PG&E denies smart meter fires

Despite evidence that smart meters cause fires and explosions, in the following Stop Smart Meters video, a PG&E spokesperson says, that of all the nine million smart meters deployed in California PG&E has no reports of smart meters causing fires.

KO says a smart meter exploded-with a pop-pop-pop, flames and a big KABOOM- on her house.  She has pictures showing the fire damage.

BurnedSMIn Bakersfield, media reports a smart-meter blows up at a business. The PG&E technician told the employee that he had replaced at least 15 meters around town due to the same problem.

Mr. Patrick Wrigley, a former PG&E meter reader told a Public Utilities Commission judge that he was fired because he was not wiling to be quiet about the smart meter problems he saw.  He said, “These meters catch fire. They know it, and they are covering it up.”

The Berkeley fire department reported finding a smart meter “… hot to touch and smoking, with a orange glow inside the meter housing”.

IMG_2199Ms. Moskow, a PG&E customer stated,  “I had terrible electric problems in my house once the smart meter was installed,  fire coming out one of the outlets, many outlets not working.”

Two California fire department captains contacted the EMF Safety Network to report fire hazards associated with smart meters.  We also know that PG&E settled out of court in a wrongful death suit where Larry Nikkel lost his life in a smart meter fire.

In January of 2010 PG&E admitted smart meters interfered with GFI’s and AFCI’s which are devices designed to protect from shock and fire. More smart meter fire stories here: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=1280

Fires related to smart meters are reported in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Pennsylvania, Texas, Australia, and Canada.

Mass tort lawsuit filed over smart meter health injuries

gavel-judgementAttorneys David Kyle and Paul Overett have filed a mass tort lawsuit against two California utilities:  Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for health damages from exposure to smart meters, and or smart grid.  Also named in the lawsuit are smart meter installer companies, Corix and Wellington and smart meter manufacturers, Itron and Landis and Gyr, with possibly more defendants to be added as the lawsuit progresses.

Attorney David Kyle has previously won a small claims lawsuit against SCE over smart meter installation, and  settled with PG&E in a wrongful death suit involving an alleged smart meter fire.

Sixteen plaintiffs, ten SCE customers and six PG&E customers allege they suffered health effects ranging from headaches, insomnia, chronic fatigue, ringing in the ears, dizziness, heart palpitations, to heart attacks and medical implant interference from exposure to smart meters.

The suit alleges the defendants withheld important safety information associated with the use of smart meters as well as multiple violations of CA laws, including California Civil Code section 1710 which defines deceit as an untrue assertion or suppression of a fact so as to mislead.

Plaintiffs allege negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and deceit, and products liability.

Elizabeth Barris, organizer for the lawsuit invites customers from other California utilities, including municipally run utilities, whose health has been effected by smart meters or smart grid to join the lawsuit. Elizabeth can be contacted at 310-281-9639 or email: contact@thepeoplesinitiative.org

Copies of the filed complaints can be found at: http://www.citizensforaradiationfreecommunity.org

Video introduction to the lawsuit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vln-uuu_aI

Where the public gets burned and corporations get rate increases

Earlier this month California state legislators grilled the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on it’s lax safety oversight and financial problems. President Michael Peevey was caught by a TV investigative reporter at a winery conference, instead of answering questions at a senate hearing in Sacramento: Peeveys Priority: Senate Hearing or Napa Winery?  Legislators voted to wipe out the CPUC’s $1.4 billion budget to “force the regulatory agency to justify how it spends its money.”

On Thursday May 23, PG&E customers continue to demand safe utility oversight from the CPUC. President Peevey started off the CPUC business meeting by saying since everyone had been there before he’d skip the safety instructions for the building.

Garril Page, of Marin County was one of a group of PG&E customers who spoke at their business meeting during public comments.  She said this:

“Lax oversight and failure to regulate too-cozy utilities… How often does this require restatement before there is corrective action? 

It is not Jack Hagan’s military mind we need, but a surgical strike at the head of the CPUC,  to stop unsafe, unreliable conditions, abuse of funds and fiscal improprieties.  

The public is threatened by deferred maintenance of utility infrastructure,  improperly regulated,  radiation-spewing devices,  overburdened power poles loaded with snooping, profit-producing,  data collectors that topple and burn. 

The CPUC used bureaucratic box-checking to conceal the number of exploding underground vaults. How will the truth about power pole fires be hidden?

The truth about Smart Meters is being revealed despite the CPUC’s apparent indifference to scientific research and aversion to public testimony. 

No amount of a carcinogen is safe, radiation effects are cumulative, the damage is irreversible, and for the privilege of toxic exposure we are charged opt-out  fees.

