More Orwellian Twists: Not Being Home Means “Opting Out,” and How Your Home is Now a Wireless Facility…

Earlier this month author, blogger, and San Francisco citizen-activist Edward Hasbrouck filed a protest with the CPUC regarding the so-called smart-meter “opt-out” program they recently approved for PG&E customers. Read his blog post here.  In his protest he argues that PG&E far oversteps the mandate given to it by the CPUC opt-out ruling. In addition he raises concerns so many people have also expressed about the legitimacy of PG&E installing what amounts to telecommunications facilities on each and every home in its service area:

A “SmartMeter” is actually a general-purpose digital radio transceiver including an unknown array of sensors, which would form a node in a PG&E wireless mesh data network. In other words, a “bug” that I would allow the utility to install inside my house, for its profit. […]

In effect, PG&E is seeking […] to use its “foothold” on customer premises at the gas and electric meters to effect an uncompensated taking of valuable radio transceiver and antenna siting rights, which property owners would otherwise be entitled to reserve, to exercise for themselves, or to sell or rent to parties and on terms of their choosing.

In addition, the way in which PG&E is going about the opt-out means that even if you don’t agree to it, they will take your non-response as legal consent:

Unfortunately, PG&E […] has proposed to create a legal presumption that if no one is home when PG&E makes a field visit to install a SmartMeter […] the PG&E customer will be “deemed to have elected” to pay additional one-time and monthly fees for gas and electric service. [Read more.]

More support for what we have been saying all along: the opt-out fees are extortion–illegal and unethical. The customer base never agreed to have these harmful, illegal, snooping devices installed on their homes–they shouldn’t pay to have them taken off.

The smart meter program, even in this opt-out portion, is riddled with gaping procedural and legal holes–where PG&E has consistently taken liberties way beyond their mandate as allowed by the CPUC. The ruling procedure has lacked any explanation for why those refusing to opt in wouldn’t be rebated the cost of the smart meter ($300) never installed on their home. Nor why the cost of retaining an analog  by some customers shouldn’t be borne by the shareholders.

Safety and fairness to the consumer, which are core to the CPUC’s stated goals, have been missing from the beginning, replaced instead by pandering to the profits of the investor-owned utilities in CA, resulting in flagrant  disregard for consumer health, safety, and privacy–and private property rights.

UPDATE: Down in southern California, the utilities SDGE and SCE are trying to set up outrageous restrictions on how and when customers can opt out–even setting a date by which you must opt out–or you are stuck with a smart meter forever.

Post from Stop Smart Meters Irvine:

SCE has said they don’t want to re-install any analogs, only digital, if that’s what the customer had before the smart meter was installed. Read more in their CPUC filing.

“Smart Meter Opt-Out Ordered for SDG&E Customers”


This entry was posted in California, Citizen rebellion, CPUC, Democracy, PG&E, Privacy, radio-frequency radiation, Safety, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to More Orwellian Twists: Not Being Home Means “Opting Out,” and How Your Home is Now a Wireless Facility…

  1. Burbank Water and Power has also instituted, with the blessings of the City Council, an opt out program that is equally heinous. The utility will allow a “universal” opt out — meaning anyone can opt out, but they must opt out within 60 days of March 6, 2011. Only 90 customers will be contacted to let them know about this “option” (the ones already on the delay list). It’s a one time only opt out, meaning that if those who do opt out ever move, they will NEVER be able to opt out again in their new residence. And, most perverse of all, the utility and the City Council will not let the citizens of Burbank know how much it will cost to opt out until March 20 — although the clock started on March 6.

    Oh, and no analog meters of any kind will be permitted.

    And they have the nerve to call themselves “the best of the best” utility company in the country.

