PG&E: Let Us Cut Down Your Trees- or We’ll Cut You Off

Just in time for Earth Day comes a story to warm your heart.  According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, PG&E has been demanding that property owners allow the utility to hack away at, and cut down trees- ostensibly to protect power lines.  If you don’t want PG&E coming in and cutting your Grandfather Oak tree, you are threatened with disconnection.  This is of course not the first time that the rogue utility has threatened people for defending their health and the environment.  However, the suddenly ramped up campaign by PG&E to decimate the forest raises some question as to the utility’s true motivations.   Turns out more than one third of PG&E’s wireless meters in CA (more than 3.5 million) aren’t sending the signal properly (especially in hilly and forested areas) and still have to be read by a meter reader, according to PG&E’s own report.  Trees and plants are very effective absorbers of microwave radiation, as anyone with either a basic or advanced EMF meter can tell you.  As a result, vegetation often pays the price.  Apparently when they tested the smart meter mesh network, they did so in a prefabricated street with no vegetation.  The real world of course has trees and plants that may be preventing the data signal from coming through.  It’s possible that the utility response to their own failure of foresight- rather than re-design the system to be safe and secure using phone line or fibre optic communication- is to attempt to hack away at the forest so their wireless signals can get through. If you stand in their way, you better stock up on candles and propane.

Oh my.  The “smart grid” is just looking greener and greener every day.  This all sort of makes industry’s “environmental” initiatives like the “Green Button” sound like just as much Green Wash.

Had enough?  This Saturday is “Earth Day.” It is also EMR Action Day. Many individuals and groups around the world will be protesting and educating the public about the health and environmental harm from wireless technologies.  Many people are apparently still ignorant of the growing evidence of harm, putting themselves and others at risk.  If you’re in Santa Cruz, join us at Ecology Action’s Earth Day celebration in Santa Cruz from 11am-5pm.  Come to the “Green Evolution” table to find out more.  While you’re enjoying a recycled milkshake, you can ask Ecology Action why their staff are behaving like corporate shills for PG&E, allowing an environmentally destructive project to overcome legitimate public resistance.

This entry was posted in California, Citizen rebellion, Environmental Concerns, PG&E, Plant damage, radio-frequency radiation, Santa Cruz County. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to PG&E: Let Us Cut Down Your Trees- or We’ll Cut You Off

  1. Redi Kilowatt says:

    That is very bad news about PG&E cutting trees in the Santa Cruz area.
    There are many heritage trees like Redwoods in the Santa Cruz area.
    In Marin , there are also Redwood Trees, I have over 50 of them in my yard, some 200 feet tall. Here in Marin, NOBODY can cut a Redwood tree on their own property, and not even create “windows” on their own property for a view of Mt. Tam.
    First off, PG&E is only allowed to run their power lines along the roads or on utility easements, and they have a contractor maintain their lines fairly well. The only power lines that are run on private property are service lines to the buildings on the private property. I have never heard of one instance in Marin where PG&E demanded permission to trim or cut trees on private property, and I have lived here for decades.
    If there was a problem with one of their service drops on private property spotted and reported by someone, then they would have to contact the owner for permission first, and if it is a heritage Oak or Redwood, probably would have to go down to city hall and beg permission and pay for a special permit.
    I suppose that there would be other options, like PG&E rerouting their service line, rather than simply cutting down a tree on private property.
    That might be a little paranoid to say that PG&E is cutting trees on private property just so their UHF signals can get through some trees. It is the hills and mountains that really block UHF signals, not so much trees.
    I think that PG&E in their haste, didn’t plan their radio network (aka smart grid) very well.
    Originally, the SmartMeters that were ordered used a power line carrier (PLC). This system sends the billing data on the actual power grid . The way it works is that alternating current cycles at 60 times per second (60 hertz). The sinusoidal wave zeros out 60 times per second, and the PLC transmits a radio frequency on the power line in bursts every time the wave zeros out. It has worked well for building automation systems since it was invented in Scotland in 1973, there are problems, and sometimes coupler/repeaters are needed, but they worked it out.
    PG&E in their haste, ordered I don’t know how many millions of PLC SmartMeters and installed around 800,000 of such meters in the first wave. They call these meters first generation SmartMeters.
    What they found out, is that our 40 year old ferrite core transformers did not pass the signals very well, and hence had to recall all the first generation SmartMeters out of service. PG&E went about it backwards. In order to use PLC, the electrical power grid needed to be upgraded first, to be what they call a smart electrical power grid. The transformers need to be changed out to electronic ones.
    So then, one of the brainchildren came up with using a 900MHz UHF (UHF is not microwave) radio network that they brilliantly called a “smart grid”.
    Then they started the propaganda campaign that claims that upgrading the meters and the revenue collection radio “smart grid” is somehow miraculously upgrading the electrical power grid. We know that this is just baloney, but they sure fooled a lot of people. It is a careful play on words, I have never in history have heard of radio network referred to as a “grid”, let alone a “smart grid”.
    So their propaganda campaign worked on millions of people, the good people were duped into thinking that the $2.2 billion SmartMeter project and the radio smart grid are upgrading the electrical power grid. There are many people that actually believe this, and make all kinds of science fiction videos about it. We have been duped.
    The upgrade of the electric power grid is a completely separate project that has not yet begun, and the cost in PG&E territory alone is $300 million, set to start in one to two years and take 10 years to complete. They should of upgraded the power grid first, that is actually more important to the people than paying for an automated revenue collection system, but PG&E wanted to make some quick money post haste. They wasted millions of dollars on the PLC meters, but it was the ratepayers dollars, not the share holders or the utility’s dollars

