buildings tightly packed in the high density urban corridor. There they can slap in meters at a dizzying rate, and make decent money too, BEFORE TAXES.
    So that explains why some of these Wellington people act so hastily, try and cut corners, disregard residents concerns and rights. They are just trying to chase the almighty dollar, and they know that their job is only temporary. Plus they are under a lot of stress from their managers to hustle. Wellington installers are told very little about how the new meters work, probably because their managers don’t know much themselves. It’s called, being “dumbed down”. Keep um stoopid !
    Wellington was supposed to be done with their deployment in Marin County in February of this year. So far they have managed to slap in 68 percent of the electric and gas meters here.
    So now PG&E has dispatched 5 of their own technicians to try and complete the deployment .
    Bueno Suarte (Good Luck) PG&E, it’s going to be “El Battle Royale” here in southern and west Marin. PG&E had better stock up on Automatique Kalishnikovs (AK-47′s), because the police and sheriffs departments have already told you that they will not back you up on this corporate issue.

  10. kitty says:

    PLEASE HELP with SMART METER issue with SDGE/Escondido, CA
    My name is Kitty and I have accidentally fallen into an bucket piled with a lot of manure and need help regarding a smart meter issue with SDGE at my home in Escondido, CA. Below is a brief history of the issue.

    I have a meeting scheduled at the house on August 2nd at 12:30 where I have been told, via email, that 2 reps are coming out in response to my CPUC complaint. I have been told the smart meter which SDGE removed last week will be replaced and we are scheduled to meet with “Mr. Smith”.

    I have asked SDGE, who scheduled this meeting, who is Mr. Smith, what are his credentials and what is it they think he is going to do for us. I would like to talk with an attorney prior to that meeting where SDGE thinks they are going to replace the smart meter they removed and have us meet with Mr. Smith. I am already certain I will not allow them to remove the analog meter yet, if ever. I need to know how to handle that without breaking any laws.

    The smart meter was removed by a SDGE technician from our home July 16 and the garage doors have not opened or closed since the swap, and I am spending a lot of time (until midnight most nights) in the garage to try to see if there is an issue. Also, the doors work with the remotes and the key pad instead of hit and miss now. Also, coincidentally, my sister, who is disabled and lives with us has not had a headache since the swap, which completely disappeared about 2 1/2 hours after the smart meter was removed. She has had on going extreme headaches which we had attributed to a side affect of her meds which we now suspect was actually the smart meter.

    I was informed Friday via email that an appointment in regards to my CPUC complaint was scheduled for this am at 10 to have a technician replace the smart meter and “Mr. Smith” would assist with the garage rf interference. (not how the message was worded but the essence.) I replied late Friday night via email that both my husband and I were not available until Aug 2 to meet with “Mr. Smith” I was answered Saturday early afternoon via email that Aug 2 was fine and all would be rescheduled. I was outside in our front yard this morning July 25 at 10:05 when a vehicle I believe may have been the smart meter tech drove by then sat in front of another home for about 5 minutes then left. I was too slow to connect the dots with the vehicle marking and his DOT security vest to take a picture with my cell… duh Kitty!

    Here is my report about the day of the incident with SDGE:
    This morning July 16 at about 11 am my husband and I went into the garage to leave for the Elks Club luncheon. Once again, the double garage door was open. We had not been outside or to the garage yet on Saturday. We knew we did not leave the door open as we had checked everything Friday night when Steve & Linda left for Spring Valley.

    I looked at Larry and said see, it’s open AGAIN and after all the other times where we have tried to determine what might be causing this problem, I know it’s not us. As we were getting into the car, before I could start the engine, the garage door began closing; on it’s own. Larry was startled and shouted at me to not pull out. I used the car remote to reopen the door, we left and closed the door.

    Of course we talked about all the other times that we have come out of the house to find our garage door open in the past year. In addition to the issue of having our dogs come with us into the garage, not knowing the garage door is open, and having them run out into the street, we are extremely concerned with our inability to secure our home, our garage from theft, violence, or whatever, because the house is left open to passing intruders. We are angry that we can no longer secure personal belongings,in either the house or the garage, or insure the privacy or safety of our family and our pets.

    When we got home around 2:30 PM I called SDGE. The Cust Service rep was a snotty witch. I got pissy. She informed me she had a smart meter and it did not open her garage door. And I let her know her response was inappropriate and inconsequential. Bottom line from the ugly call was that SDGE would send out a technician who would show up sometime before the end of the evening.

    Around 3:30 we saw the SDGE truck with the basket on the back driving up the driveway for Georgia & Brian. Then it went west on our street. Both of us went out and I stood at the driveway and flagged the truck down as it came back east on our street. SDGE rep parked in front of the telephone pole. Got out of the truck and introduced himself. Dale. Appears to have worked for SDGE a long time – maybe 20 or 25 years, from my experience with other SDGE employees. Very nice, but quietly telling me I can’t be sure it’s the smart meter that is opening & closing the garage doors.

    We told him of the security/pet safety/personal safety issue of having the doors go up and now we know down, all the time. He nicely poopooed that it was the smart meter. A little verbal tussle. He suggested maybe I should change the frequency of my garage door opener. He suggested maybe I should unplug the opener to secure my home. Hello – people have equipment to make their lives easier not harder. Why should I change out my equipment to coincide with SDGE – they put that meter on my house AFTER I made my purchases… I now know that there is a violation of the FCC part 15 section which specifies the protocol of devices interfering with each other. He asked what we wanted him to do. So first he put on another smart meter. Said he would look at the garage door openers and perhaps we could change the frequency of the wireless on the openers. I said I did not see why I should have to pay to have my equipment modified because of their equipment. The other meter worked fine and so did our garage door system. He said he would document the call and put an analog meter back on the wall. We are to monitor the problem while we are waiting for SMART METER rep to call us and determine how to fix the problem. There is an complaint CPUC 173711 field with SDGE.

    After the SDGE rep left, I went out and my husband and I read the analog meter and documented the reading. I will start taking photos. I am currently building a section of our fence to enclose the meter so that access is through a gate and onto our side yard. The meter has been chained to the panelfor the last 6 days.

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