BILL IN CONGRESS COULD MANDATE SMART METERS NATIONWIDE, TAKE AWAY CONSUMER RIGHT TO OPT OUT IN CA AND OTHER STATES
By Miriam Raftery
August 4, 2013 (Washington D.C. ) –Two members of Congress (Jerry McNerney, D- Stockton, CA and Matt Cartwright, D- PA) have introduced the Smart Grid Advancement Act of 2013 (HR 2685) that would require the Secretary of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator to take designated actions if they find that use of smart grid technologies save energy and money. Congressman Scott Peters from San Diego (D-52) is a cosponsor of the bill.
But opponents say this could require all electricity providers (including rural cooperatives and municipal utilities) to join the ‘smart’ grid and install ‘smart’ meters, and that it could negate states’ rights to regulate smart meters and wireless appliances. The bill could lead to an overriding of state laws and regulations that give consumers power to opt out of having smart meters, which produce electro-magnetic frequency radiation that have raised health concerns, opponents warn. It could lead to requiring energy-saving appliances to include wireless transmitters.
WISING UP AFTER SMART METER ISSUES IN CALIFORNIA, IDAHO UTILITY INSTALLS SMART METERS WITHOUT WIRELESS COMMUNIICATIONS
Devices transmit power over existing power lines
By Miriam Raftery
March 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Smart meters have become a public relations nightmare for utility companies in California. After a flood of complaints by consumers alleging health problems suspecting of being caused by electromagnetic radio frequencies (EJF), the California Public Utilities Commission ordered utilities to allow consumers to opt out, or to have smart meters removed if already installers. Many homeowners have done so, but must pay for removal plus a monthly fee for reading meters.
Now Idaho Power has begun offering its customers smart meters that claim to avoid these problems. The company's website states: “Smart meters being deployed in Idaho Power's service territory do not transmit radio frequencies. Our smart meters do not use any wireless communication media or generate any high-frequency signals. Our system uses only wired infrastructure to communicate to and from our smart meters utilizing the low-frequency 60 hertz (Hz) power line signal as the carrier for our communications. This may be of interest because some smart meter deployments in California have raised concerns that radio transmission, wireless transmission or high-frequency transmission may pose health risks. The technology we're deploying is fundamentally different from the technologies in question in California.”
This begs the question: Why aren't these devices available to Califiornia ratepayers?
February 28, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
- Supreme Court Makes It Harder To Challenge Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (NPR)
- Cap Cod community considers taking down wind turbines after illness, noise (Fox)
- Needy families can apply for pet food stamps through donation-based program(ABC News 5)
- Threat of sequestration looms as deadline approaches (CBS)
- Justices asked to void marriage law provision (U-T San Diego)
- Cash-Strapped Postal Service To Launch A New Clothing Line (NPR)
- The true size of the National Debt (Washington Post)
- Mom takes on smart meters over privacy, security and health (Jewish World Health)
- Those terrible first few minutes: Revisiting active shooter protocols for schools (FBI Bulletin)
- iDoctor: Could a smart phone be the future of medicine? (NBC)
- Mexico's 'Crisis Of Disappearance': Families Seek Answers (NPR)
- UK convicts 3 Islamists for plotting another 9/11 (Jerusalem Post)
- Heritage sites of national significance under threat from wind farms (British Telegraph)
- For Taliban victims, Pakistani peace talks feel like betrayal (Christian Science Monitor)
- Bulgarian government resigns amid growing protests (Reuters)
- Sunspots: Huge and growing fast, says NASA (Christian Science Monitor)
- 'Gazans seek elections as Hamas support declines' (Jerusalem Post)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
February 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reviewing its policies on radiofrequency (RF) radiation, such as that emitted by cell phone towers, smart meters, broadcast antennae and other sources. Public comments will be accepted until March 6, 2013.
December 29, 2012 (San Diego)—A federal lawsuit has been filed by Celeste Deborah Cooney, who alleges that radiation from a bank of smart meters left her unable to reside in her home. Defendants in the suit include the SDG&E, the State of California, Attorney General Kamala Harris, California Public Utilities chairman Mi chael Peevey, and Itron Inc., manufacturer of smart meters used in San Diego.
