CA utilities to microwave 5000 homes

On July 28, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered utilities to install Home Area Network (HAN) devices and activate the second 2.4 ghz microwave antennae in the electric Smart Meter in 5000 CA homes.  (P. 4 ” The decision orders PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E to each file a Tier 3 advice letter advice letter within four months to develop Smart Meter Home Area Network implementation plans specific to each. The plans must include an initial rollout of service to up to 5000 Home Area Network (HAN) devices that would allow HAN activation for early adopters upon request. … The full rollout shall require smart meters to transmit energy usage data to the home so that it can be received by a HAN device…”)

The industry/government partnered concept is that all new appliances will contain microwave antennas to operate in conjunction with the HAN, alerting consumers about their power consumption. What they don’t tell you is this HAN device will give utilities direct access into your home to turn on, or off your appliances, to control your electric use. What is not advertised is how the utilities will market data they collect from you to interested third parties, nor how microwave radiation was known to make people sickis known to make people sick,  is making people sick, and is now classified as a class 2B carcinogen by the WHO.

Will the utilities warn these 5000 homeowners of the health and safety risks of microwave radiation? NO they won’t. Will they investigate to see how near to the HAN or wireless meter people in the home sleep? NO they won’t. Will they inquire about age or immune sensitivity prior to installation of the HAN? No they won’t. Will they inquire about the use of other wireless medical devices? No they won’t. Will they disclose how often these microwaves will be transmitted, to and from the meter, HAN and appliances? No, they won’t. Will they prove that constant exposure to microwave radiation throughout your home is safe? No, they won’t. Meanwhile appliance manufacturers are gearing up to sell all new appliances with microwave transmitters to work with the HAN.

This directive to microwave 5000 homes was announced at the CPUC meeting, shortly after dozens of California ratepayers passionately implored the Commission to halt the radiation rollout.  Speaker after speaker shared how the wireless meters were making them sick and even homeless. The first speaker stated that since the new meter was installed he was having headaches and President Peevey told him to talk to PG&E who were in the room and that they would help him. (really?) The last speaker stated he would help anyone who wanted to remove the meter and send it back to PG&E in pieces and he did not care if it was against the law, that he would do time for it. View the webcast of the CPUC meetingClick on CPUC business meeting July 28, Archive Video Part 1.

Following pubic comments, Commissioner Simon expressed his disappointment  in the industry and called on those who economically benefit from the technology to show up at public comments to educate the public domain (see 1:34:00 on the above referenced webcast) He said, “the public comment is very one sided…it puts me in a somewhat precarious position.”

President Peevey also stated his frustration over those opposing the meters and said, ” I think it’s kind of sad, that we had so many people here this morning talking to us about how this technology will allow people to know when they are doing their wash, and all that kind of stuff and they all walk out and have no interest in hearing us adopt something [privacy and security rules] that is fundamentally what they seek. It’s extremely frustrating, but I guess that goes with life in the fast lane and public service…” Then he laughs.  President Peevey is ignoring the main reason people are speaking at public comments and asking for immediate relief, to have meters removed because they are making people sick.

The next opportunity to speak to the Commissioners is on August 18 at 9 am at the CPUC in SF. (505 Van Ness Ave.) Prepare a one minute statement. Bring a few friends- It’s going to take hundreds of people showing up and demanding a halt to this program.

Smart Meter Opt-In Left Out

by Judy Vick, M.S., L.M.F.T.

There should have been a customer “opt-in” to the PG&E wireless smart meter program when it was originally proposed as a primarily wired program in 2006 for 1.7   billion ratepayer dollars.  Or perhaps when PG&E switched the smart meter program to wireless in 2009, when they came back to request an additional half billion dollars of ratepayer money.

A 2008 report by San Francisco Environment and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, cautioned that the plan to equip homes with so-called smart meters should be put off until the gadgets are proven to save money for ratepayers and be safe for the environment, echoing the criticism of reports across the country on smart meters, which said the meters’ savings don’t outweigh the costs.  The report recommended PG&E first employ a pilot program of 300,000 to 500,000 test homes.

