Fairfax Town Council letter to PG&E “Comply with our Ordinances”

Thank you to the Town of Fairfax CA who sent a letter to PG&E asking then to “cease the impending roll-out of SmartMeter installations in Fairfax.”

Fairfax writes, “By PG&E’s actions to proceed with the SmartMeter program in Fairfax, in essence, PG&E is effectively attempting to render the CPUC rehearing review process moot. Furthermore, by continuing forward on installations, PG&E will be in violation of the Town of Fairfax’s Ordinance and would therefore be potentially subject to Code Enforcement Violations.”

2-14-17 Fairfax letter to PGE – SmartMeter Installation

PG&E has threatened both Sebastopol and Fairfax with smart meter installations even though there are appeals pending at the California Public Utilities Commission, and both cities have laws banning smart meter installation.  EMF Safety Network has been quoted in three newspapers recently.

Marin Independent Journal:

Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

Sonoma West Times and News:

We have asked the City of Sebastopol to enforce the ban on smart meters and they have not responded. However, Sebastopol Mayor Una Glass opened public comments at the last city council meeting with a statement referencing the Marin Independant Journal article,“that basically said that this council doesn’t care about smart meters anymore.” She affirmed Sebastopol still has an ordinance that is not repealed and she stated, “We are concerned with the health of our citizens.”

Are PG&E’s estimated utility bills costing you more?

If you are a smart meter opt-out customer you might want to call PG&E to find out if they’ve correctly billed you. People are getting higher bills because PG&E is reading meters every other month. PG&E estimates one month’s bill “supposedly” based on your previous usage.  The next month they read your meter and true up the cost. If PG&E underestimated the previous month your usage will be substantially higher for the 2nd month.  This could be placing you in a higher tier, rather than spreading usage over the 2 months, and billing you in a lower tier.

I called PG&E (1-866-743-0335) and found out they underestimated our December bill by a third, so we were billed in a higher, more expensive tier in January.  The Supervisor asked me to read the meters and told me how to do it. Then she re-calculated our bill.  PG&E gave us a refund of about $90.

I asked if we could self read so we have more accurate bills in the future and was told no, the only recourse is to call PG&E every other month to have the bill recalculated!

Another PG&E customer said she called PG&E and found out her December bill was estimated from the summer months usage which caused a huge January bill.  PG&E told her they would submit a request for correction, but didn’t follow up. She writes, “PG&E has found a way to punish us opt-out customers by playing this little game and then making us call in, be on hold forever, make this request and then make sure they follow up.” 

Another customer has called PG&E about this for a year and she just received a $268 refund. She writes, “How much money has PG&E taken and kept by their slick accounting methods?”

The Utility Reform Network (TURN) states, “TURN is hearing from consumers that high P&GE rates combined with cold temperatures are freezing them out.  Customers say their gas bills have doubled or tripled this winter!” 

In 2012 about a third of all smart meters were still being read by meter readers. PG&E stopped filing public reports on how their smart meter program is working so I can only guess there are still many smart meters being read by meter readers. Are they read bi-monthly too and therefore getting estimated bills?

People have paid for the right to keep the safer analog meter, and now they are at risk for higher bills because the California Public Utility Commission ordered the bi-monthly meter reading and PG&E has a faulty estimated and tiered billing system.

Here’s what you can do if you think you’ve been overcharged: 1. Call PG&E 1-866-743-0335 and ask them about your bill and what the previous month’s estimate was based on. Ask for a supervisor to re-calculate your bill for you.

2. You can also send a complaint to the CPUC: public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Sebastopol- Enforce the smart meter ban!

SMART meter health effectsDecember 1, 2016

An open letter to the City of Sebastopol, City Manager, Council and Staff,

Enforce the smart meter ban in Sebastopol!

In 2013 Sebastopol passed an urgency ordinance banning smart meter installation because they are a threat to health, safety and community welfare. PG&E threatened to sue, so the city did not enforce the ban. PG&E backed off installations, until recently when PG&E met with the city manager to discuss plans to deploy smart meters in Sebastopol.

We are asking the city to enforce the ban because the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has failed to adequately regulate the safety of smart meters.
• The President of the CPUC, Michael Peevey, knew smart meters were causing people pain, and he abetted PG&E’s pay to opt-out scheme, and delayed CPUC regulation.
• A pay to opt-out program is an unlawful response to smart meter problems, including privacy and property rights, radiation health risks, fire hazards, and co-located meters.
• Mayor Michael Kyes and Sarah Gurney spoke to the CPUC judge asking for community opt-out. The CPUC dismissed community opt-out without taking testimony or holding hearings.
• EMF Safety Network, and three other groups have appeals citing violations of law pending. A CPUC attorney stated the CPUC will rule on those appeals in December 2016.