Cooney, a former bank vice president in Massachusetts, moved to San Diego to pursue a new career as a musician. She performed at prominent locations including the Queen Mary and the Ritz Carlton. But in April 2011, she developed a ringing in her ears, a “shock to her heart”, numbness, chest pain, heart palpitations and sleep problems that she attributes to a bank of smart meters at an apartment complex near her home in La Jolla.
- A Q&A on San Miguel’s situation
- Tony Gwynn joins group seeking to buy Padres (10 News)
- San Onofre future hinges on finding cause of abnormal tube wear (Sacramento Bee)
- San Diego ranked least expensive city in state to do business (10 News)
- La Mesa may welcome wineries and breweries (UT San Diego)
- La Mesa Village Development (La Mesa Today)
- No option at all! (for condo/apartment residents with multiple smart meters) (KUSI Turko Files)
- Walmart Neighborhood Market planned for La Mesa
- Countywide water rates could rise nearly 10% (UT San Diego)
- Grossmont baseball coach Jim Earley quits amid parent accusations (La Mesa Patch)
- Wounded officer asked `Is this my time?’ (UT San Diego)
- CA Senate passes bill for self-driving cars (Los Angeles Times)
- CA Senate passes bill that limits salaries at CSU (Sacramento Bee)
- California Democrats balk at deeper cuts for state’s poorest residents (Sacramento Bee)
- Purple Super Pac launched to support registered Independents (Sacramento Bee)
- U-T: State Plans Big Changes To Testing, Instruction
By Miriam Raftery
La Mesa leader in anti-smart meter movement says plan offers relief, but does not go far enough
April 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Ratepayers now have the right to have a smart meter removed from their homes—provided they pay a $75 removal fee and $10 a month fee to read their meter (for low income users, the rate is $10/removal and $5/month).
Consumers who do not yet have smart meters and are on a “delay” list will have to make clear anew that they wish to opt out, or smart meters may be installed.
By Miriam Raftery
March 24, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Earlier this month, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission ordered San Diego Gas & Electric Company to prepare a plan that would give ratepayers the right to not have wireless smart meters.
But critics, who claim the meters are public health hazards, say the prospect of being charged for removal of smart meters and paying extra fees each month for meter readings is unacceptable.
A local elected official says SDG&E installations of smart meters are occurring at homes on opt-out list
By Miriam Raftery
February 7, 2012 (San Diego)—The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) this week voted to allow Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers to have smart meters replaced with older analog meters, for a $75 installation fee plus a monthly fee of $5 to $10, depending on income. Ratepayers must inform PG&E by May 1 if they wish to opt-out.
Commissioners have not yet ruled on whether to allow San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) or other utilities’ customers to opt out, but are expected to make a similar ruling later this month. SDG&E has proposed even higher opt-out fees of including an initial $175-$200, an exit fee of $50 and a monthly fee of $15 to cover meter readings, the North County Times reports.
La Mesa smart meter opponent voices outrage over families left in the cold
By Miriam Raftery
December 14, 2011 (La Mesa)—“We have just learned of a very troubling situation,” Susan Brinchman, a La Mesa activist leading statewide efforts to oppose smart meters, has informed ECM. “Power has been cut off for three families who changed out the smart meters on their homes for analogs.”
The shut-offs were made by Pacific Gas & Electric Company in Santa Cruz. Like a growing number of Californians, the families left in the dark had complained of health problems that they believed were caused by smart meters installed on their residences. Now, Brinchman fears that the same thing could happen in San Diego County.
Ruling today on smart meter opt-out for SDG&E customers sparks added interest among local ratepayers
By Miriam Raftery
October 11, 2011 (El Cajon) – SDG&E wants to hike utility rates by over 17% in the next four years. Tomorrow, East County residents will have a chance to voice their views on the proposal at two hearings held by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The public meetings will be held at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. at the El Cajon City Council Chambers, 200 East Main Street in El Cajon.
An East County Magazine poll of readers has found that thus far, 93% of the 275 who voted think the CPUC should deny SDG&E's rate hike request. TAKE OUR POLL: Should the CPUC approve SDG&E's rate hike?
