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Santa Cruz CA- Utility giant PG&E is threatening to turn off the power to Lois Robin, an 84 year old woman from Santa Cruz because she’s refusing to pay “opt-out” fees for keeping an analog meter.
PG&E sent Lois a 15 day shut off notice in February, stating she owed $115. On Friday she received a message they will cut off her power today if she doesn’t pay.
Lois writes, “I have always paid all my bills, except the opt-out fees. I insisted on keeping my old meter. They did not give me a new one. I have been on record all along as refusing a smart meter. I am 84 years old, with rapidly deteriorating vision. I would not want them to disconnect me as I get along poorly without light. Yet, I would rather they turned me off than pay their extractive fees.”
PG&E claims they have legal authority granted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to collect the fees. Emails between PG&E and the CPUC recently made public expose collusion, cover-up, multiple exparte violations and the broken regulatory process by which smart meter opt-out fees were concocted. Smart meter opt-out fees were fabricated between the CPUC and PG&E long before the evidentiary hearings on costs began.
For example, PG&E’s Brian Cherry, Vice President of Regulatory Relations, emails Marzia Zafar, a CPUC Program and Project Supervisor, that PG&E wants to eliminate the initial smart meter opt out fee of $75. He writes, “They never received a SmartMeter and therefore, we can’t really charge them an upfront removal fee since we haven’t removed anything yet.” Cherry goes on to explain that PG&E also did not feel people who were forced to have a smart meter should pay either, because of the delay list was created after the deployment. Emails show Zafar was the informant to the Commissioners. CPUC President Peevey had an intimate role in deciding the fees. The CPUC ignored PG&E’s request to eliminate the initial fee. http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Eliminate-initial-smart-meter-fee.pdf
In 2011, The County of Santa Cruz passed an ordinance banning smart meters, but PG&E deployed smart meters anyway. Lois Robin is one of many, who refuse to be coerced into paying the fees. Lois says, “This has been very stressful. PG&E doesn’t listen to you. Talking to PG&E is like talking to automatons.”
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.
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.
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!
PG&E has handed over another batch of emails that expose days long meetings between PGE’s Brian Cherry and CPUC president Michael Peevey. Peevey provides information, direction and advocacy on utility projects, instead of regulating PG&E to protect the public to ensure safe utility service.
The majority of the emails are about Oakley Power Plant, a windmill project called Manzana and San Bruno. However one small section gives a peek into Michael Peevey’s intentions on smart meters.
On July 2, 2010 PGE’s Brian Cherry wrote to Tom Bottorff about having spent a “good few days with Peevey and Bohn” (former Commissioner). Cherry’s description of what took place included smart meters.
“SmartMeters-Mike grumbled about the CCSF PFM* and the folks in Sebastopol who want to delay SmartMeter implementation. He implied that this wasn’t going to happen and that by the time the Commission got around to acting on it, we would have installed all of our meters.”
The “folks in Sebastopol” are the EMF Safety Network. We had a formal proceeding before the Commission in 2010 asking for a moratorium on smart meters. A.10-04-018. President Peevey dismissed that proceeding deferring authority to the FCC. * CCSF is the City and County of San Francisco who asked for a moratorium, and illustrated smart meter problems. http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/EFILE/PM/119424.PDF
The Structure Report was issued two months after Cherry wrote about this, and its conclusions were the same as Cherry reported, smart meters were claimed to be accurate, and PGE was faulted for how they handled smart meter problems.
Peevey has done exactly what Brian Cherry said he implied. Peevey dismissed and ignored the substantive issues, created a pay to opt out program, and delayed… meanwhile PGE installed almost all their smart meters. The utilities forced smart meters onto property without consent and without honest disclosure of how the meters work.
Wasn’t that just our experience?
PG&E forcing smart meters on customers!
Tearing down signs, and installing ahead of schedule!
CPUC ignoring cities and counties requests for a moratorium and safety studies!
CPUC and PG&E ignoring local laws that banned smart meter installation!
CPUC ignoring the science! ignoring doctors requests! ignoring disability rights!
Charging punitive fees to avoid smart meters!
