Alameda’s so-called “smart meter opt out” leaves those in multi-unit housing exposed
Alameda, CA—Christopher Rabe, a 39-year resident of Alameda and father of two was arrested on Thursday, March 29th at 10:30am after peacefully standing in the way of Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) meter installers outside his apartment complex on Pacific St.
Rabe was held in Oakland Jail for 10 hours, and released after posting bail. He is being charged with 498(B)(2) (theft by meter tampering) despite the fact that clearly his intent was to prevent the smart meter installation, and represent the other apartment complex residents in refusing the meters, not steal power from the utility.
Mr Rabe is well-known to AMP—not only has he written the utility, attended meetings and even spoke in front of City Council, he has blocked access to meter installation on the property before. Previously when the police were called, the meter installers were told (correctly) that Mr Rabe was within his right to block their access on this private property. Specifically, a previous incident report from September 13th, 2017 stated:
“(AMP) reported on blocking him from working on meters at the listed address. (Rabe) was uncooperative and would not move. (AMP) was advised (Rabe) was on private property and no crime had been committed and this issue was a civil matter…”
This time, Chris was arrested under what many are calling false pretenses of stealing electricity. His neighbors and supporters are asking why.
Seven of the 12 other residents had authorized Chris in writing to refuse the installation of radiation meters on their behalf, as they were at work. While Chris was being detained, 5 radiating meters were installed.
The entire bank of 13 meters is situated on the wall of his children’s bedroom and he is concerned that the radiation pulsing from the new meters will make them sick. He has taken readings before and after the meter installation and now records radiation levels well above those that cause health damage, in peer-reviewed studies.
Chris and fellow members of Alamedans for Safe Energy attended the City Council meeting on April 3rd to insist on an investigation into what they deem an illegal arrest. Contrary to what Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) claims, regardless of any “opt out” program, residents have the fundamental legal right to decide what technology they allow on their homes, and to live free of coercion and opt out fee extortion. Utility easements—which allow for reading and maintenance of a utility meter—do not permit the installation of electronic “smart meters,” deemed by many experts to be a serious threat to health, safety and privacy.
The March 29th arrest of Rabe follows the disconnection of electricity at the home of Tony Brasunas, an Alameda resident refusing to pay what he considers an unjust opt out fee to keep the safer analog on his home. Brasunas’ wife and 1 year old were startled when the power suddenly turned off last Tuesday in the midst of a cold day. A call to the utility led to the power being switched back on.
Josh Hart, Director of Northern California based Stop Smart Meters! spoke at an event at the Home of Truth in Alameda on March 19th, invited by Alameda Safe Energy, a group founded in October 2017 to organize and oppose deployment of a network of radiation-pulsing meters on the island. In response to the subsequent arrest, Hart stated:
“Individuals and communities have a right to say no to a technology that has been linked to cancer, surveillance, overcharging and fires. Our families have a right to be safe in our homes and in our communities. PG&E is not out on the streets disconnecting people who justifiably refuse to pay their opt out fees, but the City of Alameda is not only disconnecting its own residents, but apparently now arresting them – simply for making a choice.”
Local analog advocates point out that if residents of apartment buildings, who typically have a bank of meters on one wall, do not have a real “opt out” option, then no one in Alameda does.
Those opposed to smart meter technology insist that no energy provider has the right to force a device onto people’s homes, and into their communities against their will. So-called “smart” meters are devices that emit high levels of radiation that the World Health Organization (and most recently the National Toxicology Program) has linked to cancer. They also are used by police departments to surveil residents, and are linked to a series of home fires and have been subject to a series of major safety recalls.
More information can be found at www.alamedasafeenergy.org
To donate funds to offset Chris’ bail costs can be sent directly to him by paypal with this address: firstname.lastname@example.org Or check out his gofundme page.
Also, read the local paper’s slanted and one-sided coverage of Chris’ arrest and add your comment!