But instead, PG&E rushed ahead and “deployed” mandatory installation of wireless smart meters for all customers, regardless of the fact that wireless smart meters are not mandated by the federal government and are not a requirement of a smart grid.

Author Orlean Koehle, a prominent Republican in northern California, researched the utility companies claim that they are following federal law by mandating these installations, but when she consulted a lawyer, she found that was not the case. “Upon reading the bill (2005 Energy Policy Act), it does not mandate utility companies to install smart meters in homes; they are only to offer them and install them upon customer request,” Koehle said as she read from the lawyer’s response.

Ratepayers have now paid billions of dollars for the wireless smart meter program, money they can ill afford in this economy. And they are paying in more ways than one, with their health and wellbeing, their property, safety, and security.

The number of California local governments that oppose the smart meter program are steadily growing—40 and counting.  Thirteen of these governments passed ordinances and local laws banning the meters.  You have to stop and ask yourself—why is there so much resistance across California and in other states and countries over a simple utility meter?

First, smart meters don’t save energy. People save energy.  The results promised by PG&E have never been demonstrated in any test or actual program done in the country.  Consumer organizations such as Public Citizen, The California Public Utilities Commission Division of Ratepayer Advocates, and the Consumer Law Center have refuted PG&E’s consumer benefit claims.  Public Citizen launched a national campaign to expose the faulty assumption that smart meters will save energy.  Instead, Public Citizen’s analysis of the program found that smart meter installations have thus far prioritized utility budget efficiency, profiting utility companies, not household budget efficiency.  “Pouring through utility dockets, utilities make it clear that the vast majority of projected savings from smart meters is from laying off utility workers—and not from consumers’ lowering their energy use and bills. Utilities highlight savings from remote disconnection—mainly for nonpayment. This raises serious consumer safety and health issues.”  For this, people are paying double and triple what they used to pay for energy.  And people and businesses who are unfortunate enough to not be able to avoid using energy at peak times, pay more for energy than those who do not. Residents of Bakersfield filed a class action lawsuit for excessive billing from wireless smart meters after they were installed.

Mark Toney, Executive Director of the Utility Reform Network (TURN), exposed the fact that utility companies’ critical peak pricing includes a 10 fold increase in cost for energy use during heat waves.  He noted that many people die every year from heat, more than other natural disasters.  How many more people will be at risk, not using energy during heat waves for fear of excessive energy bills?

Adding insult to injury, in addition to the program not delivering on promised benefits, electrical fires, appliance damage, and interference with existing household electrical systems have been reported from smart meter installations.  And a government report revealed that the smart meter system will be easy for hackers to remotely shut off power and cause widespread outages.  The security weaknesses could also allow hackers to snoop on customers and steal data.  A paper out of the University of Cambridge highlights privacy concerns from smart meters as well as security risks caused by linking home-area networks from smart meters.

But at the forefront of the heightened resistance to the wireless smart meter program, is the fact that people are getting sick.  There is regular testimony at the California Public Utility Commission from people who report injuries from wireless smart meters and are demanding an end to the smart meter program.  For every person testifying at the CPUC, there are many others writing the CPUC and their elected officials for help.  You can read personal account after personal account on emfsafetynetwork.org.  Many of these people have never been activists, but are getting involved to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. They are spending their personal time attending city council and county board meetings, walking neighborhoods, writing letters to their elected officials, going on local radio and television stations to try to stop this harmful program.  Those who are especially dedicated are physically blocking contractors from installing the wireless meters and devising ways to prohibit their analog meters from being removed from their property.  Meanwhile, PG&E airs radio spots promoting the benefits of the meters and continues installations at a rapid pace.

