DRA Questions Accuracy of Industry-Led CCST Health Report

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) again weighed in on the increasingly contentious debate about the health impacts of wireless ‘smart’ meters.   The DRA- which advocates for low rates, safety and environmental protection- has demanded in the strongest possible terms that public hearings on the issue of ‘smart’ meters, radiofrequency (RF) and health be held immediately.

Their excellent response to the flawed CCST health report echoes comments from a number of medical doctors, researchers, and academics who have strongly criticized the conclusions of the report as unscientific.  Specifically, the report simply excludes evidence that indicates that wireless radiation may be causing serious biological harm. Why should we expect anything more from a health study carried out by an organization that did not include a single medical professional and whose goal it is to “maintain California’s technological leadership and a vigorous economy.”

If we’re honest, wasn’t this exercise a bit like asking the tobacco industry to write up a report on the health impacts of smoking?

The DRA comments:

“The report states that ‘there is currently no conclusive scientific evidence pointing to a non-thermal cause and effect between human exposure to RF emissions and negative health impacts.’ While the report cites three studies that claim adverse impacts, it does not explain why these studies are not relevant to the current debate. The same can be said about the Bioinitiative Report, a research survey often cited by parties concerned about RF emissions, which is merely listed in Appendix E as an ‘unsolicited document.’ DRA recommends that the CCST Report be expanded to provide a scientific critique of the Bioinitiative report, and other reports that assert a link between RF emissions and negative health impacts. CCST should explain why, in its opinion, these sources do not constitute evidence that indicates a need to establish limits for non-thermal impacts, if only as a precautionary measure, even if conclusive findings are not yet available.”

Here at Stop Smart Meters! we have noticed a similar phenomenon amongst those who refuse to consider the strong and growing evidence that our increasingly wireless world is taking a serious toll on our health.   We’ve seen the eyes glaze over, and a certain monotonous denialism take hold, where certain scientific findings are excluded from reality because it is simply too difficult or uncomfortable to fit into a particular worldview.  Who knows- maybe they can’t type it into their iPhone fast enough.  The inconvenient truth, so to speak.

In a similar (and remarkable) leap of denialism, the New York Times’ Felicity Baringer compares those who question the health impacts of the smart meter to climate change skeptics.  Insisting that peer-review is the litmus test of what to believe about the world, she nevertheless goes on to ignore the large and growing stack of peer-reviewed studies pointing to health damage from wireless radiation.   Psychologically, it’s probably more comfortable to live in a world where a small hysterical fringe group is whining about electrosmog, than a world where government agencies work closely with industry and the media to obscure legitimate health concerns expressed by regular people, particularly about something as ubiquitous as wireless technology.

Thank god that social norms change periodically.    While in February 2011, the norm is for practically everyone to use cell phones and single occupant motor vehicles, an epidemic of brain tumors and the inundation of our cities by rising sea levels might well make people question the conventional wisdom that blind application of new technology is progress.

The DRA goes on to address several inconsistencies and gaps in the CCST report:

• Are FCC guidelines designed to protect all persons exposed by smart meters, including children, the elderly, and those with health issues or medical implants?

• Does reduced mobility of the person receiving the RF exposure increases the level of exposure?

We applaud the DRA for their cogent analysis and appropriate concern about the reckless rollout of a technology that could lead to lasting damage to humans and other life.  These questions need to be answered and they are not going away.  If anything, the demand for science based precaution is growing louder every day.  Resistance to radiating spy meters is spreading around the world.

Don’t buy the lies from the glassy-eyed, greenwashed “clean-tech” paycheck denialists.

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Posted in CPUC, Democracy, Environmental Concerns, Health studies, Safety | 2 Comments

Stop Smart Meters! Exclusive: Interview with the Wellington Energy Whistleblower

Wellington Energy is the company that is installing PG&E’s new wireless ‘smart’ meters in California.  A former Wellington Energy employee sent us an e-mail late last year offering to speak with us about his experience installing smart meters in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He has requested anonymity.  Here is the Stop Smart Meters! interview with the ‘Wellington Whistleblower’ in full:

SSM:   Thank you for getting in touch with us.   What made you want to come forward?

WW:  I’m disgusted by what I’ve seen. PG&E and Wellington need to make the public aware that there are risks with these things. They need to come clean about the emissions of harmful radio waves, potential arcing etc.    No one is taking the steps necessary to protect the public.   People need to be aware the risks that are being taken with their homes and with their lives.