The rate hike is opposed by the CPUC’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), which conducted an audit that found SDG&E inflated its costs. The DRA recommended that SDG&E lower—not raise—its rates.
October 9, 2011 (La Mesa) – La Mesa resident Susan Brinchman, director and founder of the Center for Electrosmog Prevention, has announced that she will join the Occupy San Diego effort downtown with rallies to draw attention to health issues involving smart meters.
“Smart meters are an excessive form of corporate abuse of our bodies and our rights,” Brinchman wrote in an email to supporters and media. “Let us join our anti-smart meter efforts to the Wall Street protests in our local cities and towns.”
September 26, 2011 (San Diego) – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) president Michael Peevey has issued a ruling ordering San Diego Gas & Electric Company and two other utility companies to allow consumers who don’t want a “smart meter” installed to place their names on a delay list, pending the outcome of upcoming workshops on the issue.
The order applies only to homes that do not yet have a smart meter, and does not provide an option for people who want to have a smart meter removed.
By Miriam Raftery
September 12, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Consumers who want a no-cost option to opt out of having wireless smart meters on their homes are urged to attend a September 14 hearing in San Francisco.
“The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has called a workshop to be held to discuss smart meter opt-outs,” says Susan Brinchman, a La Mesa resident and founder of the Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP). “We need the public to attend and show the CPUC how concerned we are. Following the installation of smart meters on their homes and workplaces, many people are reporting illness, damage to electronics, appliances and buildings, fires, higher bills, and invasion of privacy."
43 COUNTIES IN CA HAVE VOTED TO OPPOSE SMART METERS --
AND 10 HAVE BANNED THE DEVICES
July 12, 2011 (La Mesa) – The Center for Electrosmog Prevention in La Mesa along with Californians for Renweable Energy, Inc. filed a protest July 6 with the California Public Utilities commission (CPUC) against San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).
The complaint seeks to stop expansion of “a dangerous, large scale, radiation-emitting mesh network of wireless smart meters (automatic readers)" that have already been installed at many homes and businesses locally.
Decision based on cost, but a local resident who started a national movement to ban smart meters claims they can harm health in some individuals
April 7, 2011 (La Mesa)—Helix Water District customers won’t be getting smart water meters anytime soon. The Board of Directors opted against the change.
“We don’t want to spend a million and a half dollars,” board vice president John Linden stated. The board also noted that among 322 pilot project customers who do have the smart meters, only 9 percent accessed the smart meter website to check their energy usage.
READER'S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO HELIX WATER DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGARDING SAFETY AND ACCURACY OF SMART METERS
Editor's note: On April 6, Helix Water District will hold a hearing on smart meters for water district customers. Susan Brinchman believes two smart meters installed on her home by SDG&E are causing health problems including headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, heart palpitations, sleep loss and more. Her efforts to have SDG&E remove the meters have been unsuccessful. Brinchman has compiled data on safety concerns including complaints to the Califiornia Public Utilities Commission from residents with smart meters claiming health issues. ECM has asked Helix Water for records on smart meter safety and complaints and will publish once received.
"Show me the proof that my doctor is incorrect in stating that exposure to rf radiation from smart meters is causing me health problems, aggravating my medical condition." - Susan Brinchman
By Susan Brinchman, M. Ed
Founder, American Coalition Against Smart Meters and Smart Meter Dangers website: www.smartmeterdangers.org
Editor's note: After receiving a refund for excessive charges to relocate a gas meter, Joel Harrison says he found a new form of overcharging--this time for “estimated” meter readings when his yard was easily accessible to the meter reader. Neighbors were also overcharged, according to Harrison. How many other homeowners were, too? If this has happened to you, please post a comment in the comment section below.
By Joel A. Harrison
November 16, 2010 (San Diego)--In a previous OpEd published by East County Magazine (ECM) on October 1st, I explained how SDG&E charged me over four times what my plumber would have charged to relocate my gas meter. Thanks to intervention by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) and ECM publishing my OpEd, a week ago I received a refund for $839 of the $1,599 I paid SDG&E. I consider this a partial victory because SDG&E, as a predatory unregulated monopoly, still received approximately twice what a competitive market would have allowed.
However I've since found new forms of overcharging by SDG&E.