There are significant and unnecessary health problems from wireless smart meters identified by dozens of scientists. The microwave radiation (also referred to as electromagnetic radiation, emf, and radiofrequency radiation) emitted from the meters is harmful to health, causes DNA breakages and a myriad of symptoms. Our bodies are bio-electric, as measured by EKGs and EEGs. Interference from microwave radiation can alter the electrical activity which regulates the function of our hearts, brains and other organs. Heart rhythm disturbance, sleep disruption, and headache are some of the common symptoms.

Additionally, 3-5 % of the population is considered electrically hyper-sensitive and 30-35% of the population is moderately sensitive.  In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an offically fully recognized functional impairment.  Electromagnetic radiation also interferes with sensitive medical equipment and medical implant devices.  8-10% of the population have medical implant devices, such as insulin pumps, cochlear implants and heart pacemakers.

The Seletun Scientific Statement (2011) recommends that global governments adopt new exposure guidelines for electromagnetic radiation—pointing to biological hazards and risks to the genetic code from unchecked proliferation of wireless technologies.  The recommendation is based on scientific studies reporting health impacts at much lower exposure levels.  Many researchers now believe the existing safety limits are inadequate to protect public health because they do not consider prolonged exposure to lower emission levels that are now widespread.

Other countries have recognized the problem of emf exposure from wireless technology and are returning to wired systems.  The European Environment Agency, an agency of the European Union that advises 32 countries on public policy, is calling for lowering public exposure to electromagnetic fields: “Waiting for high levels of proof before taking action to prevent well known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as it did with asbestos, leaded petrol and smoking.”

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently acknowledged health effects from low level, “non-thermal (non-heating)” emf exposure: “CDPH suggests further review of the literature on non-thermal effects, which is complicated and controversial, but does not support a claim of no non-thermal health effects from radio frequency electromagnetic fields.”

Daniel Hirsch, Professor of Nuclear Policy at University of California, explains that the whole body cumulative radiation exposure from wireless smart meters is 100X more than cell phone exposure.  He adds that the wireless smart meter program deployment “is a large experiment on a very large population.”

The problem with the wireless smart meter individual opt-out, is that it does little in the real world to protect public health, unless most of us opt-out.  Wireless smart meters are mounted in close proximity to our every day lives, attached to our homes and businesses, and places where we spend a lot of our time.  Many people report their utility meter is mounted on the exterior side of their bedroom wall, and often in places easily accessed by children.  Wireless smart meters emit electromagnetic pulses for more than a mile in every direction, and the signals go through walls and our bodies.  If you choose to opt-out—but your neighbor doesn’t, you are still exposed.  If you opt-out but you live in a condo, and share a wall that mounts 15 smart meters for your condo neighbors, how can you protect yourself and your family?  If you opt-out, but live by a smart grid repeater station for your neighborhood, you can do little to reduce your exposure.  In addition, we are experiencing a growing accumulation of electromagnetic radiation in our environment from cell towers, wifi, cell phones, electronic equipment, etc.

The CPUC chose to exempt the wireless smart meter program from an environmental impact report, the type of review that is usually required of such a massive state-wide program.  So the burden of proof regarding harm has shifted to the consumer.  But it shouldn’t be.  The CPUC needs to take responsibility to protect consumers and our environment now, by calling for independent testing and evaluation of the wireless smart meter and the smart grid.  In the meantime, there should be a moratorium on any further installation of wireless smart meters from any utility company (smart meters are planned for water, gas and electric meters), until PG&E can prove the wireless meters are safe.  And we should demand evidentiary hearings on wireless smart meters

As it is proposed, the PG&E Opt-Out plan is a $270 up-front fee to opt out, a $14 monthly surcharge and a yet-to-be determined “exit fee” if you move.   The opt-out costs are prohibitive for many individuals and families, which is PG&E’s intention, to try to stop the widespread and growing opposition to the wireless smart meter program.