The California Public Utilities Commission: where the public gets burned and corporations get rate increases.”

Bravo Garril! There were many other terrific speakers too. See the video for May 23rd.  Public comments are at the very beginning: http://www.californiaadmin.com/cpuc.shtml

Injured by smart meters? Class action lawsuit forming

9/2015 UPDATE to this post. The video has been removed. The lawsuit was unsuccessful.

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In this video Jerry Day interviews Liz Barris about the upcoming class action lawsuit she’s coordinating against California utilities SCE and PG&E for health damages from smart meters. This lawsuit may be extended to other CA utility companies soon.

“Those industries, businesses and individuals who profit from wireless technologies, such as your power company, are suppressing information about the hazards of wireless technologies. They are attacking proponents of responsible wireless management and they are knowingly exposing the public to harm and damage hoping that the general public and the media will refuse to believe the obvious and proven connection between electromagnetic radiation and biological damage. Because of the wireless industry’s irresponsibility and wrongdoing, unfortunately, legal actions have become necessary.”

Lawsuit contact: Liz Barris   contact@thepeoplesinitiative.org website: http://citizensforaradiationfreecommunity.org

PG&E fined $390,000 for spying

CPUC logoToday the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a settlement in its investigation into Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for spying on anti-Smart Meter groups.  PG&E will be required to pay $390,000 to the state’s General Fund.

This infiltration by PG&E was part of an on-going surveillance program conducted by PG&E and Edelman, a public relations firm PG&E hired in January of 2010 in response to escalating Smart Meter complaints and problems.

As part of this program, the director of the PG&E Smart Meter program, William “Ralph” Devereaux, other PG&E employees and third parties spied on groups with the knowledge of senior PG&E staff.  PG&E employees and senior management exchanged emails insulting and demeaning the members of the anti-SmartMeter groups.  For example, these PG&E customers were referred to “insurgents.”

PG&E coordinated moving an entire Smart Meter deployment yard to derail a non-violent protest and sent an employee to surreptitiously observe and report on the reactions of the protestors, who also transmitted pictures of them to PG&E.  This “spy” expressed his pleasure in observing and taking photos of anti-SmartMeter activists.

ralphDevereux resigned from PG&E in November 2010, after he was caught trying to infiltrate an EMF Safety Network discussion list using the false alias, “Ralph”.  He wrote to Sandi Maurer, moderator of the list, “I live in Oakland where Smart meters have been sweeping across town and wanted to learn more about them and join the conversation to see what I can do to help out here.  Thanks, Ralph”

Maurer’s email program revealed his true identity as William Devereaux. She responded, “Aren’t you the head of the Smart Meter program at PG&E? We’d love your help!…”

CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio said ,“We will not tolerate consumer abuses in any shape or form. We expect our utilities to treat their customers with respect and compassion and engage with their customers in a transparent, ethical, and productive manner.”

More info: PG&E’s spying may cost them

Legal filings in this case: CPUC Investigation of PG&E for Spying I.12-04-010

PG&E to escalate Smart Meter deployment in Sebastopol?

Sebastopol banned Smart Meter installation and the police have enforced the ban by warning an installer who left the premises.  If the installer does not leave, it’s a $500 fine.

Meanwhile PG&E and the CPUC are using intimidation against Sebastopol to force the Smart Meter deployment.  The CPUC attorney Frank Lindh sent this letter (re:Sebastopol City Council Res. 1057  to the City.  This is wrong, especially considering there is a proceeding before the CPUC (A.11-03-014) to evaluate community wide Smart Meter opt-out.  Furthermore, the CPUC statutory mission is to ensure safe and reliable utility service, which they have not done.

Recent news (told to a EMF Safety Network member by a meter reader) is that PG&E plans to have a corporate security meeting tomorrow with the goal of ramping up Smart Meter deployment in Sebastopol.

If you see either PG&E or Wellington or other Smart Meter installers in Sebastopol:

  • Call the Police 829-4400
  • Carry a camera and record the situation.
  • CALL THE PRESS:
  • Sonoma West Times and News: 823-7845
  • Press Democrat: news tip: 526-8585 Derek Moore: 521-5336
  • KTVU 510-874-0242

Please let other people in Sebastopol know about the ban and the actions they can take!

