FAQ: Organizing and Community issues

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Q: How can I connect with other people in my area who are fighting “smart” meters?

We have a growing list of people in several states around the US. Please write info@stopsmartmeters.org. Internet searches can help locate others. Put “smart meter” in quotes, plus your city or state or utility.There is also a list here.

Q: How can I organize in my neighborhood?

Nothing beats going door-to-door. Print up some flyers (see this page for flyer resources including images to use). Meet neighbors you don’t yet know, reconnect with ones you haven’t spoken to in a while. Be open to others’ concerns about “smart” meters—they may not have the same perspective as you do, but with “smart” meters there is something for almost everyone hate. Collect phone numbers or emails, and create a list for future contacts. Pass along news or links, but be wary of overwhelming those who are new to the issue. Take inspiration from this woman’s story.

This is what the utilities count on: keeping control of you as their customer, disconnected from anyone else. “Individual choice” as PG&E says. But that keeps neighborhood and communities from acting together to protect themselves.Remember, We are the 99% and your utility is the 1%.   Acting together, we are stronger.

Q: How can I publicize the issue in my community?

Organize a protest!!  Even if it’s a couple people holding signs, it will grow.  Hook up with the Occupy movement all over the country.   Use local media outlets such as neighborhood newspapers, indymedia, internet radio, neighborhood internet bulletin boards or discussion lists, CraigsList—even the notice board at the supermarket! Get create, and talk to people. This Orange County group got organized quickly.

Q: What about local government?

Utilities have repeatedly asserted their right to overrule local governments—but some towns, cities and counties have fought back. Most city charters have a clause which requires local officials to protect the health and safety of their constituents. Call, write or email your local officials and remind them of this vital function. They may not yet understand what “smart” meters are, so offer some information that can help counter what the utilities will push on them.

Q: I have heard that in California the governments of many cities, towns, and even counties have rejected the use of smart meters due to concerns about health and safety issues. Is this true?

As of this writing (Sept 2011) 47 municipal bodies in California (towns, cities, counties, even a reservation) have rejected “smart” meters, by issuing moratoriums, bans, and other direct expressions of their unwillingness to have this technology imposed upon them by utilities. Nonetheless, those utilities have continued to install, install, install- except where they have encountered the most resistance.

That is why we emphasize that to begin with, any individual ratepayer not wanting a “smart” meter must act to protect their analog meter, before going on to organize the community or talk to local government officials.

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