I’ve been in San Antonio, TX for several days now, meeting with members of San Antonio Smart Meter Awareness and Coalition for Safe Meters, screening the film Take Back Your Power, interviewing San Antonians about this issue, and supporting those who are resisting a forced and unwanted smart grid.
San Antonio is one of the last places in Texas to be threatened with the smart grid scourge. As a result, they have the advantage of being informed about all the negative experiences that the rest of the state and country are dealing with. Silver Spring Networks, a tech firm who makes components and software for the smart grid, recently opened an office here in San Antonio, and they are preparing to make San Antonio a “smart city.” Not terribly wise, in our book.
CPS Energy (City Public Services) is a municipal utility that provides both gas and electricity to the people of San Antonio. In fact, the City of San Antonio gets 40% of their income from the utility. CPS’ current policy is that everyone must get a new smart meter. They must think San Antonians aren’t very smart. Their scam of an “opt out” program requires residents to pay $175 initially and $20/ month for an “OMR” meter — another type of smart meter that still invades your privacy, radiates your family, and poses fire risks. “OMR” stands for “off-site meter read” and refers to a type of AMR meter that requires a utility drive by or walk by. These meters can provide details of your electric use, just not on a real time basis.
For people like Oliver Holden, who has a pacemaker and whose bedroom wall is lined with a bank of meters, CPS’ arrogant threat to install smart meters-which can interfere with electronic devices such as pacemakers- is a life and death issue.
San Antonio news station KENS5 interviewed Oliver and me as part of an investigative report on the meters that aired yesterday. The utility- as usual- presents inaccurate information, such as “the devices emit that signal every four hours” when utilities like PG&E who are using the same type of equipment admit that the meters emit up to 190,000 times per day.
Down the road, we spoke with residents of Les Chateaux, a 105 unit condo complex. They have spent a significant amount of money to install locked steel cages around every analog meter in the complex. These residents are informed, organized, and united in their resolve to prevent CPS from installing “smart” meters anywhere on the property.
Yesterday we interviewed some of these residents and we will be posting the video shortly. Stay tuned. Next week we will be in St. Louis, MO and will be reporting on the situation there. Thanks to all the committed people in San Antonio who are standing up for their rights, and who have been so kind and welcoming.