Briefs filed in CPUC Smart Meter opt-out proceeding

In January, EMF Safety Network filed an Opening Brief and a Reply Brief in the CPUC Smart Meter opt-out proceeding.  The opening brief provides a good summary of the issues from the customer’s perspective. We recommend the CPUC:

  • 1)    Allow residential and commercial customers for any reason to retain or restore analog meters at no cost;
  • 2)    Require utility company shareholders to bear financial responsibility for Smart Meter opt-out costs;
  • 3)    Order the utilities to refund opt-out fees already paid by individuals;
  • 4)    Open a CPUC proceeding, allow testimony, and hold evidentiary hearings to investigate Smart Meter health and fire safety complaints.

Here are a few key highlights:

  • Over 200 utility customers spoke to Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa in five California cities. Twenty speakers refer to the opt-out fees as “extortion”. Other descriptions include: “a theft”, “a scam”, “un-American”, “criminal”, “tyranny”, “pay not to be harmed”, “abuse of power”, “a penalty”, “coercive”, “highway robbery”, and “an assault”.  Mr. Holz who spoke in Santa Barbara stated, “in self defense I would smash every single f***ing one of them.” These strong words aptly illustrate the outrage many customers are feeling.
  • Mr. Patrick Wrigley stated he was a former PG&E meter reader for nine and a half years in the Marin office when he was fired because he was not wiling to be quiet about the Smart Meter problems he saw. Mr. Wrigley said, “The fact that PG&E knows that they do catch on fire when they are remotely turned back on when a customer who is delinquent in their bill finally pays their bill. These meters catch fire. They know it, and they are covering it up.”
  •  Dozens of speakers told heartbreaking accounts of health problems since Smart Meter installation: headaches, tinnitus, sleep problems, heart problems, anxiety, nausea, and more.  Some stated they had been forced to move to avoid neighbors Smart Meters and banks of Smart Meters.  For example, Ms. Toril Jelter stated she is a board certified pediatrician and general practitioner with over thirty years experience. She said, “when my neighbors got smart meters I developed severe tinnitus, fatigue, and neuropathy at home and at work.” She stated she had to move her home to a low RF area, and close her practice.
  • In 2009 PG&E began receiving many complaints about Smart Meters. In January of 2010 PG&E hired a public relations firm, Edelman, to try to improve the Smart Meter image online and in print media.  PG&E spent millions of dollars for marketing Smart Meter programs, but refused to remove Smart Meters for customers with health complaints.  The money PG&E spent on advertising and snooping on activists could have been used to cover the costs to restore analog meters.
  • PG&E was provided $128.8 million in risk based allowance, included in the original Smart Meter program. DRA witness Lee-Whei Tan said, “The AMI [Smart Meter] program built in a lot of contingencies. It has almost $200 million contingency plus another $100 million dollars that PG&E can avoid reasonableness review.”
  • If the Commission is using the “cost causation” principle for determining allocation, they should apply utility company neglect as the cause of the problem, not the individual customer.  The utility company shareholders should pay for opt-out costs in order to ensure more accountability in the future.”

To read other parties briefs in this CPUC proceeding click here.

Chasing off Smart Meter installers in Sebastopol

Wellington, a company contracted by PG&E, is installing Smart Meters in Sebastopol despite the fact that Sebastopol has asked for a moratorium twice; that Sebastopol council supports a Smart Meter community wide opt out; and that the CPUC has a proceeding pending to investigate the possibility of community opt-out.

Senior community chases off Smart Meter installerThis morning residents at Burbank Heights and Orchards (senior housing community) and Sebastopol residents chased off an installer, who admitted he had only two weeks training and was not an electrical contractor, which is a requirement for FCC safety conditions. 83% of the residents there opposed the meters. As he was leaving he said  he was going to file a police report, and when I brought the camera out he got in his truck and left. http://youtu.be/nwSlB1y4p9k

Two more Wellington trucks installing gas smart meters were on Murphy Street. When I approached the two men they did not respond or answer any of questions.  They eventually packed up their stuff and left, putting the analog gas meter back together.

Smart Meter installers drive small white Wellington Ford Ranger trucks.  They are installing throughout Sebastopol now.  There were at least three trucks in town today.  It appears the installers have been instructed to vacate a scene if they are approached. They also seem to leave town if followed, rather than going to the next house to install.

Wellington installs PG&E Smart Meters
Wellington installs PG&E Smart Meters

If you see an installer you can ask these questions:  Are you a licensed electrical contractor? Did you know Sebastopol asked for a moratorium on Smart Meters twice? Did you know there’s a CPUC proceeding that’s investigating a community opt- out program? Did you know that the Sebastopol council supports community opt out?

Tomorrow night Tuesday Feb 5 at 6 pm is a council meeting at the Sebastopol teen center.  We can bring this issue up at public comments and see if they can take some action to ban the meters after all.