SSM:  How long did you work for Wellington and where were you based?

WW: I worked at the Capitola yard from June until the beginning of September 2010, when they abandoned the yard following community protests.   After that, I worked out of the San Jose yard until the end of September when I was laid off.  I primarily installed in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

SSM:  What is your opinion of PG&E and Wellington Energy?

WW: The only thing they are concerned with is money.  Safety was an afterthought.

SSM:  What was your experience with the public?  Are people happy to have these devices installed on their homes?

WW: Most people who had looked into the issue on their own did not want the meters installed.  We were dealing with an increasingly resistant public.  Forcing these meters on people makes the job really difficult and stressful.   A few of my colleagues reported that the police were called on them multiple times.

SSM:  The FCC requires that these devices be installed by trained professional electricians. [1]  What kind of training did you receive prior to working as a ‘smart’ meter installer?

WW: We received only two weeks of training before they sent us out to do the installations.  Though the procedure is relatively simple, if you get it wrong this can lead to arcing, shorts- even house fires.  The blades on the back of the meter have to be aligned properly with the jaws on the socket the meter gets placed in.  I kept hearing one of the managers say, “you guys weren’t trained properly.”

SSM:  What did he mean?

WW:  Many of the installers would come back to the yard and report that they had come across meters that were hanging by an electrical wire, or other clearly unsafe conditions. There was a lot of pressure on workers to install as many meters as possible in a day in order to earn bonuses. One employee went out into the Santa Cruz Mountains and I think he is still out there somewhere he got so disoriented. Needless to say, improper training, and being under incredible pressure, there HAS TO be error, especially with new people working in new territory.  I overheard numerous times while at work, “you could have burned that goddamned house down.”

SSM:  Did you personally come across safety hazards?  What happened when you tried to report them?

WW: The more you called Wellington, the worse it looked on your record- because you’re wasting time.  I saw sparks coming from one of the meters on a home.  I reported it but am not sure what- if anything- was done.

SSM:  Based on your observations while working for Wellington, what are your fears about the risks they are taking with the public’s safety?

WW:  First off I can only speak about what I personally observed.  I believe- based on what I observed- that there is a chance that due to inadequate training some meters were not installed properly.  I do feel that Scotts Valley, Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, Corralitos, to name a few should be informed enough to prepare for what could realistically turn into another San Bruno. (emphasis added)

SSM: Of course at the time of the explosion San Bruno was 100% installed with smart meters.  Are you aware that PG&E and the CPUC have not yet responded to questions about what safety precautions they took while installing smart meters adjacent to gas lines?  Seems like a fairly reasonable question given that the technology can generate sparks.

WW:   It really doesn’t surprise me that they haven’t answered questions regarding the smart meters and San Bruno.  When I asked one of my managers who was in charge of training “is it possible in your opinion that a fire could start from an arc from a meter located above a gas meter” (which always has some blow off gas emitting from it) he would not give me a direct answer!  He avoided the question like the plague, quoting some plumber he knew and on and on, avoiding an answer. Could the San Bruno fire have been started by an arc from a meter?  I’ll let you decide.  The definition of an electrical arc is: “a sustained luminous discharge of electricity across a gap in a circuit”. The definition of ignition: the process or means (as an electric spark) of igniting a fuel mixture.  Gas is a fuel.  I’ll leave it at that.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put it all together.

SSM:  Why did you stop working for Wellington?

WW: I was let go because I took too much time with each resident.  When you are dealing with people’s lives, I don’t feel that it is proper to hang the door hanger, do your installs, and get out of there. With the reception of these meters I felt people at least needed to be talked to and listened to beforehand.  This of course resulted in my dismissal. I talked too much and too long with the customers. As a Wellington employee you must log in to your handheld computer every 15 minutes or it creates a ‘red zone’ in your day’s activities.  This is likely to be addressed to you on the phone by your boss the next day as you are trying to get your numbers up that day. A reduction in work force was eventually used as an excuse for my dismissal.   Meanwhile a training class for the same position was going on at the same time!

SSM: What do you think is really behind PG&E’s ‘smart’ meter program?

WW:  The smart meter has a hell of a lot of potential that they’re not talking about.  PG&E claims they’re not going to use that potential, but who can believe them?   Believe me they have plans for these things.   They could use it for cell phone reception, broadband, tv services etc.

