Comments filed in smart meter opt out proceeding

EMF Safety Network filed comments today opposing the CPUC’s proposed decisions.  The CPUC decisions will force customers to pay permanent fees to avoid a smart meter on their home, and business customers and communities will not be able to opt out.

Read the comments here: Network PD Comments

The CPUC is attempting to sweep public participation under the rug, deny community rights, restrict participation, and apparently expects no pushback!

Demand the Commission:

  • Reject the proposed decisions
  • Rescind smart meter opt out fees
  • Order all interim fees refunded to customers
  • Ban co-located antennas in multiple meter installations
  • Hold evidentiary hearings on smart meter health and safety impacts
  • Allow community and commercial opt out.

The best way to do this is to go to a CPUC meeting.  Mark your calendars and plan to attend on Thursday, December 18, 2014, 9 am at 505 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco. This will be President Peevey’s last day on the Commission.

You can also lobby the Commissioners: Mike Florio 415-703-1840/ Catharine Sandoval 415-703-2593/ President Michael Peevey 415-703-3703/ Carla Peterman 415- 703-1407/ Michael Picker 415- 703-2444

The Commission must vote against the proposed decisions because requiring customers to pay opt out fees is coercion by exaction, extortion.  Customers are forced to choose between paying to avoid harm, or the threat of harm from the pulsed electromagnetic radiation (EMR) smart meters emit, or lose essential utility service.  The opt out fee would become a government-imposed exaction whose purpose and effect is to coerce payment.

A “pay to opt out” program does not provide relief to all customers, is a violation of utility laws and core principles of private property law.

The responsibility for the cost of the opt out program should rest with the true cost causers: the utilities and the CPUC.

Smart meters are a nuisance, a means of illegal trespass, and an unconstitutional interference with owners’ peaceful use and enjoyment of homes and properties.
Neither PGE nor the CPUC has the right to use private property for installation of smart meters without the owner’s consent or due process of law.

Communities have a legal responsibility, and the legal and vested power to protect residents from harm and the threat of harm.  The decision that communities and multi-unit dwellings cannot opt out is a false and misleading conclusion.

The purpose of opt out fees is protection of the smart grid project and increased utility profits.  The utilities do not want customers to opt out because the smart meter mesh network relies on customers participating.  Where the process conceals project failings from full public scrutiny, it is unlawful and demonstrable cronyism. If shareholders paid for opt out costs, more accountability in the future would be assured.

The Commission should reject both PDs; rescind smart meter opt out fees; order all interim fees refunded to customers; ban co-located antennas in multiple meter installations; and keep the proceeding open to 1) hold evidentiary hearings on smart meter health and safety and 2) take testimony on community and commercial opt out.

The CPUC must take these actions to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates to California customers or fail in its stated mission.

Posted in CPUC, smart meters, Take Action! | 1 Comment

Extortion by ‘Smart Meter’

ostretchCPUC1SandboxOPCommentary by Jim Heddle – EON

The CPUC’s proposed decisions come as no surprise from a corrupt and corporately captured ‘regulatory’ agency headed for the last 12 years by a former utility executive who has become the poster boy for cozy corporate cronyism.  Still, they are a source of deep disappointment and outrage to those whose health and safety has already suffered from the ‘smart meter’ rollout, and to those of us long involved as official interveners in the CPUC proceeding on this issue.

Under fire for exposed collusion with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in relation to the San Bruno gas explosion which killed 8 people and destroyed a neighborhood, CPUC President Michael Peevey has announced he will ‘not seek reappointment’ when his term expires at the end of the year.  [See my Chronicle op-ed piece here.)

But that still gives him time to leave as his legacy one of his long-time pet projects: forced state-wide ‘smart meter’ deployment as part of the Obama Administration’s misguided and potentially disastrous  ‘smart grid’ program. [ See our recent blog “True Grid – Switching from ‘Smart’ to Wise,” and the landmark report “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid,” authored by energy expert Dr. Timothy Schoechle ]

A Back-Asswards Proceeding

As the proposed decisions amply demonstrate, the ‘Opt-Out’ Proceeding is flawed from the outset by several key factors.

