The Real Story: Millions of Analogs Still Out There–and People Refusing to Pay Extortionate Fees

Lately there have been a series of newspaper articles–from Marin, Bakersfield, San Francisco, and elsewhere–covering breathless press releases from PG&E claiming that hardly anyone is signing up for their “opt-out” program.  Of course, PG&E is delighted with these articles, as it makes those opposed to smart meters seem like a tiny minority, a depiction that PG&E and the CPUC have repeatedly sought to promote- despite tens of thousands of complaints pouring in to the Utilities Commission, and more than fifty cities and counties in CA (representing millions of people) on record as opposed.  If you’ll notice, there is very rarely any room in the corporate media for positive coverage of ordinary people–particularly in large numbers–rebelling against authority.

The assumption is that if very few people are signing up for PG&E’s opt-out scheme, then most are happy with their smart meters.  No matter how outrageous the policy is, that’s our government, and most of the media assumes that people will just go along with it.

That storyline could not be farther from the truth.  Instead of asking how many people are signed up to pay hundreds of dollars to keep their analogs, what the media should be asking instead is, “How many analogs remain out in the field?”

The answer–at least as far as PG&E territory in Northern California goes–is more than a million (out of roughly ten million customers).  Millions more analogs remain in perfect working order in areas of Southern California and beyond.

According to PG&E’s own report to the CPUC in January:

“[I]ncreasing number of installations affected by access refusals.  Increased costs, increase in unable to complete (UTC) back-log, customer change management.”

In other words, there are likely more than a million households holding out against the evil smart meter throughout Northern California, and most of these people are not signing up for PG&E’s extortionate opt out program.  They’re also not going to allow a smart meter on their home or business anytime soon.

The media coverage would seem to suggest that the furor over smart meters has subsided and that the CPUC approved a “compromise” opt-out program that only a few Californians seem to be taking advantage of.  But the reality is that there is a conflict simmering, ready to explode into full boil, if PG&E tries to start disconnecting people’s power again, or sending fully paid bills to collection agencies.

Whatever PG&E’s intended rationale for the smart meter “opt out” program, the real result is that a whole lot of people who had been ignoring the issue–somehow thinking that good sense would prevail eventually–are now engaging in it, reading the health reports, and connecting the dots.  And these mainstream, ordinary people are mad as hell, and joining the fight, which has now gone international.

In response to the increase in “access refusals,” PG&E is cranking up the propaganda machine into overtime, or as they say in PG&Ese, “engaging with the customer.”

“Pursuing operational improvements to increase efficiency of (Unable to Complete) resolution. Ongoing engagement with customers across multiple communication channels to enhance customer understanding of SmartMeterTM program and benefits.”

But as we know, there is very little that PG&E or anyone else can do to make people “understand the benefits” of a device that is causing headaches and nausea, that emits radiation that the WHO and NIH have found to have serious biological impacts, that invades your privacy and ignites your home on fire.  It’s sort of like a rapist trying to get his victim to “understand the benefits” of having sex with him (and then charging a fee to avoid it!)

From the same report we also learn that removal of smart meters from one’s home has become common enough throughout PG&E’s service territory to warrant a whole section in their smart meter report:

“January 2012. Customer removal of SmartMeters. Negative impact to public safety, increased costs and delays in benefits.

“Resolved – following established policy whereby PG&E attempts to contact such customers to address the risk their actions pose to public safety and ensure continued service while awaiting the Commission’s opt-out decision.”

Another nugget of information confirms that the wireless mesh network is rife with basic operational problems. Despite widespread installation of smart meters, many meter readers are being retained to read wireless meters where the signal isn’t being received, in areas that are remote or hilly–just as we’ve heard about in Marin and elsewhere.

“Pursuing resolution of network coverage in ‘hard-to-reach’ areas with technology supplier, including potential alternate network solutions.”

Translation: the choice of a wireless mesh network has been a huge debacle, not only inflicting health harm and raising security issues, but also failing fundamental operational tests.

The real story here–if the mainstream media would take the time to report the story accurately–is that charging such a hefty fee in economically challenged times, to get more expensive, less reliable, and more dangerous service, is getting a lot of people (justifiably) very angry.

Most people we speak with are angry about the fee, and are refusing to pay it.  Their analog meters are locked up or inside, and the guard dog growls behind the locked fence at anyone resembling a PG&E or Wellington employee.