SSM: As you know, people are desperate.  They’re suffering headaches, nausea, etc.  This has driven some people out of their homes.  They’re now calling them ‘smart meter refugees.’   Meanwhile PG&E and the CPUC refuse to remove them even in cases where doctors confirm that health is being jeopardized.   Based on your knowledge, can a resident remove the meters themselves?   How risky is this?

WW:  First of all, about health issues.  I was never really concerned about this, because I believed what I was told from Wellington, that the meters only emitted radio waves to send usage to a transponder close by so it could relay it to PG&E…..on a short time basis, rarely more than once a month except in the start up, and then not a lot. My manager reiterated that as well, during one of our conversations.

I was surprised to hear that the meters send signals- what- 15 per minute? We all were told they only transmit a few times a month if that, just enough to send the total usage from that account.

As far as a DIY de-installation, I don’t advise anyone who hasn’t been trained as an electrician to try and remove the meter themselves.  However, if you can find a professional electrician to help you, it’s not really that big a deal.  There is an aluminum ring that holds the meter in place. The ring comes off easy with a pair of wire cutters.  Like a watchband or a locking suitcase- you push it in and it pops off easily. You can pull the ring off and then the meter comes right off.  There are 4 pins on the back of the meter, and if you have access to an old analog meter, you could just pop it right on.  Of course the pins are now essentially live wires so these would be very dangerous to touch.

SSM:  The information that I have seen indicates that the new meters can actually be transmitting constantly [2], so it sounds like your managers were not being straight with you. What about the smart meter attachment on the gas meter?  How would one go about removing that?

WW: You can remove a smartmeter from a gas meter by removing the screws that attach the module (meter) it to the gas meter itself. It won’t interrupt the gas service at all. All the module does is track usage, the index (dial apparatus) has a key on the back which slips onto a key in the meter which has a diaphragm regulating gas pressure and turning the gas index key.

SSM: You were working at the Capitola yard in late August 2010 when the protests were going on.   What was the response from PG&E?

WW:  PG&E sent a senior security executive out to handle the situation.  The protests were effective at informing the public about the risks of smart meters- something PG&E desperately wanted to avoid.   They didn’t want the situation to escalate so they withdrew from that site, and moved us all to San Jose.

SSM: Thanks for taking the time and being brave enough to speak out.   Any last thoughts?

WW: I was never out to hurt people- this was just a job for me.   I really feel these days that big brother- in the form of the government and corporations working together- is screwing us big time.  I hope we can get regulators to pay attention on this as I believe there is a real chance of more people getting hurt if nothing is done.

Editor’s note: There have been a number of documented cases of ‘smart’ meters starting house fires, interfering with AFCI’s and GFCI’s [3] (devices intended to prevent electrical shocks), and other potentially dangerous interference.  It is not outside the realm of possibility that a smart meter played a role in the San Bruno disaster.  At the very least, this possibility needs to be investigated and questions answered.  And we find it distinctly odd that this has not happened.

Also, it is important to note that Wellington installers are temporary workers, not professionals.  They are not required to have prior experience or electrical education.  Installers have only brief training and are paid according to the volume of meters they install.  Therefore, it is typical not to report electrical irregularities because this might slow them down.  In addition, non-professionals may not recognize irregularities as well as professionals and they may be gone to another place and job before the electrical emergency occurs.  This lack of training has raised concerns in other states including Maine [4].  In addition, there are documented cases of gas smart meters being installed without adequate safety certification.  [5]

How many homes and neighbourhoods have to burn down before regulators get serious and halt further installations? How many people have to suffer sudden health deterioration before we admit there is a problem?  How many suffering people does it take to halt a $2.2 billion project?  More than a few apparently.

If you work for PG&E or Wellington Energy and you have inside information you’d like to share with the public, please contact us at info[at]stopsmartmeters[dot]org  We will absolutely respect your anonymity.

[1] https://sites.google.com/site/nocelltowerinourneighborhood/home/wireless-smart-meter-concerns/emf-safety-network-finds-smart-meter-fcc-compliance-violations—dec-14-2010

[2] EPRI, 2010. A Perspective on Radio-Frequency Exposure Associated With Residential Automatic Meter Reading Technology, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA.