Not allowing communities to decide! Not allowing businesses a choice!
Excluding health and safety from the smart meter opt out proceeding!
More from the email:
“He [Peevey] was concerned about the Structure SmartMeter Audit. He said he could not go into details, but that we would like their conclusions on the viability of the technology and infrastructure that supports it. He did say the Structure Audit report would be very critical of the way we handled the problem and communicated with our customers. He was also highly critical of Helen and her handling of the Senate hearing in Sacramento.”
“Miscellaneous- Mike couldn’t hide his disdain for Mark Toney and TuRN. He was particularly incensed, along with Clanon, about TURN’s refusal to modify their website about opposition to Smart Meters. I’m not too concerned about TURN and the GRC at this point. I don’t believe we need them as a settlement partner with Peevey as the assigned Commissioner….”
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
Dr.Louis Slesin of Microwave News also reported on the recommendation. The statement was a significant step in acknowledging the health threat of wireless radiation from cell and cordless phones, (and by extension other wireless devices such as baby monitors; wi-fi routers; computers; and smart meters.)
A week after Dr. Moskowitz reported on the FAQ, the CDC removed and substantially changed the language.
Can using a cell phone cause cancer?
August 13: There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question. Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cell phone use. More research is needed before we know for sure if using cell phones causes cancer.
August 20: There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question. Some organizations recommend caution in cell phone use. More research is needed before we know if using cell phones causes health effects.
Two other sections were also changed to dumb down the language:
Should people stop using cell phones?
August 13: “Scientific studies are ongoing. Someday cellphones may be found to cause health problems we are not aware of at this time. However it is also important to consider the benefits of cell phones. They can be valuable in an urgent or emergency situation – and even save lives.”
August 20: “At this time we do not have the science to link health problems to cell phone use. Scientific studies are underway to determine whether cell phone use may cause health effects. It is also important to consider the benefits of cell phones. Their use can be valuable in an urgent or emergency situation – and even save lives.”
Do cell phones cause health problems in children?
August 13: “It’s too soon to know for sure. Children who use cell phones – and continue to use them as they get older – are likely to be around RF for many years. If RF does cause health problems, kids who use cell phones may have a higher chance of developing these problems in the future.”
August 20: “It’s not known if cell phone use by children can cause health problems.”
The award description language is strong on the association between cell phone radiation and cancer, especially compared to the CDC FAQ. For example: “…a significant dose-response was found with gliomas for phone use of more than 7 years.”; “…RF emissions from cell phones could be a causal factor in brain cancer.”; “In addition to providing evidence for cell phone carcinogenesis, the findings of these two papers also help identify preventive measures.”
So why did the CDC take back their public health warning? Dr. Moskowitz comments, “Knowing how much administrative oversight CDC typically provides its media relations unit, we doubt that the CDC’s new policy statements were simply a mistake.”
Dr. Louis Slesin writes, “CDC decided it had overstepped —or, more likely, someone held its feet to the fire.”
Parents and residents in Prince George’s County Maryland have started a campaign “Safe Schools for Prince George’s County” to stop the construction of cell towers on 73 school grounds citing safety, property devaluation, lack of community notice, zoning issues, and health issues from wireless radiation exposure. Several cell towers are moving forward despite community opposition.
Many parents had no idea of these plans for their child’s school. Residents near schools were also not notified. Parents are rightly concerned about their children’s health.
Dr. Martha Herbert, pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School
“EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.”
The Coalition is calling for a cancellation of all cell-tower contracts.
A Chicago utility is scooping real low to promote smart meters by driving a red ice cream truck passing out free ice cream cones to children and families. They must be hoping for easy access to deploy their cancer causing fire starters. Beware of the armed guard.
Stop Smart Meters list of flavors:
Chocolate Implanted Chip
Smart Metered Mint
Cancer Peppermint Stick
Burning House Brownie Fudge
Controlled Creamy Caramel
An assortment of Intelligence Gathering Ice Cream bar
Recently the City of San Bruno released emails showing the illegal relationship between The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).