We ask you to stand up to PG&E and enforce the ban until the CPUC adequately regulates smart meters, including the right of cities to avoid them.

Please agendize this issue for Dec.19th.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sandi Maurer,
Director EMF Safety Network

Chapter 8.58 SMART METERS (TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON THE INSTALLATION OF SMART METERS) https://goo.gl/49n4Yf
Overview of PG&E/CPUC emails on smart meters  https://goo.gl/AzfMQU
Summary of Evidence on Smart Meter Fires: https://goo.gl/ZQQH64
EMF Safety Network CPUC Appeal (Rehearing Request) https://goo.gl/updB6M

The perils of LED streetlights

Screenshot at 100% SR LED
Close up of a PG&E LED streetlight in Santa Rosa California

 

 

There is a major push all over the country to install LED streetlights based on assumptions of saving energy and money.  In places where the LEDs have been installed there are so many complaints.  On February 16 Sebastopol will consider whether or not to allow PG&E to install the LED streetlights.  PG&E owns the streetlights and requires cities to opt-in to the changeout.

PG&E is currently installing LED streetlights in Santa Rosa, and we took a team to investigate, measure and photograph there.  What we found is, unlike the warm yellow streetlights, the LED’s are very white, with cold blue tones, and painfully bright.

Mary Carvalho who lives in Santa Rosa writes, “Has anyone noticed lately that the night sky is lit up like a full moon every night?”

Paul Marantz, a lighting designer said about the yellow streetlights, “there was a warmth about them that’s missing from the new lights. And because of the way the LEDs are designed, it’s a much more directed light, with more glare.”

When the environment is saturated with blue rich light it causes melatonin reduction which can affect sleep. Harvard Medical School reported blue light has a dark side.  “Light at night is bad for your health, and exposure to blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs may be especially so.”

PG&E LED streetlight
PG&E LED streetlight

Bob Parks, executive director of the International Dark-Sky Association states, “Now, people can certainly close their blinds and block-out that rich blue-white light. The problem is that every other species on the planet can’t do that, so you have an impact on everything else. And not just animals — we are talking plants, trees, right down to one-cell organisms.”- Earth Island Journal

The Department of Energy (DOE) and IEEE reported there are serious health risks from LEDs if inexpensive drivers are used.  DOE writes, “Why is flicker bad? For one thing, in addition to being annoying and distracting, it can cause eyestrain, blurred vision, and impairment of performance on sight-related tasks. And in those who are flicker-sensitive, it can cause debilitating headaches and migraines — 10% of the population is estimated to suffer from migraines, and that’s only one of the groups prone to flicker sensitivity.  According to the IEEE recommended practice, flicker has been reported to contribute to autistic behaviors, and can be a trigger for epileptic seizures.… Some of these problems might occur even when the flicker isn’t detectable by the eye.”

The EMF Safety Network sent a list of questions to PG&E about their LED streetlights. We await their answers.  We can trust PG&E will cut costs and we can’t be certain they will tell the public the truth.  We don’t know whether or not PG&E will be using the streetlights for wireless transmissions, as has been done in Los Angeles and Florida.  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had a presentation on their website that touted the benefits of “intelligent” wireless streetlights.

Intelligent streetlights

We don’t know if PG&E is installing these, but we do know the rapid increase of microwave technologies deployed on our homes and in our neighborhoods, largely without informed consent, threatens privacy, public health, children, wildlife and nature.

The other risk is whether or not the LED streetlights add unintentional radiation to the power lines, creating “dirty electricity” like PG&E smart meters do.  Samuel Milham, MD and David Stetzer, Electrical Engineer wrote a peer reviewed published paper in 2013.  They wrote, “Dirty electricity, also called electrical pollution, is high-frequency voltage transients riding along the 50 or 60 Hz electricity provided by the electric utilities… has been associated with cancer, diabetes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in humans.

Some people claim brighter streetlights will help reduce crime. However, Earth Island Journal reported “Public safety was a big motivator behind the Oakland conversion project, and it may seem intuitive that brighter lights improve safety.  However, some studies suggest that though brighter streets make people feel safer, they have no impact on actual crime levels.”