[3] Advanced Metering Infrastructure; January 2010 Semi-Annual Assessment Report and SmartMeter™Program Quarterly Report (Updated), Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

[4] http://www.theforecaster.net/content/s-scarsmartmeterforum2-121710

[5] http://www.smartmeters.com/the-news/1472–silver-springs-smart-meter-recall-halted.html

Over 10,000 'smart' meters- like those in this pile in Capitola- are being installed in California everyday. It's time for a pause, and an answer to the public's questions.

Posted in Citizen rebellion, CPUC, Democracy, Health studies, PG&E, Police, Safety | 6 Comments

Wyoming Smart Meters Installed Under Threat of Violence

Utilities seem hell bent on exposing you to wireless radiation- even under threat of force

A disturbing report from Wyoming this morning- a man who has metal implants, and was worried about the very real risk to his health [1] posed by the microwave radiation from the meters, was threatened with having his electricity cut off unless he accepted a ‘smart’ meter on his home.   Then after promising to keep the meter off his home for the time being, the utility broke their promise and showed up with sheriff’s deputies to install.

You better believe that the California utilities are also preparing to use these kind of heavy handed tactics to force their meters onto your home.  Here is an excerpt from San Diego Gas and Electric’s plan to deal with ‘uncooperative residents’:

——————————————

Proposed Plan for Refusals

  • Plan to vetted with stakeholders and refined as necessary
  • Send 1st  Last and Final letter requesting 20 day response
  • SDG&E attempt outreach in field and survey site
  • Leave a door hanger at every available entry point
  • Send 2nd  Last and Final  letter specifying date of termination of service
  • Make every effort to contact the customer in person

Service Termination:

  • Option 1:  If the electric was changed and the gas is the remaining service, use the

electric meter Remote Disconnect feature

  • Option 2:  Preferred shut-off would be electric first (gas is costly)
  • Electric service is cut at the pole or in the underground
  • A damage order of approx. $1,000 for service termination costs to be paid before

service is restored

  • Schedule appropriate crew, law enforcement, animal control for termination date
  • Crew will be prepared to cut or install both gas and electric Smart Meters as needed
  • Estimated start date: Q1 2011

——————————————————–

“The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

President Barak Obama, Smart Grid advocate, in his inaugural speech:

[1] ANSI/IEEE standards adopted in 1992 (C95.1-1992) and 1999 revisions
June 2001 SC-4 Committee Minutes (as cited in Sage Associates’ Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters 2011)

Posted in Citizen rebellion, Democracy, Health studies, Police | 1 Comment

San Francisco in PG&E’s Crosshairs for Exposure to “Extra Strength” Smart Meter Radiation

Widespread deployment of 'smart' meters is imminent in San Francisco.

More cities and counties every week are moving to criminalize ‘smart’ meter installations in response to people who are being sickened by the powerful bursts of rf radiation (now up to 25 local governments have officially demanded a halt to the program). The town of Rio Dell in Humboldt County is the latest to ban the devices outright, and Mendocino County will consider a ban on Tuesday.  Four women have been arrested at two separate protests in the North Bay over the last month for peacefully blocking installations of the meters.  And questions are now being raised about the make up and scientific objectivity of the CCST panel whose report was widely reported to give the ‘all clear’ on health matters last week.

Nevertheless, amidst all the controversy, and despite the SF Board of Supervisors formal opposition to the meters, PG&E tells the Chronicle they are preparing to install in the City within the next two weeks.  As the company admits in their internal documents obtained through a freedom of information request, San Francisco poses a special challenge to the ill-fated wireless smart meter program (beyond the City’s history of civil disobedience).  Many utility rooms (with sometimes hundreds of meters) are underground, downtown urban canyons interfere with wireless communications, and a lack of utility poles in many areas means they have to install their data collector units (or DCU’s) under grates and other awkward locations closer to the public.

So you would think they would be sensible and use fibre optic cable or something.  But the first thing you gotta learn if you’re a piggy feeding from the ratepayer and taxpayer feeding trough is to always make things more technically complex and expensive than they need to be.  Thus, of course they just make the wireless signal STRONGER.  That’s right PG&E has developed a secret weapon to deal with the pesky problems posed by the City and its residents– a powerful transmitter called S.U.N.D.S:

These extra strength wireless devices will be used to send utility usage data to the surface from underground utility rooms- rather like killing an ant with a sledgehammer. This is set to be rolled out in SF on a massive scale despite thousands already sickened by the emissions from the regular meters.

