Aug. 2nd, 2011: ‘Independent’ Smart Meter Advocate on PG&E Payroll; Company Failed to Disclose Financial Ties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     Contact:  Joshua Hart, Director, Stop Smart Meters!

August 2nd, 2011


Anger at Santa Cruz Environmental Group as Town Hall Forum Set to Reveal True Health Damage

Santa Cruz, Calif.- On a recent glossy pro-smart meter flyer sent to everyone in Santa Cruz County by PG&E, “County resident” Mahlon Aldridge says cheerily, “Smart Meters are essential for achieving a sustainable energy future.”  Turns out he works for Ecology Action, an environmental organization in Santa Cruz, and makes an annual six digit salary from a lucrative PG&E contract with the organization.  Critics of “Smart” Meters are pointing the finger at PG&E, accusing the company of omitting key disclosures about financial ties between the energy company and Mr. Aldridge.

Joshua Hart of the Scotts Valley based Stop Smart Meters! expressed dismay that a community environmental leader would be promoting a device that is essentially microwaving bees, bats, plants, and people.  “We didn’t believe that PG&E actually had found real Santa Cruz residents to promote the “smart” meter.  Nearly everyone we’ve spoken with says things like, ‘I’ve had a headache since they installed that thing’ or ‘I’m really worried about my 2 year old- her bed’s on the other side of the wall from the meter.’ or ‘I’m angry about my loss of civil liberties.”

Stop Smart Meters! showed up at Ecology Action’s office during a recent “Energy Upgrade” marketing event with PG&E to ask Mr. Aldridge some questions about why an environmental organization was promoting an ecological toxin- he agreed to a video interview and the entirety of that interview can be viewed here:

As new information comes to light about PG&E’s deceptive tactics and illegal, threatening installation tactics, a buzz is building in Santa Cruz around Wednesday’s “Wise Up to ‘Smart’ Meters” Emergency Townhall Forum.  The forum will feature a panel of national experts including Joshua Hart of StopSmartMeters.Org and Dr. Karl Maret of the Aptos Dove Health Alliance.  The panel will be moderated by Michael Zwerling (MZ), owner of KSCO radio in Santa Cruz.  The landmark event will take place this Wednesday, August 3rd, 7-9pm, at the Louden Nelson Center, 301 Center St. (at Laurel) in Santa Cruz and has been organized by a coalition of community advocates led by Stop Smart Meters! As of this announcement PG&E has not responded to an invitation to participate and defend their ‘smart’ meter program that has become a debacle of epic proportions.

Wireless “smart” meters have been widely reported to cause headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears- even memory loss and heart palpitations among susceptible individuals due to the constant bursts of microwave radiation- estimated at more than 22,000 per day.  The movement against “smart” meters is the sharp end of a growing movement demanding health-based standards for wireless technology.

Wellington Energy- a Pennsylvania based contractor for PG&E- has resumed installation of wireless “smart” meters throughout Santa Cruz county as of late June, violating local laws[1] that prohibit installations due to urgent concerns about health impacts from the meters’ wireless pulses, which have been measured at 100-150 times the cumulative radiation exposure of a cell phone[2], as well as privacy violations, ongoing accuracy issues and a series of fires and explosions caused by the new meters.  The company is operating out of a yard at 38th and Portola in Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz County.

Thousands of people have submitted written health complaints to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and on May 31st the World Health Organization made an earth shattering declaration- that non-ionizing radiation- from cell phones, cell towers, wifi, and “smart” meters- is now a class 2b carcinogen in the same category as lead, DDT, and engine exhaust.[3]  Nevertheless, PG&E continues to maintain that their meters are safe.  The utility had been citing the World Health Organization’s reassurances in past public statements.  Now, they are no longer referring to the health issue at all, as no independent health organizations will back up their claims of safety.  Instead, they recently mailed a 4 page glossy brochure to every household in Santa Cruz County, stating that “smart” meters will “cool the planet.”   This is despite PG&E’s own admission that the program has not reduced a single kwh of energy demand despite more than 80% of the meters already being installed throughout California.[4]

Despite decisive action taken by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in passing ordinance 5084 on January 11 2011 prohibiting “smart” meter installation, and a letter from County Counsel Dana McRae indicating that county law enforcement would enforce the law, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak has been arresting peaceful protesters, enabling PG&E’s forced, illegal smart meter installations onto people’s homes.  A number of reports have come in of installations on homes that were on the delay list, or had “no smart meter” signs posted.  PG&E has refused to remove these unwanted meters.

Three arrests of “smart” meter protesters have been made over the last month in Santa Cruz County, and numerous conflicts between residents and “smart” meter installers have been reported since installations resumed in the County in June.

Details of the Wednesday Townhall Forum can be found at:






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