1.  Flawed Assumption - It is based on a fundamental assumption that allows only one final conclusion.  Peevey’s version of the proposed decision states it clearly on pg. 45: “It is in everyone’s interest to promote moving to smart meters.”  With that seriously misguided and unsubstantiatable belief as the starting point, rolling back the roll-out is unthinkable. It is certainly not ‘in the best interests’ of the growing numbers of electro-sensitive people made sick and forced to become ‘EMF refugees’ by the proliferation of wireless technologies, including wireless ‘smart meters.’

2. Excludes Key Issues - The scoping memo delimiting the issues which may be considered in the first phase of the Proceeding specifically excludes health and safety issues – precisely the main issues (along with privacy and hacking vulnerabilities) that are motivating people to want to opt-out in the first place.  Peevey again on his pg. 6 “The Scoping Memo expressly excluded consideration of health and safety impacts of smart meters from this phase of the proceeding.” (Accompanying Footnote: “Phase 2 is to consider cost and cost allocation issues associated with providing an opt-out option and whether to expand the opt-out option to allow for a community opt-out option. Due to the narrow focus of this phase, it would be inappropriate to expand the scope to consider health issues.” Scoping Memo at 3. Testimony and briefing concerning health and safety issues, or devoted to arguing against opt-out charges altogether, contribute nothing to this decision. We will bear this in mind when evaluating intervenor compensation claims.”) So, what he’s saying in a snarky way is that intervenors (like ourselves) who attempted to raise health and safety issues can be sure of not being compensated for the time and research we invested as required by CPUC rules.

3.  Reversed Accountability – Another upside-down application of judgment criteria is revealed on Peevey’s pg. 13 where he argues in essence that those who caused the problem should bear the cost of solving it, identifies people desiring op-out as the troublemakers, and then admits that it was the Commissions rollout mandate initiated by himself that caused the problem in the first place.  “In D.12-02-014, we stated that “customers electing the opt-option shall be responsible for costs associated with providing the option.” We indicated we would approve incremental costs at a relatively granular level: e.g., costs for the purchase of additional meters, trips to install analog meters, meter reading, etc. would be recoverable. Accordingly, the proper inquiry for determining whether a cost is “associated with providing the [opt-out] option” is whether the IOUs would have undertaken the allegedly incremental activity, and so incurred the associated costs, absent the opt-out program. With respect to PG&E’s Customer Operations Support costs, we conclude that PG&E would not have incurred the claimed costs – e.g., costs for mailers (which TURN does not challenge), customer service representative training, door hangers, and web page content supporting the opt-out program– absent the Commission’s mandate to implement the opt-out program.

4,  Illogical Priorities –  By scheduling cost considerations before health and safety (and completely excluding privacy and security issues) the Proceeding essentially lets the horse out of the barn before deciding whether or not to shut the door.  Once the fait accompli of cost agreements and total deployment has been established, what hope of a science-based decision-making process on health, safety, privacy and security issues remains?

A Remedy for ‘Exhaustion of Remedies’ – Time for Litigation, Legislation, ‘Pitchforks and Torches?’

The proposed decisions seen in the context of the other developments listed above raise a fundamental question of democracy: What is a beleaguered public under attack by the very agencies designed to protect them to do?

Posted in CPUC, smart grid, smart meters | 2 Comments

CPUC: Give millions more to PG&E and continue smart meter extortion fees

sddefaultsquare_gallery_thumbCalifornia Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa and President Michael Peevey have issued two proposed decisions in the smart meter opt-out proceeding. Here’s a recap of what they state:

  • Give 37 million dollars to Investor Owned Utilities (PG&E, SCE, SDG&E and So Cal Gas) for providing the opt-out program.
  • Adopt permanent fees for residential customers who “do not wish to have a wireless smart meter”.
  • Continue the same interim fees of $75 initial fee, plus $10 a month, and $10 initial fee and $5 a month for low income.
  • Local governments and multi-unit dwellings may not collectively opt out of smart meter installations.
  • Charging an opt-out fee does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • They will not address health and safety impacts in this decision.
  • Assess fees on a per location basis, for example if you have two or more meters on your property, that will be one fee, per utility company.
  • If you have two utilities, they can both charge you fees.
  • Peevey proposes putting a cap on the opt-out fees at 3 years.
  • Both Peevey and Yip-Kikugawa refuse to consider a no fee option.
  • ALJ Amy Yip-Kikugawa’s Proposed Decision
  • Michael Peevey’s Alternate Proposed Decision

“It is in everyone’s interest to promote moving to smart meters.” -Amy Yip-Kikugawa, CPUC proposed decision

A proposed decision is not necessarily the final authority.  In 2011 the proposed decision stated the opt-out meter for PG&E would be a radio-off smart meter.  After strong public opposition the final decision allowed for the analog meter.

