Above is an example of a wireless ‘repeater’ box that is installed on electrical poles in neighborhoods in advance of PG&E’s smart meters arriving.
Here is a view of the same utility pole from the side. Note the antennae sticking up from the electric wires to the left of the pole. This device is used to collect usage data from homes and businesses in the area, as part of the ‘mesh’ network. Usage data from your neighbors can be relayed through your home’s smart meter, meaning that there could be far more EMF emissions from your meter than the ’45 seconds a day’ that PG&E admits to.
We believe that PG&E is not only ignoring scientific evidence of health and accuracy problems from their wireless smart meter program– we believe they are also violating the law.
In Scotts Valley, PG&E had to negotiate a ‘franchise agreement’ with the city back in 1966, because even though the company owns the poles, they are located on city-owned land along the street. The franchise agreement states:
“The franchise to construct, maintain, and use poles, wires, conduits and appurtenances necessary or proper for transmitting and distributing electricity to the public for any and all purposes, in, along, across, upon, under and over the streets within city is granted to grantee.” (Ord. 14 § 2, 1966)
The franchise agreement does not include reference to collecting or transmitting customer data. We take the position that PG&E failed to renegotiate the franchise agreement and so are in breach of that agreement by installing repeater boxes on city property. Cities may be able to stop PG&E from any further installation of smart meter repeaters on publicly owned property, if they pursue legal action against the utility on these grounds.
If you haven’t seen it, the video of Fairfax City Council deciding to take strong action to stop the smart meter onslaught is a lesson in civic engagement- how a city can represent its citizens and take on a corporate behemoth.