Sadly, the corporate media machine is unable to wrap its head around the idea that there could be such widespread–albeit quiet–rebellion. People are simply refusing to go along with a corrupt program. Policies to charge people to keep dangerous devices off their homes are out of touch with reality. Truly, this qualifies as extortion–yet mainstream media is missing the corruption and injustice at the core of the story.

And–as if anyone could forget–after you pay your hundreds of dollars for the right to keep the safe meter on your home, you are still being assaulted from thousands of other dangerous wireless meters–on your way to work, at work, at play, and at home. You can pay the extortionate price they ask to get it off your home, but you still can’t opt out of being irradiated everywhere else.

Moral of the story: If you still have your analog meters, secure them from utility company tampering, and refuse to pay illegitimate fees cooked up by devious executives in a desperate attempt to salvage their DumbMeter program.

You’d be in good company.

Hear people’s smart meter stories:

Sign the Petition against smart meter fees (there is noting legally binding about signing this petition).

Submit your smart meter complaint here:

This entry was posted in California, Changing a Meter, Citizen rebellion, Class Issues and Social Equality, CPUC, Health studies, PG&E, radio-frequency radiation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Real Story: Millions of Analogs Still Out There–and People Refusing to Pay Extortionate Fees

  1. Shane Gregory says:

    This just in… The City Council of Burbank just tonight voted 4 to 1 to support the opt-out program proposed by Burbank Water and Power. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Only 90 households out of the entire city are entitled to opt out. Yes, you read that right. Also, these select few can only opt out if they start the process within 60 days. These 90 households were the last to hold out and they are the only ones who will be allowed to opt out. But even they will NOT be permitted to keep their analogs, they will be forced to have the radio-off RF meters (thus exposing them to the possibility of switching mode power supply dirty electricity), they will be required to pay an up-front fee and a monthly maintenance fee. And, perish the thought, if they decide to move they will never have the opportunity to opt out in their new residence.

    Think about this. This means that even if a Burbank resident develops health issues or becomes aware that there is a connection between health issues and smart meters, or for any other reason decides they don’t want a smart meter on their house, they will not be given the same opportunity as these 90 households. New arrivals to the city will never be able to opt out. ONLY 90 residences will EVER have this privilege again. And if you are among the select few who have been granted this option, if you move you lose it. In perpetuity. And don’t even think about it if you happen to be a renter!!

    Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy, Dave Golonski, Gary Bric, and Mayor Jess Talamantes voted in favor of this shameful plan. The only dissenting vote came from Dr. David Gordon. Despite the fact that Council had been provided the BioInitiative Report, the ICEMS monograph, all the expert opinions on the CCST study, the position statement of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the definition of the Precautionary Principle, and a host of other medical opinions, Gabel-Luddy said that there is no “conclusive” evidence proves that RF is harmful. Golonski suggested that people who had a problem with smart meters were allowing their perceptions to be their reality. Gary Bric was worried about his 3 dogs but said that after reading the material provided to him he was sure that his dogs would be safe. And, in the most shameful display of all, the mayor read from a list of questions and answers, concluding that the meters are safe and pose no health risks, all the while saying that he was concerned for the well-being of the citizens of Burbank.

    A small but dedicated group of Burbank residents have gone to council meetings week after week, month after month, since the meters were put on our homes. Sometimes we sat through meetings that lasted well into the wee hours of the morning for our 5 minutes of public comment. We spent our own money on reams of reports (10 copies minimum must be presented) and earnestly and in good faith presented the Council with data, told them of our experiences (including, in some cases, testimonials about having to move from the city). We found babysitters to care for our children while we waited for out turn to speak. Some of our neighbors from Glendale and other parts of Los Angeles came and spoke to our elected officials. All of this was for naught.

    General Manager of BWP, Ron Davis, gloated when the vote was cast. Of course he did. After all, he stated in a public meeting that “electricity is a privilege, not a right.” It was a win-win for BWP and a terrible and tragic loss for the people of Burbank.

    BWP representative Joanne Fletcher called Burbank Water and Power “the best of the best” among utility companies. With tonight’s vote, we think BWP now qualifies the worst of the worst — thanks to the help of its four friends on the Council.

    Exclusionary and discriminatory…can this decision even be legal????