What you can do:

Send your comments by email to ALJ Amy Yip-Kikugawa: ayk@cpuc.ca.gov and to Michael Peevey’s advisor Manisha Lakhanpal: ml2@cpuc.ca.gov You can also request to meet with the Commissioners in person.

Go to the CPUC meetings.  A current list of CPUC meetings is here. The CPUC is located at 505 Van Ness Ave San Francisco CA.

To  learn more about this issue read the EMF Safety Network brief.

Posted in CPUC, smart meters, Take Action! | 6 Comments

Sedona Councilmember visits the US Surgeon General’s office

Sedona Arizona City Councilmember Barbara Litrell traveled to Washington D.C and met with the Senior Policy advisor to the acting Surgeon General, Melissa Brodowiki. Ms Litrell presented both the film “Take Back Your Power” and the book “Overpowered” for Ms. Brodowiki’s review. Assurances were given that issues surrounding the impact of microwave and radio energy on humans would be investigated.

Posted in Take Action! | 2 Comments

Bye-bye Peevey!

peevey money and healthToday CPUC President Michael Peevey announced he will not seek reappointment when his term ends in December 2014.

Recent news embroiled Peevey in controversy over his collusion with PG&E where he was caught drinking bottles of pinot with PG&E’s regulatory executive Brian Cherry, and soliciting donations from PG&E.

Today he issued the following statement: “I originally planned to make the following announcement at the CPUC’s regularly-scheduled Voting Meeting on October 16th, but instead I am moving the announcement to today to state that I will not seek reappointment to the CPUC when my term expires at the end of this year. Twelve years as President is enough. The Governor, of course, will make a decision as to my successor in due time. I will speak more extensively regarding my terms as CPUC President at the last Voting Meeting of the year on December 18th.”

Posted in CPUC | 2 Comments

Smart meter opt out proceeding delayed a sixth time and more collusion revealed between PG&E and the CPUC

Pitchforks To PGE by Brian Narelle

Pitchforks To PGE by Brian Narelle

The CPUC has delayed resolving the smart meter opt out proceeding for a 6th time which is a full year of delays. The new deadline is set for December 3rd, 2014.

During public comments at a CPUC voting meeting last week Commission President Michael Peevey announced that the Judge on the case (Amy Yip-Kikugawa) is too busy with the San Bruno case so that’s why there’s delays. According to the legal filing the delay is needed because the issues are “complex and require additional time to resolve”, not because the judge is too busy.

Meanwhile federal investigators are uncovering more collusion between PG&E and two CPUC Commissioners, Peevey and Florio. The SF Chronicle reported yesterday that federal prosecutors are investigating five years’ worth of back-channel communications between PG&E and the CPUC, including several that enmeshed utility executives in a recently revealed judge-shopping scandal.  Here’s PGE’s recent filing.

Do you think those five years of emails might reveal collusion between PG&E and the CPUC on smart meters? No doubt! We know PGE trained the CPUC Consumer Affairs Branch how to respond to smart meter complaints. The case against “Ralph Florea” aka Bill Devereaux, the head of PG&E’s smart meter department (who spied on us; circulated private emails to corporate PG&E, the CPUC and others; and sent a spy to photograph our protest) revealed the CPUC and PG&E were discussing our work via emails and held private meetings while our smart meter proceeding was still open.

At the Oct.2nd CPUC business meeting the public railed at the Commissioners on smart meters calling for President Peevey’s removal.  You can view the public comments on video:  See Oct 2 meeting for public comments http://www.californiaadmin.com/cpuc.shtml

Posted in CPUC, Hall of Shame, smart meters | 3 Comments