The SUNDS program (Subterranean Network Deployment System) which in practical terms- combined with the density of the land use in the city means that RF from the smart meter system is likely to be considerably stronger in SF than elsewhere.  An anonymous source at PG&E tells us that the SUNDS program involves boosting the antenna power from 1 to 6 watts- which would mean another potential violation of FCC limits.  This really is the wild west with regulators and legislators asleep at the wheel, drugged by donations as the car accelerates toward the cliff.

Wireless antenna are being installed under utility grates throughout the city. Did PG&E obtain permission from the city for these? Homeless people sleep on top of these grates to keep warm in the winter- what about their health?

How many thousands of people will be sickened and sleepless after these are installed?

Exposing the population to wireless radiation from these 625,000 meters packed into a 7×7 square mile city- the densest city west of the Mississippi- on top of all the pre-existing radiation- is a human experiment of unprecedented proportions.  We’d be tempted to just let them do it and allow the program to collapse in on itself- if we didn’t have friends and loved ones living in the City who are going to be hurt.

PG&E plans to start smart meter installation in SF within the next 1-2 weeks, potentially starting in the Marina district where people have already received notification letters.  Please take a minute and write an e-mail to your friends who live in SF with some links to anti-smart meter websites like this one, and encourage them to write their supervisor and mayor to demand the city enact an ordinance prohibiting installation.

People throughout the state have stood their ground against the utilities– in Santa Cruz, Marin, and Sonoma Counties, and the truth is that this direct action has achieved results.  We wouldn’t be shocked to find out that the fleet of white Wellington trucks elicits a response from the people of San Francisco.  Send us reports of any protests and please include written accounts, photos, and video so we can post on the site.

I like the quote sent in by Nina Beety- a tireless opponent of ‘smart’ meters from Monterey County:

“It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires of freedom in the minds of men”

-Samuel Adams

Thanks for all of you who continue to make those brush fires rage.

Everyone knows advertising is used to sell us on things we don't really need. PG&E has a multi-million dollar promotional campaign to 'sell' us something we certainly don't need. Don't buy their lies.

Stop Smart Meters! is able to continue doing what we do in part due to the many small donations from people like you!  Our donate page is here.  Thank you.

Posted in Citizen rebellion, Democracy, PG&E, San Francisco | 9 Comments

Charging People to Safeguard their Health Has a Name- It’s Called Extortion

Thanks for nothing CPUC

The New York Times reported last week that (after months of increasingly desperate attempts to make them realize that they are endangering public health) the California Public Utilities Commission is finally considering allowing people to opt out of being forced to have a wireless ‘smart’ meter on their home.  Even if it means they have to take out a second mortgage on their home so that their kid’s headache will go away.  Thanks for nothing CPUC.
The paper reported:

In separate interviews, California Public Utilities Commission members Nancy Ryan and Timothy Simon said they were open to looking at new policies that would either let ratepayers reject smart meter installation outright or pursue wired rather than wireless connections.

Their comments came in reaction to public pressure from a small but vocal group of residents and lawmakers in Marin County who fear the meters might be dangerous because of the electromagnetic waves they emit. Though the science on the question appears to indicate no health threat, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance last week that deems the installation of smart meters a misdemeanor.

Where to begin?  First out of the blue, we get the ‘science on the question appears to indicate no health threat.’ According to whom exactly?  Did the journalists review the science themselves?  Did they speak to anyone suffering from the effects of a new ‘smart’ meter on their home?  Or did they accept the unscientific conclusions of a group of smart grid and industry insiders with no health background that appeared in the recent CCST report?    Real scientists like Henry Lai at the University of Washington (who in 1996 published peer-reviewed evidence that low levels of wireless radiation break down your genetic material) may very well disagree with that assessment.  Perhaps that’s why in the same year that Lai’s research was published over the loud protests of the wireless industry, the Federal Telecommunications Act specifically prohibited local governments from rejecting cell towers based on health impacts.   Sometimes science has a pesky way of interfering with all that corporate profit.  Thank god we have the feds to sort it all out for us.

