July 21st, 2010: City of Scotts Valley to Vote on Smart Meter Moratorium Tonight

MEDIA ADVISORY                                 Contact: Joshua Hart

July 21st, 2010                                                                         joshuanoahhart[at]gmail[dot]com


Concerns about health impacts of new meters growing rapidly in California

The Scotts Valley City Council will tonight decide whether to join a growing list of California Cities and Counties asking the Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to put a hold on PG&E’s installation of the notoriously inaccurate and possibly health damaging ‘smart’ meters.  Yesterday, Marin County became the latest local government to ask that the CPUC put a hold on any further installations pending accuracy tests and hearings on health issues.  Marin County Supervisor Charles McGlashan admitted he has stopped using his cell phone because of health impacts he had been suffering.  The supervisors stated that it was entirely reasonable for the public to have questions about health impacts answered before the meters are rolled out any further.

At a Scotts Valley hearing on July 7th, it became clear that several council members are not happy with PG&E, especially with the fact that residents cannot opt out of the new meter program.   Scotts Valley City Councilmember Stephany Aguilar told the hearing that she herself also suffers health impacts from electromagnetic radiation: “Whenever I walk into Best Buy, I get a headache,” she said.

As Scotts Valley residents have learned more about PG&E’s plans, there has been growing outrage against the utility for forcing these meters onto California homes and businesses.   PG&E claims this is “one of the largest technology rollouts in history” yet there has been virtually no public consultation, and barely even notification to residents.

Questions continue to be raised about billing accuracy, fire safety, and exposure to electromagnetic radiation.  “Just as worrying scientific evidence is beginning to emerge about the health impacts of cell phones and wifi, do we really want to install millions of new sources of this radiation throughout our communities, with very little benefit to the consumer?” asks Joshua Hart, Director of Scotts Valley Neighbors Against Smart Meters.

The new meters will generate greater profits to PG&E shareholders but are ultimately being paid for by the ratepayer. Furthermore, they will allow PG&E to layoff hundreds of workers at a time of worsening recession and unemployment in California.

The new meters use a similar technology to that used in cell phones.  Scientific studies have shown a link between heavy cell phone use and glioma, a form of brain tumor.[1]   This evidence recently led the City of San Francisco to require that radiation levels of cell phones be listed at the point of sale, a move that was ferociously opposed by the telecommunications industry.  San Francisco has also formally requested a moratorium on the installation of Smart Meters. Though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claims that current limits are perfectly safe, levels of electromagnetic radiation permitted in this country are actually prohibited by law in many other countries like Switzerland, Italy, and Russia.

Heidi Bazzano, a resident of Scotts Valley and a member of the neighbors group, has chosen not to use cell phones or wifi after reading up on cell phone health studies.  Now she is dismayed that PG&E is forcing her to have the new meter installed. “PG&E’s treatment of their customers and the public is outrageous. They didn’t ask us whether we wanted these meters, and now we’re being told we can’t opt out.  That is a violation of our health, our safety, and our property rights.”

The City Council meets tonight at Scotts Valley City Hall.   1 Civic Center Drive, Scotts Valley. A number of citizens are expected to address the council.

[1] http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/INTERPHONEresultsupdate-October-20081.pdf





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