Family with Young Children Forced to Live in the Cold and Dark for Refusing a LADWP Smart Meter

LOS ANGELES- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has terminated electricity to the family of a middle school teacher, her husband, and their six children for refusing to have a smart meter on their home, which they say caused their family serious health problems.  The family has been living without power for six weeks now, in the heart of LA.

In July 2012, LADWP installed a smart meter on Derek and Anura Lawson’s home without notice or consent, part of a smart meter pilot program. Other houses in the neighborhood still have their analog meters.

That same month their four youngest children started to have serious health problems. The mother, Anura Lawson writes they had fevers “out of nowhere”, “as high as 105”, and they “began to have problems controlling their bodily fluids, our five year old began peeing and pooping herself, our four year began to display the same problems…” Anura also struggled with migraines, insomnia, concentration problems and other health symptoms.

The family requested LADWP restore the analog meter. LADWP then gave them what they said was an analog meter, but the health symptoms persisted. The family objected. According to Anura, LADWP ridiculed them. She says, “When I called customer service, “Jennifer” laughed at me, telling me they would not remove the meter.”

When an agent of LADWP met with the family he said, “This isn’t one of those ‘SmartMeters’ that have been making all those people sick. These are RF meters. Totally different.” He talked about how safe radio was and that it had been used for years. Meanwhile the children’s health problems persisted.

Clearly something had to be done.

In January 2013, after repeated, unfulfilled requests to LADWP for help, the family restored a true analog meter obtained from Jerry Day. The mother wrote that after the analog meter was restored the children’s symptoms “diminished greatly, they no longer get high fevers, or suffer from loss of their bodily function.”

Two weeks later, LADWP disconnected their electricity. Anura saw the workers scale a neighbor’s wall, climb the power pole in their backyard and literally cut the wire to their home. Since February 11th the Lawsons have been living without electricity, without heat, without use of their appliances and without lights.

Joshua Hart, director of Stop Smart Meters! says, “Pilot programs are supposed to be a test to see how a new system operates. When problems crop up, you don’t punish customers for reporting them- you fix the problem.”

The family has been using candles and battery powered lanterns to see at night. They are cooking on a camping stove outdoors, and keeping their food cold in ice chests. The family says the incident has been extremely stressful.

This incident echoes other bullying incidents around the country, where people have been cut off after having had their smart meters removed due to health issues.

Sandi Maurer, director of the EMF Safety Network states, “Federal law states customers should be offered smart meters, not be forced to have them on their homes. LADWP is exceeding its authority by mandating these devices.”

Jerry Day, a video producer on the forefront of empowering customers to stand up for their constitutional rights states, “This is inexcusable. This is not responsible power company management. This is senseless abuse of utility customers.”

We agree. The Lawsons need their power switched on and an analog utility meter restored on their home. NOW.

In contrast to this situation, Liz Barris of the People’s Initiative Foundation today reports LADWP has removed a smart meter from a property in Hollywood Hills. She says it took two weeks of wrangling with them until a senior manager Vincent Zabukovec agreed to the switch (who can by the way be reached at 213-367-2725 if you are a LADWP customer who wants to “opt out” as well) . Here’s Liz’s video of the meter swap:

Write to the LA City Council about the Lawsons case:  mayor@lacity.org, councilmember.reyes@lacity.org, councilmember.Krekorian@lacity.org, councilmember.zine@lacity.org, councilmember.Labonge@lacity.org, paul.koretz@lacity.org, councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org, councilmember.cardenas@lacity.org, councilmember.parks@lacity.org, Jan.Perry@lacity.org, councilmember.wesson@lacity.org, councilman.rosendahl@lacity.org, councilmember.englander@lacity.org, councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org, councilmember.huizar@lacity.org, councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org

Council meets Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in the John Ferraro Council Chamber, Room 340, City Hall at 10:00am. But check their schedule, because it seems to change.

Article written by Sandi Maurer, EMF Safety Network and Joshua Hart, Stop Smart Meters!

This entry was posted in California, Changing a Meter, Citizen rebellion, Los Angeles, radio-frequency radiation, Smart Grid. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Family with Young Children Forced to Live in the Cold and Dark for Refusing a LADWP Smart Meter

  1. Pingback: Family with Young Children Forced to Live in the Cold and Dark for Refusing a LADWP Smart Meter |

  2. Pingback: LA City Council Directs LADWP to Give the Lawsons an Analog | Stop Smart Meters!

  3. Selisha says:

    Hi, my name is Selisha. (My mother suffers from EHS & has been homeless due to smart meters now for nearly 5 months.)

    We wanted to ask if you could please add your voice & encourage others to add their voices to a potentially precedent-setting case developing against smart meters. This case is being fought on the basis of federal & disability discrimination–the horrendous violation of ADA that goes on every time a smart meter goes up.

    An attorney is seriously interested in stopping all this ridiculous violation of EHS–an ADA-recognized disability. This attorney to my knowledge has never lost a trial & has a strong disgust for injustice, so if he takes the case, this is a good chance with far-reaching implications. He’s a personal injury trial attorney who is very happy that EHS is accepted as an illness by the ADA, & he wants to help ordinary people harmed by others carelessness or intentional wrongdoing.

    But the office needs as much information as possible (and they are happily delving into it all), particularly from experts, in their own words.

    To go forward with a proceeding, Jayme (the daughter of the attorney, who is evaluating all the EHS evidence before it goes before her father) needs 3 things:

    1. She needs to speak to EHS sufferers, & particularly hear about how smart meters have driven you or someone you know from a home or in some other way impeded the right to socialize or be at home. (Public settings included as well–stores, offices, transit–however smart meters & wireless has held you or someone you know captive.)

    2. At least 1 medical expert in the who can unequivocally testify that smart meters themselves are dangerous and causing the damage claimed. (to corroborate EHS victims’ claims) This is important to stem the almost certain tide of power company denial!)

    3. And another expert who can verify fair damage amounts (settlement amounts, etc).

    The attorneys are trying to do this right, and the more people they have to help with these 3 things, the better & the quicker the process.

    Please call her (the attorney’s daughter)
    Her name is Jayme (619) 236-9696 Her Father’s name is Sean Simpson
    Jayme@simpson-moore.com
    (Let her know Selisha told you about them)
    http://www.simpson-moore.com/seansimpson

    Thanks, potentially this can help get a survey together & help more than just one state, but set precedents to stop this ridiculous violation of a valid ADA-recognized disability.

    Thanks, please let me know you received this, & please send to ANYONE else who could be of help Selisha (858) 571-7181

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