    • Electra says:

      NONE of it is legal! You used words like “permitted,” “entitled,” and “forced.” What’s incredible is that NONE of what Burbank Water and Power is doing is “permitted.” They are not “entitled” to come onto your property and put a dangerous device on the side of it, without your permission. They are going to be “forced” to back down when people start taking the matter into their own hands, and hiring certified electricians to put analog meters back on their houses! That is the only thing that will work with this bunch, in my opinion.

      There are different flavors of electric companies across the country and around the world. In the UK, they had at least enough sense to stop the involuntary installation of “smart” meters. In some places, the electric companies allow an opt out, with a small (not o. k., but better than having a “smart” meter) fee. Burbank is going to have to be shown who is boss on your property – YOU!!

      Don’t endanger yourself, but don’t be overly impressed, as the article said, with the power the electric company pretends they have. Now the tide is turning, and the numbers are on our side. Your efforts are not in vain. You’ve laid the groundwork for what’s to come in the near future – a recognition by the power companies that they will have to say “UNCLE,” and admit that the people have won.

      They will not do that easily or without a huge fight. And that’s what this is, as I told my friend, Marie, today. It feels like a fight because it is. It’s exhausting, we’re getting a little beat up, but we’re giving as good as we’re getting, and better. And we will win, because we are right and we have millions and millions more on our side than they do. Dollar bills will only get them so far – but people power will take us all the way to the end, and victory.

    • Redi Kilowatt says:

      I just got a robo-call from PG&E stating that their records indicate that I have chosen to opt out of their SmartMeter program (which is not true, because I never opted in in the first place), and that I agreed to the CPUC approved rate increase and will see that increase on my “energy statement” in the next few months.
      I did not know that this additional rate increase has been finalized yet, so does anybody know what is going on ?

      • Ron says:

        I think your robo call may have had a lot to do with what you reported happened on Feb. 7:
        “I called the number and went through the automated process to not opt into the SmartMeter program (because I never ordered or received a SmartMeter).
        After completing the automated part of the process, I wanted to make sure that I did everything correctly so I pushed 0 to speak to a representative. The rep told me that my application was not complete, and that I had to either send in the form, or she could do it on the phone for me right now. So I let her do it, and then she explained about the fees involved and asked me if I understood them, I said yes I completely understand.”
        For their purposes, the last statement translates to consent and enrollment in their Opt-Out Program.

        As for the finalization of their original rate increase, here was the unambiguous news back on Feb. 2:

        Here’s an astoundingly nauseating video from the PG$E woman who sent the certified letter titled, “PG$E Welcomes CPUC SchmartMeter Opt-Out Decision”. Warning: heavy doses of mindwarp doublespeak, shades of the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors exchange with their representative.

  2. Redi Kilowatt says:

    According to PG&E, there are about 6 million electric meters and 4 million gas meters.
    All the electric analog meters will never be replaced with simple AMR SmartMeters because those AMR meters are not advanced bi-directional meters.
    What PG&E did was to charge the ratepayers $2.2 billion for a meter upgrade program that promised energy savings, outage detection and remote disconnect features.
    That $2.2 billion would have covered the cost to install advanced AMI meters that are bi-directional and can use either mobile broadband, cable broadband or an analog telephone modem.
    Instead they tricked everybody and sold us AMR SmartMeters and the Silver Springs radio smart grid to automate meter reading. The cost was much less to the utility and that enabled the utility, government officials, manufacturers and installers of the flawed products to reap a huge profit and markup, and with the help of the CPUC to boot.
    Now, there is no possible way that PG&E will ever eliminate the meter reading department. PG&E in their haste and greed, shot themselves in the foot by selling us a useless AMR system that can’t even do what it was supposed to, automate meter reading. By far, the biggest business blunder and consumer fraud case in history.
    So, what’s next ?, high speed rail ?.

    • Electra says:

      It is information like this that will help sink this “smart” meter program straight into the ground. I hope you’re publicizing these facts far and wide, Redi!