Enough.  Ratepayers should not be penalized for the failure of the smart meter program.  It is PG$E’s turn to pay.  PG&E should restore analog meters at no cost to customers.  Consider that PG&E has profited from customers who have paid twice and three times their regular energy bills since their wireless smart meters were installed, and from laying off meter readers.  Additionally, PG&E should be required to pay reparations to ratepayer-victims who suffered ill health, fires, explosions, damage to existing electronics and/or theft of personal information due to forced smart meter installation.

See EMF Safety Network protest filing.

PG&E just announced a compromise that will be filed with the California Public Utilities Commission 4/26/11.  It is an agreement to honor customers who do not already have a smart meter and request one not be installed, until the California Public Utilities Commission has clearly defined the final opt-out plan and has allowed you time to opt out.   You need to call PG&E at 1-866-743-0263 to request that PG&E not install a smart meter.  The CPUC could take 5 months or more to finalize an opt-out program.  After the opt-out program is in place, PG&E will contact you to determine whether you still want to opt-out, given the final opt-out plan.

Customers who still have an analog meter, should be able to keep it at no charge. There should be no additional monthly fees to have an analog meter. PG&E can estimate usage based on the prior year, or customers can self-read and report monthly by phone or email. A meter reader can check twice a year so that any underage or overage can be adjusted. Or, meter readers should keep their jobs and let them continue to read meters.

It took a long time to make the connection between cigarettes and lung cancer, with the tobacco industry obstructing the truth. We should not make the same mistake again.

Email California Public Utilities Commission

This article originally appeared in the SLO Coast Journal

Judy Vick is the EMF Safety Network representative for San Luis Obispo County. She has a master of science degree in psychology from California Polytechnic State University, and has worked as a licensed psychotherapist in public service for 15 years. Since 2005, she has led community efforts to stop installation of cell tower projects planned for neighborhoods in San Luis Obispo County. She has trained with Wellstone Action and EMILY’s List on grassroots campaign strategies. As a delegate to the CA Democratic State Convention, she personally appealed to former President Bill Clinton on the public health hazards of electromagnetic radiation (EMF). Currently, as the EMF Safety Network Representative for San Luis Obispo County, she is leading the public education campaign on wireless smart meters. As a result, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and the SLO County Health Commission voted unanimously to oppose the installation of smart meters in SLO County, until the public has viable opt out options.

Smart Meters-Shame on You Grandpa

by Howard Glasser

CPUC President Michael R. Peevey

Good Morning Mr. Peevey. George Orwell had you and the industry you purport to regulate beat by 62 years. His book Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949. If you haven’t read it, you really should. If you read it in high school or college, you may want to pick it up and read it again. It told of the future you are creating for yourself and us, your wife, your children and their children. You are leaving behind a legacy of terror Mr. Peevey.

The decisions you’re making now are probably the most crucial decisions you’ve ever made when it comes to how they will affect the lives of not only this generation, but the lives of generations to come. Albert Einstein said “It has become appalling obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Such is the case here and I’d like you to take a hard look at that irrespective of the expectations of an industry to which you’ve become Godfather.

Besides being President of the CPUC, you’re a husband and father of three children and a grandfather and I’m sure that means a lot to you. I’m not prying but I am curious to learn a little about the man behind the desk.

I’m speaking to Michael Peevey the father and Grandpa. I’d like you to consider what kind of world you’re leaving behind for those you love. It’s hard to believe that in your heart of hearts given what you know and the facts that surround you, that you would commit your loved ones and the good people of California, indeed the fine people of this country to a faulted technology fraught with hazards.

According to medical reports such as the physician’s peer review of the California Council on Science and Technology on the health impacts of Smart Meters, these devices have been found to cause brain tumors, tinnitus, acoustic neuromas, childhood leukemia, neurodegenerative diseases, DNA damage and cognitive impairment. Smart Meter radiation slows motor skills, reduces learning ability, heats body tissue, lowers the immune system and does damage to the blood-brain barrier that prevents toxins from entering the brain. Even if only half of this were true, what kind of a Grandpa would protect an industry that shows such little regard for public health and safety?

