Electrosensitive Rights Groups Call Meter Opt Out Fees Extortionate, Illegal, and Immoral
San Francisco- An alliance of environmental health groups, disability rights organizations, and elected officials from throughout California will rally on the front steps of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) from 12:30 to 1:15pm on Wednesday to call for a halt to ‘smart’ meter deployment, a free and fair “opt out” plan that is not discriminatory against people suffering from electrosensitivity, and respects legal rights of local jurisdictions that have passed legislative moratoriums banning further wireless smart meter radiation. Inside the CPUC, an all day workshop will be held from 9:30am to 5pm- with Administrative Law Judge Yip-Kikugawa presiding- to discuss options for allowing CA residents to “opt out” of the wireless “smart” meter program. The workshop is the closest thing yet to a statewide public hearing on the ‘smart’ meter program, which was approved without an environmental impact report. There are concerns that the workshop does not provide an opportunity for public comment, or a chance for medical experts (many of whom have written to the CPUC warning of potentially serious health damage from ‘smart’ meters) to speak on the record.
The new meters have been a public relations nightmare for utilities around the country as well as the state commissions that regulate them. The public rebellion has been especially heated in California as residents flood utility call centers with demands to remove the broadcasting meters from their property. Some who have been sickened by the pulses of radiation are increasingly turning to private electricians to remove the wireless meters and replace them with analog meters commonly available from electrical supply shops.
According to CPUC documents obtained through FOIA requests, wireless meters are cited in thousands of reports of adverse health effects. The SmartMeter program has also raised concerns of privacy advocates who believe that the devices’ data collection capabilities violate constitutional privacy protections. There have been a growing number of reports linking the meters to instances of fires, explosions, and surges. On August 25th a power surge hit East Palo Alto and disabled hundreds of new smart meters leading to questions by major utility watchdogs about the safety of the ‘smart’ grid being rushed into place without adequate safety precautions or testing. Utilities have rushed to dispose of solid state analog meters that often lasted eighty years or more without incident.
CA Utilities Code 328.2(b) states: “No customer should have to pay separate fees for utilizing services that protect public or customer safety.”
Speakers will be calling for an immediate halt to further deployment, and free, retroactive, individual and community wide analog meter opt outs. Forty-six local governments representing more than 2.5 million people throughout the state have gone on record demanding a halt to ‘smart’ meter deployment. Because the powerful signals from the meters travel up to a mile or more, an individual opt out plan has been ridiculed, as neighbors’ meters expose residents to radiation from all sides anyway.
UC nuclear policy lecturer Dan Hirsch has determined that the wireless meters emit 100-150 times the radiation of a cell phone, invalidating utility claims that the radiation is insignificant.
On May 31st, the World Health Organization declared non-ionizing radiation of the kind emitted by smart meters as a class 2B carcinogen – the same category as DDT, based on cell phone brain tumor studies. Last week, an article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neuroscience concluded that “EMF hypersensitivity can occur as a bona fide environmentally-inducible neurological syndrome.”
CA Utilities Code 453. (b) states that: No public utility shall prejudice, disadvantage, or require different rates or deposit amounts from a person because of medical condition”
Many of the growing number of Californians who are suffering from electrosensitivity strongly object to any plan that does not include community wide opt outs and affirm the right to retain or have analog meters replaced at no charge. “Charging people with a known disability an extra fee to simply be safe in their homes is equivalent to charging those in wheelchairs to access a ramp. It’s immoral – even illegal under state utilities code. What we need to do is pull the plug on the whole wireless “smart” meter network” and stop hurting people.” said Joshua Hart, director of StopSmartMeters.Org.
PG&E and other utilities have been violating local laws, coming into communities that have refused permission and installing wireless “mesh” networks in their jurisdictions. As a result, there have been skirmishes between installers and residents in areas of Santa Cruz, Marin, Mendocino, San Francisco Counties, and elsewhere around the state. In Santa Cruz, PG&E has had to rely on local police to assist in forcing ‘smart’ meters into declared smart meter free zones, while elsewhere there have been reports of threats, intimidation- even assaults on residents as installers scale 8 foot high walls and fences, trespassing on private property to install the meters.
If a judge ultimately rules in favor of community wide opt out, PG&E will potentially be forced to remove millions of “smart” meters and associated infrastructure it has installed in areas that have objected to their installation or made them illegal, a huge financial blow to the firm’s shareholders as well as a national embarrassment for the utility and telecommunications industries.
A press conference and rally will be held on the steps of the CA Public Utilities Commission- 505 Van Ness Ave, in San Francisco this Wednesday Sept. 14th at 12:30pm Visuals include protesters holding signs and representatives from local governments joining to demand a halt to “smart” meter installations.
The following individuals will be available to speak to the media between 12:30pm and 1:15pm:
Joshua Hart is the Director of StopSmartMeters.Org, an organization working to halt the forced deployment of wireless utility meters. StopSmartMeters.Org has been a grassroots leader in the increasingly contentious fight with the utilities over their health damaging and privacy violating “smart” meter project.
Sandi Maurer is the founder of the EMF Safety Network, which filed an application for modification against PG&E Smart Meters in April of 2010 and formally appealed the dismissal of that application in January of 2011. The EMF Safety Network is calling for dismantling of the wireless grid and a return to the analog meters based on numerous reported health and safety problems.
Larry Bragman is currently the Mayor of Fairfax, CA. An attorney, he helped craft the first of more than a dozen anti-smart meter ordinances throughout CA. He will discuss violation of local jurisdictional ordinances, equal protection of utilities and customers, and rights of way issues.
Michael Boyd President of Californians for Renewable Energy, Inc. (CARE) will discuss possible legal action in reference to violations of federal civil rights under color of state law in violation of County Ordinances.