In 2015, PG&E’s claims of LED cost and energy savings were merely assumptions.  In the CPUC 2015 Uncertain List they stated, “market move to LED technology requires verification.”  As yet PG&E has offered no proof.  In addition the city claimed the streetlight conversion would be free, however PG&E intends to recover streetlight costs through customers rate increases. So we all pay for the LED streetlights.

Why should perfectly good streetlights be scrapped for a risky technology whose benefits are questionable? A study published in late 2010 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that LEDs contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially dangerous substances.  While it is possible that the LED’s save energy, it’s not worth the cost to public and environmental health.

In September 2015, the Sebastopol city council had the PG&E streetlight conversion on their consent calendar.  Due to complaints, they took the issue off consent and put it on the regular agenda. At that meeting, Rich Emig, Public Works superintendent, gave a report acknowledging the LED health risks. Public comments included one woman who said when she was a child she had seizures from light flicker. See the Sebastopol City Council’s video which starts at 1:40:00

Considering the city acknowledged the serious pubic health risks, why are they bringing it back to the council, and why have they not notified the public of this issue that will affect each and everyone of us?

More information: 

What LED light pollution looks like from space
http://www.techinsider.io/astonauts-photos-from-space-leds-light-pollution-2016-1

Ecological Light Pollution  http://www.urbanwildlands.org/Resources/LongcoreRich2004.pdf

A Silent Cry for Dark Skies http://astrosociety.org/edu/publications/tnl/74/74.html#3

Residents sue Monterrey over new LED streetlights (2012)
http://www.montereyherald.com/article/ZZ/20120717/news/120718012

Ann Arbor Michigan has been a leader in converting city streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs, but despite a large reduction in energy usage, DTE Energy is proposing rate increases for LED lights, while decreasing rates for conventional high-pressure sodium lights. http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/02/ann_arbor_responds_to_streetli.html

Darkness is a requisite part of life.
“Half of your life, half of the lives of all nature, half of all human history has occurred between sunset and sunrise.  We and all of the natural kingdom have evolved in a landscape that segues from a bright blessed day to a dark sacred night.  A dark night is really that–sacred.  Every cell in the human body has time-related functions, part of the bigger circadian system.  I’m referring to science, not some woo-woo feel-good incense-laden chanting mysticism.  Healthy life depends on critical functions for which the absence of light is essential.”

1.  All outdoor lighting shall be full cutoff, or fully shielded.
2.  If LED lights are used, they shall have a correlated color temperature (CCT) less than 3000K.
3.  All lights shall minimize glare, sky glow, and light trespass. —–Excerpt and recommendations from www.Nightwise.org

Video of New York news story on LED street lighting and resident reaction. http://pix11.com/2015/04/27/new-bright-leds-that-replaced-street-lamps-angering-local-residents/

The city of Davis received so many complaints about the LED lights they put the project on hold for a year, then spent $350,000 more money on the project. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/10/21/davis-will-spend-350000-to-replace-led-lights-after-neighbor-complaints/

Berkeley complaints:  http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/08/06/berkeley-residents-weigh-in-on-new-led-streetlights/

Houston, we’ve got a problem with LEDS.  ​​http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2016/02/08/136878/city-waiting-for-more-information-on-alternative-led-street-lights-as-some-call-for-change/

Grassroots website about LED streetlight complaints http://lightsickness.com/actions-you-can-take/

PG&E to beam RF waves at Sebastopol?

In 2011, Brian Cherry, PG&E’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, wrote to the CPUC’s Executive Director Paul Clanon, CPUC attorney Frank Lindh, and CPUC Interim Director of Consumer Protection and Safety Division (CPSD), Michelle Cooke:

Just a reminder, we are the first to propose a solar generator in space that will beam RF waves down to a receptor site and convert it to DC current. We have changed our receptor site from the Mojave desert to Sebastopol.”

What do you think? Is this a threat, a display of contempt, a joke?

Here’s the entire email thread. http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/RF-Beam-at-Sebastopol.pdf

They are commenting on the risks of space weather.  Note Clanon’s comments also.  At the time the CPSD was investigating PG&E for spying on our groups.  After researching the 65K emails between PG&E and the CPUC I believe the CPUC knew about the spying and engaged in the cover up by settling with PG&E.

Overview of PG&E/CPUC emails on smart meters

SMARTtower100PG&E deployed over nine million utility “smart meters” on homes and businesses in California. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) supported the multi-billion dollar deployment despite lawsuits and complaints about overcharges, privacy and security risks, fires and explosions, and health problems from the electromagnetic radiation (RF) smart meters emit.

