In Sonoma County California we’ve had 3 major wildfires in the past two months, evacuations, and weeks of toxic smoke. This deadly scenario has played out for several years in a row and the damage to lives, homes, nature, and towns throughout California is unprecedented. California’s investor owned utility, PG&E, has been found guilty for the majority of the previous fires, including many lives lost.
In 2019 Business Insider reported, “Over 1,500 California fires in the past 6 years — including the deadliest ever — were caused by one company: PG&E.”
National Geographic reports on the science connecting wildfires to climate change, stating: “Increasing heat, changing rain and snow patterns, shifts in plant communities, and other climate-related changes have vastly increased the likelihood that fires will start more often and burn more intensely and widely than they have in the past.”
What if there are other unexamined reasons for the intensity of these wildfires? Or maybe a combination of reasons? How might the following be a factor?
Smart grid equipment that emits microwaves was installed on utility power lines starting around 2013 throughout California.
Utility smart meters have caused fires at the meter or in an appliance. Smart meters transmit pulsed radiation every few seconds have dramatically increased microwave pollution.
Trees and plants are stressed, drier, and more fire prone from years of microwave radiation pollution from cell towers, cell phones, smart meters, etc.
Stressed trees and plants emit terpenes which makes them more fire prone.
Scientists conclude plants are stressed by microwave radiation. Here are a few studies:
Influence of microwave frequency electromagnetic radiation on terpene emission and content in aromatic plants “There was a direct relationship between microwave-induced structural and chemical modifications of the three plant species studied. These data collectively demonstrate that human-generated microwave pollution can potentially constitute a stress to the plants.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25050479/
Plant Responses to High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields “Indeed, numerous metabolic activities (reactive oxygen species metabolism, α- and β-amylase, Krebs cycle, pentose phosphate pathway, chlorophyll content, terpene emission, etc.) are modified, gene expression altered (calmodulin, calcium-dependent protein kinase, and proteinase inhibitor), and growth reduced (stem elongation and dry weight) after low power (i.e., nonthermal) HF-EMF exposure. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769733/
A majority of residents from Fircrest Mobile Home Park in Sebastopol signed a petition asking the City of Sebastopol to help them avoid the installation of “smart meters” and to retain analog meters in their senior community. PG&E has been working in the mobile home park since July replacing utility lines in order to switch all homes from sub-metered analogs to smart meters.
In support of the residents’ petition, the City of Sebastopol sent a letter to the mobile home park management with a copy to PG&E, with a reminder that in 2013 the City of Sebastopol adopted a temporary moratorium on smart meter installations and related equipment.
The letter stated that the park’s initiation of the electrical work has resulted in residents facing the need to meet an unanticipated fee in order to “opt out” of smart meter installations that they did not request. They ask, “The Sebastopol City Council asks your cooperation in either paying the opt fee for the residents of the park, and/or your request of PG&E that they retain the analog meters.”
The letter pointed out that Fircrest Park’s residents can be considered “Captive” in the mobile home park by reason of their dual status as both home owners and tenants which the City maintains is both unfair and possibly a violation of the protections of the California Mobile Home Residency Law.
81 residents of Fircrest Mobile Home Park have signed the petition (from 68 out of 87 total households) to oppose smart meters. Many believe smart meters would negatively affect the aesthetics and significantly decrease the value of their home. As park residents learned more about how smart meters emit pulsed microwave radiation 24/7 very near to their bedrooms and living quarters, they have expressed a growing concern about the negative health and safety impacts of these devices. The fact that Fircrest Mobile Home Park is a high density senior residence adds to the concern about the cumulative effect of so many microwave emitting devices in such a small area.
Peer-reviewed scientific research shows that exposure to wireless smart meters is associated with increased health problems. Dr. Martin Pall reports, “18 more recent epidemiological studies, provide substantial evidence that microwave EMFs from cell/mobile phone base stations, excessive cell/mobile phone usage and from wireless smart meters can each produce similar patterns of neuropsychiatric effects, with several of these studies showing clear dose-response relationships…Among the more commonly reported changes are sleep disturbance/insomnia, headache, depression/depressive symptoms, fatigue/tiredness, dysesthesia, concentration/attention dysfunction, memory changes, dizziness, irritability, loss of appetite/body weight, restlessness/anxiety, nausea, skin burning/tingling/dermographism and EEG changes.” See also this smart meter study.
Media and numerous customer complaints reported electrical costs skyrocketed after smart meter installation. Smart meter malfunction has also been implicated in smart meter fires and burned out appliances.
Sebastopol’s General Plan includes protective electromagnetic field (EMF) policies; for example Community Health and Wellness Policy 4-2: “minimize unsafe EMF radiation levels near sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals, playgrounds, high density residential, and libraries when planning for electrical transmission facilities repair and new construction.” (page 10-6 in the General Plan.)
11/27/2019 UPDATE: Gas analog meters have been installed and electric analog meters are currently being installed. Thank you PG&E!
[mashshare] 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.”
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.
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.”
[mashshare] 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.
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.
PG&E now has on it’s website a description of a new type of smart meter that transmits up to 2 watts of radio frequency radiation. They call it a “meter connector.” Years ago activists warned there was a meter like this, some called it a “mother” or a “medusa” meter”, but PG&E didn’t admit to it. In June 2011 PG&E wrote“PG&E’s network design does not use a ‘mother’ meter concept; relay devices and access point collectors are pole-top devices.”
In November 2011, when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) judge asked for technical details about smart meters, there was no mention of a smart meter that transmitted up to 2 watts. PG&E only reported using 1 watt meters. The table below is the technical description of the smart meters PG&E reported to the CPUC judge. When did PG&E start using 2 watt meters on people’s homes? How would someone know if they had one? Do they look different?
“If a standard SmartMeter™ is unable to connect to PG&E’s dedicated radio frequency (RF), a Meter-Connector is installed to act as both a SmartMeter™ and a cellular electric network access point (so it can collect information from neighboring non-communicating meters)… The Meter-Connector either transmits 1.25 watts or 2 watts depending on the speed of the cellular network in your area, compared to a standard SmartMeter that transmits 1 watt.”
[mashshare] 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.”
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.
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?
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