  3. Electra says:

    GEORGIA POWER THREATENS TO SHUT OFF POWER TO AN ENTIRE HOA! Here’s my email to Georgia state senators, who today vote on an opt out bill (Senate Bill 459) from this morning:

    More alleged evil doing by Georgia Power! They have now reportedly threatened an entire homeowners’ association near Savannah with having their power shut off if they don’t accept the extremely dangerous “smart” meters. Here is the email, with private info redacted:

    This is from HOA board memeber

    —–Original Message—–
    From: L
    To: Marie
    Sent: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 9:32 am
    Subject: Re: Crucial To Call Senators Today: It’s Easy, It’s Free, and It Could Save Georgians – Including You and Your Family – from Unsafe “Smart” Meters!

    I talked to electric company yesterday, did not get mine replaced either. I was told just leave a note on it and I did. GA power said we have NO CHOICE and they will charge to come back out and install it and will also cut our power off if not allowed to put box on. Well??????? [snip]

    Honorable senators and friends around Georgia, this must NOT STAND. As you know, federal law states only that a power customer can have a “smart” meter if one is requested (Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005). Georgia Power DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY to threaten to cut people’s power off, or to cut if off unless there is lack of payment.

    Here’s the problem: Georgia Power knows that these electric meters are horrendous, with all the ways they malfunction, including the fires, explosions, melting, causing cancer chances to rise dramatically, blowing out appliances, not being UL tested – they are a complete NO GO. And after spending millions of our tax dollars on this boondoggle, they’re perhaps trying to salvage the project by resorting to threats.

    Your job as senators is to keep Georgians safe. Do we have to ask you now to protect us from the power company? What is this great state coming to? Georgia Power’s representative said on TV the other night that they would not threaten to cut off anyone’s power. This was in response to a firsthand story that they’d done just that:

    Please do something to stop this out-of-control company. They serve us, the people of Georgia. We are not here so they can make money through threats and installing dangerous products on the sides of our homes. Stop this now, before it goes any further. This must convince you that there is something very, very wrong with these horribly misnamed “smart” meters. After voting “Yes” today on Senate Bill 459 to allow Georgians to opt out – for free – from “smart” meters, I hope you will do all you can to assure us that we will not be threatened with harm by Georgia Power again.

  4. Susan B says:

    Great article! Q: What is recommended if people DO already have a smart meter and want to get rid of it? In that case, they must either go without electricity or opt-out…? I really agree with the rapist comparison. We are being raped daily by the utilities … punched and slapped, beaten, sadistically physically harmed – it is about power and money, not sex, either. The power of crushing us under their boots. Well, guess what? The people aren’t going to stand for it. A (virtual) sucker punch to the virtual gonads and down this smart meter and smart grid program will go. Flood the utilities with calls, flood the CPUC with calls, same with all elected officials. Obama needs to hear it. Jerry Brown, too. They are part of the problem, they are encouraging this power play.

    • Electra says:

      Is hiring a certified electrician to replace the “smart” meter an option for you? I’m not sure what the ramifications of that action are, but it’s being suggested in various corners.

  5. Nicki J. says:

    Hey, Florida: How long are you going to let your legislators do nothing?
    Contact Energy Chairman, Rep. Scott Plakon ( of Longwood ): Do you think he deserves re-election?

    “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there
    must never be a time when we fail to protest”. – ELIE WIESEL

  6. Electra says:

    I’d like to share some good news:

    First, I’d like to thank Senators David Shafer, Buddy Carter, and Greg Goggans, for sponsoring Georgia State Senate Bill 459, for an opt out for “smart” meters. Due to their efforts, and the efforts of many, many Georgians, SB 459 passed, 36 to 13, in the Senate, and we are one step closer to having a totally free opt out. Thanks, also, to the senatorial hero – I’ll find out his name tomorrow – who introduced the amendment for the opt out to be free. You rock!!

    More news tomorrow, friends. You have done well, and I am beyond words. Have a great night, and enjoy this victory! Next stop – the House. (-:

  7. marie says:

    is there a way we can add you to our facebook page? We are trying to link up with all the stop smart meters pages all over the country. We thought it would help us reach more people.


  8. letta mego says:

    US President Barack Obama gave 3.4 billion and more in “stimulus” money pushing unwanted cell phone technology meters on the population ..President Obama has spent our own tax dollars against us… to force the US population to have smart meters. Yes, the government can say President Obama did not mandate smart meters. But he used our money to bribe the commissioners and the utility companies to mandate smart meters and to blanket the USA in smart meters. It looks like the workings of a clever lawyer with smart meters as his client..…not someone with the best interest of the people in mind.

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