Jim Tobin is an attorney working for a coalition of individuals, organizations, and local governments seeking a free, retroactive, individual and community analog opt out solution as part of the CPUC proceedings as well as compliance by the CPUC with CEQA requirements and utility compliance with applicable local government ordinances. He will be available for questions about the proceeding and what his clients are seeking.
Mary Beth Brangan, James Heddle Co-Direct EON – the Ecological Options Network. EON is an intervenor in the CPUC’s ‘opt-out’ proceeding. EON’s protest filing emphasizes that other components in the ‘smart meter’ for instance, the switching mode power supply (SMPS), in addition to the 2 RF (radio frequency antennas,) may also be causing adverse health effects. Therefore, the radio-off or radio-out opt out options are inadequate and irrelevant.
David Wilner of Wilner & Associates filed a protest on April 25, 2011 to PG&E’s SmartMeter opt-out proposal because the “radio off” alternative offered by the utility may not solve health problems reported by their clients. They recommend a conventional analog meter option for people that suffer from electrical sensitivity because based on experience, this will address their problems. Our question to the CPUC is: Why can’t people in California have an analog meter just like utility customers in Maine?
Steve Martinot lives in Berkeley, He has worked as a machinist and truck driver. He has taught literature and cultural studies at the Univ. of Colorado and San Francisco State Univ. He has published poetry, short stories, and several books of philosophy and political analysis. Steve will talk about the extortionary character of the PG&E proposal, and the fact that it is the people who have been adversely affected by these Smartmeters who are due costs and compensations.
Documents that are part of this proceeding can be viewed at: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/published/proceedings/A1106006.htm
Guess what people ?, we all have been duped. We will not get a new upgraded power grid (so called “smart grid”) anytime soon, probably not in our lifetimes.
With all the other problems that PG&E is having with their gas distribution network and the meter project, that is going to suck up all the money that was hoped to go to modernizing the power grid.
And all across the country, the infrastructures are in dire need of modernizing and replacement.
The roads and bridges, the water systems, gas distribution systems and power grids are very old and have fallen into a bad state of disrepair.
There are priorities, probably the roads and bridges are on the top of the list.
So far, PG&E has spent 10’s of millions of their ratepayers dollars on a propaganda campaign to convince the public that by replacing the analog meters will upgrade the power grid. They have fooled many people, but not all of us.
Why do you think that PG&E and the government went to all this effort to convince people that replacing the meters are the power grid upgrading project ? I’ll tell you why, it’s because that is all that we are going to get !, new meters and that’s it.
The sole purposes of the meter project are to eliminate union jobs (meter readers) and replace them with automated revenue meters made in foreign countries, and also in some meters the remote disconnect switch. I guess they figure that with the great depression going full bore, and probably will never end, there are going to be thousands of foreclosures and the need to disconnect power to those vacant houses. If the power companies can eliminate even more jobs to disconnect electric service, they will.
So far, PG&E has produced a 300 page report about how they intend to modernize the power grid in the future. The cost to upgrade the power grid in PG&E territory will be $500 million to $1.2 billion and be done over a 10 year period. They did not give a start date, and since then they have huge problems with the gas department costing them money that was supposed to go to profits to the investors. I wonder how much that 300 page report cost us ratepayers to produce ?. It looks like there will be no improvements to the power grid now at all.
A California smart meter industry employee left an “anonymous” comment on our Texas website saying, “Just checking that you guys don’t have cellphones, microwave ovens, wi-fi routers…”
We traced that comment to an employee named Steve Jillings at Semtech Company in Caramillo, California. Semtech makes parts for smart meters.
Read the details here:
That is typical, actually I think a lot of posts are written by people who pretend to be against the meters, and go off on some tangent about how the new meters can somehow determine what devices one is using, spying in peoples bedrooms about sexual practices and preferences, medical problems, pharmaceutical drug addictions, what kind of plants that they grow indoors, how much money that they have, whether they have a plasma, LCD or cathode ray tube TV and on and on. I think some of them are just trying to make the sincere ones against the new meters look like we are all a bunch of kooks !
Some of these people I believe are sincere in these false notions about the meters, but the ones who rant about privacy are the silliest of all.
The new meters only transmit electrical usage, and don’t transmit or know what one is using it for.
The funny thing is, all the posts on internet sites are done on a computer, and some of these people are members of Facebook !
It is these federally/corporately monitored social network sites like Facebook that are the biggest breach of privacy.
If one joins Facebook, they want your full real name (no anonymous screen names allowed), age, sex, occupation, a photo, your mobile phone number, where you went to school, what level of education one has, hobbies and interests, a list of references (friends) and political views. In other words, a tracking program.
Facebook and the FBI are in bed together, they are really into the facial recognition thing. I’m sure that they would love an iris scan for your file too. You might as well call up the FBI and ask to be given an FBI number, just in case you might be thinking about being a criminal or radical speaking out against the corporately controlled government.
I think that the wall street junkies are so desperate to get their hands on the $2.2 trillion in treasury bills that is the Social Security fund, that they will eventually loot it and try and do away with the Social Security system, you know, “privatize” it. Once they pull that off, there will be no more Social Security numbers, but all citizens will be given a Facebook account at birth, and will be closely monitored until death !
And if one posts radical statements, even if one is not on Facebook, all posts are recorded and stay on the internet forever, if one posts under their real name, it’s there forever and could come back and haunt you someday.
Any good hacker kiddie can get into any site and find out your computer address, it’s not just site administrators that can do this.
The bottom line is, if you are paranoid about your privacy, don’t worry about the smart meters, but worry about joining Facebook, posting on the internet, buying things on credit cards or your “smart phone”, and even just using a mobile phone.
There are many ways to ensure privacy and anonymity, the list is long .
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SCE. Is a class action suit necessary, advisable and most effective?