    • Redi says:

      I did check out the green button link that was posted in this article, it was a very poor choice of the many on the internet and it did not explain at all what the green button initiative is.
      This link was a marketing brochure, focusing on all the different manufacturers of meters, radio networks and software programs used by the utilities.
      What the green button initiative is, is a program funded by the ratepayers of the utilities, the United States taxpayers, the software developers, the manufacturers of smart phones and the telecommunications corporations of the world.
      Supposedly, (I don’t have a SmartMeter so I don’t really know), the utilities have set up an internet based program where a customer can go online and view their previous total electrical usage starting back 30 hours ago and go all the way back to the previous 14 months. This information is in the revenue collection department central servers of the utility, and some of it may have come from some of the listed vendors meters and radio gear. But not all the electric meters have been exchanged with these new vendors meters, and not all the new SmartMeters are working. That doesn’t matter at all, because this billing information and consumption history has been recorded for decades by the utility. If Silver Springs sold PG&E a program for their central servers, good for them, but it doesn’t matter who wrote the software to handle the data centers.
      What the green button initiative is all about, is expanding the cable internet feature of viewing previous electrical consumption history extending it to mobile broadband applications.
      This means that now, people who already have a smart phone and a data package, can link up with the utility to view the previous electrical consumption history from a smart phone. WOW, so that’s what this expensive program is all about ? What a waste of money and time. But this is just another good way to use taxpayers money to subsidize the starving telecom and utility corporations with green dollars. “Hey, let’s call it green button, that sounds mucho muy bueno”. SOLD !

  2. Richard says:

    I know–I said I was done posting here, but does anyone else see the following statement as a bit of a stretch?

    “The utility response to their own failure of foresight … is to attempt to hack away at the forest so their wireless signals can get through.”

    >>Please read the article in the Sentinel and decide for yourself if it has anything to with SmartMeter communication/infrastructure.

    • Richard says:

      The story line has since been edited to read: “It’s possible that…”

      Well, yes, I suppose it is possible. Nice save 🙂

  3. Redi Kilowatt says:

    I did read the article like you suggested, and their was no mention of cutting trees for wireless signals. It was more about neighbors complaining about what they consider “buzzard tree work” being done on public property for line clearing.
    I did read a report a few months ago about how PG&E has been approved by the CPUC a $300 million charge to the ratepayers to start upgrading our electrical power grid. This project has nothing at all to do with the SmartMeter/radio smart grid project that started 6 years ago and is near completion.
    There are many facets to the power grid upgrades, and one of them is to build new transmission lines to increase capacity and handle more renewable energy projects in the works.
    I did read that in Santa Cruz county, they are proposing a new transmission line project, exactly where I don’t remember. This project will entail massive clearing of forested land to make room for the new transmission line. There will be public hearings and environmental reports to be done before the project is approved.
    A spokesperson from PG&E said that the initial design is to do this project at the least possible cost, but if people protest too much and changes are required, it will cost the PG&E ratepayer a whole lot more.
    I do question the need for this new line, are the planners envisioning a huge spike in development and subsequent population increase in Santa Cruz county ?, or are they anticipating that the sales of electric vehicles will start to take off and need more power for them ?
    Perhaps the Sentinal could look into this project, and help inform the residents of the upcoming plans sooner rather than later, to give the people enough time to evaluate the project instead of being blindsided by it like PG&E did with their SmartMeter/radio grid project.

  4. LeAnn says:

    Come our place. 150 year old oak hacked by PG&E contractor. PG&E says not our fault. Contractor says, not our fault we just work for PG&E. HACKS that’s what they are.

    • Redi Kilowatt says:

      That is terrible, cutting down a 150 oak tree just to make way for new transmission lines is a crime. Oak trees are heritage trees, and the energy saving value and the oxygen produced by them is almost not cost quantifiable. If I were you, and this was indeed done on your property, I would consider filing a lawsuit !
      Where did this happen ? Could you please let us know ?

  5. drew fenton says:

    Allan’s assembly bill “died” that standardized pge’s trimming practices. I thought the practices ALREADY were standardized for everything within 10 feet. No laws can protect us anyway, our county refuses to enforce, even if there WAS protection. We are sitting ducks for Davey’s tree – and they are back in full commercial mode every March. They climb up to 125 feet in all coast redwoods they can get to whether or not near a transmission line. They chainsaw off every branch for 100 feet up to the crown, some they do 360 degrees. Since they are not required to LEAVE the coast redwood branches (extending to 25 feet long (some longer) they take them (I assume to make commercial mulch). in the morning they come with a full load of diseased dead oak shreddings and spit them out when they arrive. (one time right off Kings creek road.. most landed in the creek, i complained and a ‘representative’ when to the site – nothing happened, the coast regional water district didnt care (with only one person for enforcement ) Our once beautiful shaded redwood canopies over our private owned roads and the state highways are GONE FOR THE next 80 years. Different sway pattern now that the trees are limbless or 180 degrees limbless. This is a HARVEST right in front of you and it cant be stopped by one person, ive complained for 3 years now since it started. I realize industry OWNS our government. We need to engage in civil disobedience to save our homes and community. its too late for ours.. from the gateway town to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, boulder creek, ca

  6. WendyElla says:

    I was wondering if it is legal for PGE to cut down a Palm Tree in the middle of a front yard? Can they turn off the power if they refuse to let them?

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