At the CPUC meeting March 24th, PG&E and their attorneys took over 75 pages to say Show Me the Money. Oh they said it in legalize, the language of champions but let’s be completely honest Mr. Peevey. It’s about the money. Money is driving this; the agenda, this rollout, this rush to deploy. This skullduggery. It’s about money and greed and power.

Not green power but the power that’s wielded over a citizenry stripped of its rights and that you would see buried to meet deadlines and increase corporate profits while leaving us in the rubble of PG&E’s twisted machinations. It’s about how our money finds its way in to a utility company’s pockets which should come as no surprise to anyone because what isn’t about money these days whether it’s lobbying money or laundered money or campaign funding or pork barrels or bailouts? It is and always has been about the money.

It’s hard to believe that you would defend an industry that pretends to be green but is green only as in the color of money. Is there anything that you, the Smart Grid Industry, the CPUC and PG&E would NOT do for money Mr. Peevey?

Any good salesman or politician can tell you that if you want to sell something, give it a good name like Smart and make it the “green” thing to do.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m as environmentally conscious as the next one but the Smart Grid movement is not about going green or conserving energy or reducing greenhouse gas emissions or saving Polar Bears. It’s about raising rates, increasing profits and selling the data it collects. The utility companies aren’t doing this for your health or for the environment.

We hear a lot of talk these days about the need for transparency as if it’s so hard to see through what’s going on so I’ll just come right to the bottom line. Mr. Peevey this is your chance of a lifetime if you take it to be a real hero for your children and their children, for California and for America. You will either be remembered as the man who set fire to our freedom and watched it burn or who ran in to the burning building and carried us out.

Howard Glasser

Kelseyville CA

FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE CPUC

FILE A COMPLAINT WITH GOVERNOR BROWN

Network files CPUC protest and requests new judge

 

April 25,2011

Today the  EMF Safety Network filed a CPUC protest to PG&E’s Smart Meter opt-out proposal. In addition Network is requesting reassignment of the Administrative Law Judge , Timothy Sullivan.  Sullivan was the judge who parroted PG&E’s unsubstantiated safety claims and proposed dismissing our original CPUC application. 

From the Protest Conclusion:

“PG&E’s application is an inadequate solution to serious Smart Meter 

problems that the Commission and California utilities have failed to address.  It is 

wrong to require ratepayers to pay to escape from threats to their health and 

ensure safety in their own homes.  PG&E’s proposed charges will be an unfair 

burden and will harm ratepayers.  

The Commission should first order a Smart Meter moratorium, then modify 

PG&E’s requested relief to provide ratepayers safe and reliable utility service at 

reasonable rates.  The Commission should schedule evidentiary hearings on 

contested issues.  Network intends to participate in the hearings. The Commission 

should order PG&E to allow ratepayers to keep their analog meters or restore 

analog meters at no additional cost.  Ratepayers should not have to bear the 

financial burden for the failure of the Smart Meter program.

Restore the Analog Meters!

Your Name (required)

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Your County

Your Message:

California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102

This letter is to inform you that as a California utility customer, I demand the removal of wireless utility meters, and wireless Smart Grid infrastructure and an immediate restoration of analog utility meters.

The World Health Organization has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields (wireless) a possible carcinogen. It is a violation of our rights to force the installation of wireless devices upon utility customers without fair process of public or environmental review, or proof of safety.

I demand an investigation and evidentiary hearings into the safety impacts of wireless meters, including over billing, interference, burned out appliances, fires and explosions, and health complaints. The people of California deserve an opportunity to be heard.

Paying to opt-out is an inadequate responses to the problems consumers are experiencing. A pay to opt-out option is only available to the wealthy. This option is not equitable and therefore may be illegal. In addition, paying to opt out of a safety hazard is wrong.

We are already paying more for the Smart Meter that we don't want. We want the same reliable service of an analog meter with a meter reader, and at no additional cost.

Impose an immediate moratorium on wireless utility meters and provide immediate relief by restoring the analog meters!

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter!

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