The City of San Bruno demanded the immediate removal of CPUC President Michael Peevey and substantial penalties against PG&E after it was exposed that top CPUC and PG&E staff engaged in repeated and illegal private conversations in the ongoing CPUC penalty proceeding related to the deadly 2010 PG&E gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno.
“Today’s disclosure demonstrates an ongoing, illicit and illegal relationship between the CPUC and PG&E,” said Mayor Jim Ruane, who released more than 7,000 pages of documents received after San Bruno filed a Public Records Act lawsuit against the CPUC.
Based on our experience with PG&E smart meters and our work at the CPUC, we know this unethical, illicit relationship first hand. 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.
Emails exchanged between PG&E’s EMF program manager and the CPUC illustrate collusion. PG&E did not file mandatory exparte legal paperwork. The attached document is redacted by PG&E but you can see the emails are between PG&E and the CPUC. They are discussing the EMF Safety Network, a conference call, and a letter from the FCC. See attached: 096SmartMeterInquiry
PG&E created a TAP (Technology Advisory Panel) on smart meters that included members of the CPUC Energy Division, CPUC Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), The Utility Reform Network (TURN), and others, and held meetings at PG&E, but the public was not invited to attend. See one meeting example here: 093SmartMeterInquiry
PG&E trained the CPUC Consumers Affairs Branch (CAB) how to respond to smart meter complaints. When people called to complain to PG&E about smart meters, then called the CPUC they got the same answer which left customers feeling frustrated and intimidated. See page 281-282
PG&E “Increased frequency of meetings with CAB staff. In addition to regular monthly meetings, met more on as needed basis as Smart Meter concerns began to increase, so CAB staff could provide more accurate and timely responses to customers (2010)”. “PG&E upgraded their phone system to give CAB priority call queue, and provided CAB a Smart Meter Overview to educate and support CAB.”
The EMF Safety Network received many complaints about the CPUC’s response to complaints. We sent a freedom of information request and asked them “Who tells the Consumer Affairs Branch, and the public advisors office what to tell people who call with complaints about Smart Meters? Who, or what authority instructs these two divisions on how to respond to ratepayers?”
The CPUC attorney responded with: “Phil Enis, a Program Manager with the Commission’s Consumer Service and Information Division, advises the Consumer Affairs Branch regarding responses to customers with complaints about Smart Meters. Karen Miller, the Public Advisor, also of the Commission’s Consumer Service and Information Division, advises the Public Advisor’s Office staff regarding responses to customers with complaints about Smart Meters.”
No mention of PG&E’s intimate involvement instructing CAB how to respond to Smart Meter complaints.
Thousands of smart meter complaints and the CPUC has never investigated the health risks of pulsed radiation smart meters. Not once has the issue of smart meter safety been addressed in evidentiary hearings.
The CPUC rubber stamped PG&E’s safety claims, based on a declaration from one PG&E employee.
At the core of the debacle is President Michael Peevey who has been the Commissioner for all the major smart meter proceedings. Remember the reassurances the CPUC gave about how the opt-out proceeding would be completed over a year ago? Nothing has happened in the proceeding since January of 2013. The CPUC has filed five delays since last December.
The CPUC is promoting smart meters, they are not regulating the utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service.
This casual culture is also evidenced by CFEE meetings where CPUC Commissioners and utility representatives meet. At this meeting Commissioners Nancy Ryan, President Peevey and PG&E’s Bottorff are present. See CFEE participant list. It’s business as usual that former Commissioner Loretta Lynch says is illegal and should not be happening.
We support the demands by the City of San Bruno to establish a culture that prioritizes “safety first” at the CPUC.
We support the immediate removal of Michael Peevey.
We support immediate legislation requiring the removal of any and all CPUC employees who have previously been employed by utilities.
We condemn the CPUC for repeated delays in the current smart meter proceedings where fees for opting out are being challenged on the basis of safety and medical needs.
We demand the CPUC hold evidentiary hearings on smart meter safety.
A cultural change focused on safety first should be the CPUC’s highest priority. Join San Bruno residents and others and demand the removal of CPUC President Peevey, sign here: Gas Pipeline Safety