MEDIA ADVISORY Contact: Joshua Hart, Director, Stop Smart Meters!
March 23rd, 2011 firstname.lastname@example.org
THIRTY-FOUR CA LOCAL GOVTS DEMAND SMART METER MORATORIUM
Opt-Out Plan Not Enough; Widening Call for Hearings on Public Health Emergency
San Francisco, CA- Facing mounting opposition to wireless ‘smart’ meters being rolled out by California utilities, including a total of 34 local jurisdictions who have demanded that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) halt further installation because of widespread reports of health impacts and other concerns, the CPUC signalled at its March 10th meeting that it would ask one of California’s utilities- PG&E- to develop a plan to allow customers to opt out of having a wireless meter installed- at customers’ expense. The plan is expected to be presented at the CPUC’s meeting tomorrow- Thursday, March 24th at 9am, where local government officials and a growing chorus of environmental health advocates will renew demands for an immediate moratorium on installation and hearings on health impacts.
Smart Meter opponents welcomed the CPUC’s admission that the deepening ‘smart’ meter crisis requires an urgent response, but slammed the meager steps proposed to address it. According to Joshua Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters!, “Admitting that we have a problem is the first step to fixing that problem. However, an individual opt out at customer expense is a diversion. What if you are too poor to avoid having a wireless meter- is the state saying you have to pay to avoid having a headache? That sounds an awful lot like extortion. What if you live in an apartment building with dozens of meters on your bedroom wall? The people of California were never asked whether we wanted these meters- nevertheless we are now paying extra for them through higher rates. And now the utilities want to charge us even more to opt out of a program that we never asked for? What is going on here?”
The wireless 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. The movement against wireless meters is the sharp end of a growing movement demanding health-based standards for wireless technology. Michael Peevey, who Gov. Brown has allowed to continue chairing the Commission, has continually insulted individuals with sensitivities to electromagnetic radiation, inferring that they are ‘just making it up.’ Peevey, the former President and Senior Executive of Southern California Edison (SCE) has ties to the telecommunications industry, and continues to chair the Commission that is meant to oversee the utilities, despite popular outrage about clear conflicts of interest. SCE plans to have installed 5.3 million meters between 2009 and 2012.
Health advocates say they will continue protests and civil disobedience until a moratorium is imposed on any further installation, independent hearings on health are scheduled at the state level, and the utilities are directed to remove unwanted meters.
Individuals, local elected officials and organizations opposing the rollout of ‘Smart’ Meters in San Francisco and elsewhere in California will be gathering at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting at 505 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister, near City Hall) in San Francisco this Thursday, March 24th at 9am to testify at their morning meeting.
Following the meeting, ‘smart’ meter protesters will be fanning out into the city following the CPUC meeting this Thursday, in an event billed as “Adopt a Smart Meter Installer Day.” Activists will be tracking down Wellington Energy employees (who are under contract to PG&E) and then ‘adopting’ them, shadowing them all day long, knocking on doors ahead of the installers and ensuring residents are aware of their rights. Check in with Stop Smart Meters! Director Joshua Hart at the CPUC meeting for more details and to cover this event.