The CPUC is responsible for regulating the utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service. Instead, they partnered with PG&E and marketing companies on a smart meter propaganda campaign. CPUC President Michael Peevey intentionally delayed the legal process for years so PG&E could complete their deployment, despite knowing smart meters were overcharging and harming customers.

Thousands of emails between PG&E and the CPUC made public this year, illustrate their collusion and corruption. Together they concocted a punitive pay to opt out program, and ignored substantive complaints. The CPUC must address these issues by holding safety hearings, and restoring analog meters without coercive fees.

READ THE REPORT:  http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Overview-of-PGECPUC-emails-on-smart-meters.pdf

Structure Report: Smart meter conflict of interest and cover up

www.briannarelle.com

Emails between utility giant PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) expose conflict of interest and cover up of skyrocketing smart meter bills.  The consultant the CPUC hired in 2010 to investigate the complaints, Structure, had worked for PG&E for the previous five years, and was not “independent” (as claimed in CPUC and PG&E’s misrepresentations).  CPUC President Peevey knew the results of Structure’s investigation long before it was complete, and shared that information with PG&E.  CPUC’s Peevey was aware smart meters were overcharging through personal experience.

The coordinated propaganda campaign between the CPUC, PG&E and marketing firms that resulted in the smart meter deployment couldn’t tolerate news such as the fact that 500,000 smart meters were at risk for overcharging in hot weather.  Peevey’s own bill doubled when a smart meter was installed on his vacation home, causing  him to joke about making The Sea Ranch a smart meter free zone.

The CPUC and PG&E used the Structure report to cover up smart meter problems, and to defend the deployment at the customers’ expense.  These emails suggest that returning to the tried and true analog meters is a viable remedy to avoid future skyrocketing utility costs, and that observant meter readers are a cost-effective way to ensure public and environmental safety.

READ MORE:  http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/structure-report-smart-meter-conflict-of-interest-and-cover-up/

CPUC President Peevey “There really are people who feel pain related to EMF”

In April 2010 the EMF Safety Network filed a CPUC application on smart meters. We asked for a moratorium, an independent technical review, evidentiary hearings on health and safety, and the right to opt out.

In December 2010 CPUC President Michael Peevey approved PG&E’s motion to dismiss our application.  He stated “I believe that relying on the FCC in this case is reasonable, prudent and fully consistent with our responsibilities to provide safe and reliable electric service to ratepayers.” He concluded his statements by stating, “You should take these concerns to the FCC, it’s the proper body.”

Nearly five years later 65,000 emails between PG&E and the CPUC have been publicly released. Emails reveal the collusion between CPUC and PG&E. They discussed the smart meter problems privately, violating their own rules of procedure.

In September 2010 Peevey emailed PG&E’s Brian Cherry on smart meters.  He did not say he thought we should take the issue to the FCC.

Peevey believed people were suffering from smart meters.  He believed PG&E should do something about it. However, instead of regulating the utility to ensure public safety,  he deferred his lawful responsibility to PG&E.

Peevey
CPUC President Michael Peevey, “There really are people who feel pain, etc., related to EMF”

Michael Peevey wrote, “One thought for the company: If it were my decision I would let anyone who wants to keep their old meter keep it, if they claim they suffer from EMF and/or related electronic-related illnesses and they can produce a doctor’s letter saying so (or expressing concern about the likelihood of suffering same). I would institute such a policy quietly and solely on an individual basis. There really are people who feel pain, etc., related to EMF,etc., and rather than have them becoming hysterical, etc., I would quietly leave them alone. Kick it around. And, it sounds like the company may already have taken this step, based on a couple of the comments at yesterday’s public hearing.

He writes, “If it were my decision”.  As the Commissioner assigned to the proceeding- it was HIS decision. Yet, Peevey defers his lawful duty to PG&E.  And he delayed on this case for years.

Peevey wanted PG&E to keep it quiet– didn’t want other customers, or the rest of the world to know there’s a problem with smart meters causing customers pain, etc.

You can find this email/quote here: ftp://ftp2.cpuc.ca.gov/PG&E20150130ResponseToA1312012Ruling/2010/09/SB_GT&S_0000529.pdf

Stay tuned for more EMAIL exposé! Yet to come: emails showing CPUC and PGE discussing alternatives to smart meters, including a phone line option. Email showing the CPUC stopped PG&E from giving small businesses an analog meter option, AND MORE!