Then out of nowhere we get this claim that the number of opponents to the program are ‘small but vocal.’  That label is straight out of the corporate guide to minimizing the appearance of public opposition (chapter 7 verse 12).  No matter that the label has absolutely no connection to reality given that now 25 cities and counties in CA have officially demanded a halt to the ‘smart’ meter program and four have actually criminalized wireless meter installations.  No matter that thousands of ‘smart’ meter health complaints have been filed with the CPUC.  No matter that widespread protests and groups forming all over the state of California have presented PG&E with one of the biggest crises in its ugly history.

Reality must be quite an inconvenience to the corporate agenda.  Truth a real annoyance.  Good thing we have the mainstream media to obscure it all for us.

Commissioner Simon goes on to say:

“We have installed 10 million meters, and this is the only group from Marin County that has staged a protest based on radio frequency,” he said. “Why is it just isolated to their group?”

This is a blatant lie and absolute distortion of the truth (and he knows it).   Surely the journalists who are covering this story are aware that there are dozens of groups and thousands of individuals all around the state who are mobilizing to stop this assault on our health and well being, including the Scotts Valley Neighbors Against Smart Meters, Sonoma County Republicans, EMF Safety Network, West Marin Citizens Against Smart Meters, Environmental Options Network, and many many others.  And yet Commissioner Simon’s rhetoric goes unchallenged.

Then Commissioner Ryan goes on to re-write history, attempting to nudge herself and her reputation onto the sane side of a moral crisis that is increasingly enveloping the Commission:

“I’ve always been of the opinion that there should be some consideration of opting out, provided people pay their full freight,” she said.

Ryan added that she has spoken to California Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D), who represents Marin, about the possibility of creating a local assessment district so Marin residents can pay for wired meters. Huffman has authored legislation that would authorize wired as well as wireless installations.

So let me get this straight.  The PUC decide they want California to be one of the first to implement a ‘smart’ grid, so without any public consultation whatsoever, they commit California ratepayers to a $2.2 billion debacle.  They approve a wired version of the smart meter initially, avoiding possible violations of the state’s environmental laws.  In order to be the first, they decide to allow the technology to be installed throughout the whole state without so much as a pilot program to ensure that all is well.  Then in a daring ploy of bait and switch, they contract with Silver Spring Networks- a telecom corporation based in Redwood City- to install the meters using wireless technology- without having to undergo any environmental review.   The Commission rubber stamps PG&E’s outrageous rate hikes to pay for a technology  that we were never consulted on or asked if we even wanted in the first place.  Even the utility rates of the poorest customers have increased to line the pockets of the utility industry.  Not even a simple notification of elected governments of cities and counties that they are placing millions of wireless meters and thousands of new antennae, violating local franchise agreements.  Very little (if any) advance notice for the rest of us.

After their carelessness and negligence in allowing wireless technology as a platform is showcased for the world to see, as local elected government after government formally rejects the technology that is making their people sick, they have the audacity to demand a ransom from customers who have already been forced to pay for a technology that they don’t want.  This confirms rumors that have been reported- that PG&E plans to charge $50/ month extra to customers who don’t want a stupid meter on their home.

There is a word for that.  It’s called extortion.

ex·tor·tion –noun

the crime of obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.  PG&E is a criminal organization (even though many of their employees are good-hearted and well meaning).  Their reckless and homicidal decisions to put profits over safety have resulted in the deaths of people in San Bruno, Hinckley, Kettleman City, and many more cities and towns.

And the state is covering for the utility executives every step of the way.   The CPUC is- in the view of an increasing number of Californians (even their own employees)- illegitimate servants of the corporate agenda, in love with money and hostile to the welfare of the public.

I have an idea- let the billions of obscene corporate profits cover the cost of disabling the wireless components of the meters, re-hiring the 1000 meter readers that they let go, and letting us live our lives in peace- without the spectacular corruption and fetid lies ringing in our ears.

Then there’s this gem:

Mark Duvall, director of electric transportation and energy storage at the Electric Power Research Institute, agreed that the negative press means utilities and regulators should take the issue seriously. But in the same breath, he argued that all research done to date on the subject indicates there is no real or present threat.

“Yes, there are some hiccups,” he said, noting that utilities had installed as many as 6,000 meters a day in some areas without much problem. “But you need to look at all the societal benefits. These are significant technological accomplishments.”

Hiccups?  Really?   Try blackouts, heart arrythmias, and migraines.  Some of these tech guys remind me of little boys who never grew up.  When their parents tell them that the train set they have extended into the kitchen might trip grandma up and they’re going  to have to remove it, they kick and scream and have a tantrum.   “B.b.b.b.but MOM…it’s a significant technological accomplishment!! You can’t make me take it down!”