    • Redi Kilowatt says:

      That is disgusting what Burbank Water and Power did, making the choice a one time deal only.
      So far, up here in PG&E territory, I have not seen one word about the people who never opted in (like myself) to the radio meter program, if they can take their choice with them if they ever move in the future.
      I am not planning on moving, but changes happen, and who knows what tomorrow may bring ? Does anyone out there know any details about retaining an analog meter in the future for PG&E customers ?
      If I do decide to move in the future, I will make sure that there is no SmartMeter installed on my new place to live. If PG&E won’t remove the SmartMeters in the future, I WILL !
      I know those SimpleSmartMeters only can report total electrical usage of the meter to the utility once every four hours, and that the utility can only tell how much electricity my house uses in one hour blocks, not minutes or seconds. And I know for a fact that no electric utility meter, either AMR or advanced will ever be able to discern what I am using the electricity for. And I also know that nobody can use a radio scanner or computer to intercept the billing data to the utility to see if I am home or not and burglarize my house, but I have a strong objection to time differential pricing schemes set to be tried out in 2014.
      That is the main reason that I will never have a SimpleSmartMeter.
      All this mandatory horsepucky about electric meters and medical insurance is a drag.
      The medical insurance corporations think that they can mandate that everyone donate to their corporate welfare fund, but it is not a done deal yet.
      I read an article that explained for the first time to me what the penalty will be for me, who refuses to pay for medical insurance.
      The fines will start in 2016, and will be $695 per year. The IRS is in charge of the penalties but can’t prosecute “refusenicks” or place liens against them. It’s only enforcement option may be witholding any refunds due from the IRS.
      This leaves medical insurance corporations who stand to make huge profits off of this “mandate” very worried that people (like myself) will instead shrug off the weak mandate.
      You can rest assured that I will not give the IRS any extra money that needs to be refunded, and like I said, the Supreme Court has not yet made a decision if the insurance mandate is legal or not.

  2. Trapped by SCE says:

    Has anyone thought of asking what happens if you want to move to a new home in the future, and if that home has a smart meter on it, that you will be stuck having to accept the smart meter or not move (staying in your old “analog” equipped home, on the opt out list?) Also, if you’ve paid the opt out fee once and the monthly fee religiously but then decide to move, do you have to pay another “opt out fee” again for the new home?

    I think this is how eventually the utilities will have all smart meters on homes because once you move they will switch them all out. The homes with a analog meter might be worth more to the new buyer and the realtors can add it as a “feature” of the new home. But will the utility leave the analog in place for the new owner or switch it out when you call for “turn on service” at the new home?

    Right now I have a “delay list” analog and want to opt out when SCE allows but am I trapped forever to live in this house, neighborhood, city with my old analog? Will I only have the choice of moving to those cities that ban them (possibly too far from my job to be reasonable?) Also, has anyone asked what happens if you have the smart meter and get ill and have to be on some kind of machine to continue to live, will they come out and take the smart meter off your house because it interferes with your machine? Or, if you have your elderly parent move in so you can caretake them through their end of life and the smart meter is affecting their health?

    Does the CPUC have any answers for any of these concerns?

  3. Redi Kilowatt says:

    I had to go to Orchard Supply today (owned by Sears) to buy a Federal Pacific 20 amp double pole circuit breaker. It cost me $75 for a breaker that if was still made would cost about $4.
    But now, Orchard sells appliances. Anytime I go to anywhere where they sell large appliances, I always look for advertising of the HAN monitoring chips allegedly being installed, with our federal stimulus money to promote the HAN marketing program.
    Guess what, I have never seen even one major (and of course not any minor) appliances that feature the HAN monitoring chips.
    The Home Area Network project was a complete failure. Google and Microsoft have bailed on the HAN development projects. The people are not interested in spending thousands of dollars on a monitoring system that transmits high frequency microwave at 2415 Mhz just to show the exact information that is on ALL appliance rating plates required to be installed by the manufacturers.
    It was a big marketing scam that went clunk in a very big way.
    It just goes to show that the government and corporations are super stupid, and most people are smart. It’s all about perception when it comes to marketing, and the marketeers botched this HAN project big time.
    What pisses me off the most is all the ratepayers money wasted on PG&E advertising about the HAN’s, and all of our tax money thrown down a rat hole to install monitoring chips in major appliances that nobody wants to buy, and will never be on the market anyway. It’s disgusting, wasting money in times that so many people are having a hard time making ends meet.

  4. Dorothy Compton says:

    I am a Cancer patient alone with other health issues.
    The smartmeter is not at my best interest and I do
    not want it installed.

  5. Pingback: April is Fight-the-Fees Month | Stop Smart Meters!

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