Can we rely on Governor Brown to be a responsible adult and make right what his predecessor so royally screwed up?  I hope so- but I’m not holding my breath.   PG&E’s former vice president Nancy McFadden- who engineered Prop. 16, last year’s failed attempt to circumvent local democracy- – is now essentially the Governor’s chief of staff.

I think I need a stiff drink.


Posted in Citizen rebellion, CPUC, Democracy, Environmental Concerns, Health studies, PG&E | 3 Comments

Are We Listening to Doctors’ Warnings?

This just in:
On 1/14/2011 Dr Tobin Watkinson writes (using the Commissioner’s Online Email Form):

From over 34 years of practice I have seen numerous patients who had symptoms which were usually dismissed or referred inappropriately to Psychiatry which were ultimately traced to electromagnetic and wireless sensitivities. My wife and I both became extremely sensitive to such technology after living under power lines for 5 years before selling the property.

Our home was recently switched to the wireless smart meters without our being told and we are both now experiencing symptoms of sleeplessness and ringing ears and head pains. I contacted SDG&E and was told there was no provision to remove the device and return to the analogue meter. Even when I offered to provide a CAT 5 internet cable to the utility I was again told there was no provission and that there was a mandate in place for the installation of the smart meters and there were no provisions for anyone sensitive or disabled from electronic sensitivities.

I find this a grave error to not allow those who have such sensitivities to be denied the right to remove or opt out of the mandated installation. There is a current document prepared by the University of Washington which I find to be an excellent compilation of data on this subject by an organization which is unbiased and has zero profit motive. Please look at this reference while making decisions which effect those under your care to protect. Environ.Rev. 18: 369-395 (2010) doi:10.1139/A10-018 Published by NRC by B. Blake Levitt and Henry Lai Department of Bioengineering University of Washington Seattle, WA “Biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays”

Thank you for your time,

Dr Tobin Watkinson

Posted in Citizen rebellion, CPUC, Democracy, Health studies | 2 Comments

Smart Meter Interfering with your Appliances? We’ll be right out. Smart Meter Interfering with Your Sleep? Sorry you’re out of luck.

Corte Madera resident Jane Levinsohn showing how a 'smart' meter made her motion sensor lights switch on for no reason. Photo Courtesy Marin IJ

It was reported in the Marin IJ Tuesday that a Corte Madera resident- Jane Levinsohn- complained to PG&E that after a ‘smart’ meter was installed on her home, her outdoor motion sensor lights were switching on and off for no reason in the middle of the night.   PG&E came out and tried using a ‘lower power’ version of the wireless meter, but the interference was still a problem.  They eventually replaced it with the old analog meter.  This is just one of hundreds- perhaps thousands of cases of electronic interference reported after a wireless meter is installed.

That’s just electronic interference.  What about human interference?  Despite thousands of requests to remove the meters because people are getting sick, as we and others have been documenting, PG&E- backed by the CPUC, has turned a deaf ear to these complaints.  We wonder what exactly they think of the thousands of people like you and me who are reporting headaches, sleeplessness, ringing in the ears, etc.

Do they think we’re crazy?

Do they think we’re just making it up to make their lives difficult?

The  viewpoint that people who complain about health effects of wireless technology are just crazy- part of the ‘tinfoil hat brigade’ or are just making it up- that perspective is simply no longer credible.

Why?  Because there is now peer-reviewed scientific evidence that certain people are indeed sensitive to microwave radiation at levels far below where the FCC sets its safety limits.  Does this really come as a surprise though?  Humans and all other living things send and receive electromagnetic impulses on a cellular level.   The surprising thing would be if wireless signals did not interefere with human biology.

It’s certainly a sad day when machines get priority over human beings.  But that is exactly what we are seeing unfold before our eyes.   PG&E, the other utilities, and the telecommunications industry as a whole are burying their collective heads in the sand, and trying to bury evidence that people are getting hurt.

To admit that people, plants, and animals are being wounded by wireless technology means that we need to question this blind rush to a wireless future.

With the mandatory wireless smart meter program, they’ve pushed it too far.  And when Republican grandmothers start risking arrest,  I think they are beginning to realize it.

Posted in interference, PG&E | 3 Comments