Subject: Smart Meter press releases

From Chris Skyhawk

Contact info: Chris Skyhawk & Bill Heil

Was in Beacon this week (Advoacte ?)

On June 29 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) conducted an education center at the Albion school regarding their intention
to install Smart Meters in Mendocino County. Residents who were concerned about the potential health and safety impacts of the meters attended but conducted their own meeting to organize resistance to the installations.
Approximately 35 residents held their meeting right next to PG&E personnel and displays. Evidence of the potential adverse health impacts from the electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) was shared, and considerable doubts were raised regarding PG&E statements that research proves the meters are safe. In the wake of the San Bruno gas line rupture that killed eight people and exposed PG&E malfeasance and obfuscation at the highest managerial levels, trust levels toward the company were decidedly low. Concerns were expressed that the company installing the meters (Wellington) is not hiring qualified electricians to conduct the installations and cases where the meters have arced and caused fires was shared. There was discussion on Mendocino County's ban on all Smart Meter equipment installation that was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in January.
Forty-three other government entities within California have passed similar ordinances. Residents expressed their dissatisfaction that PG&E was ignoring the County's law as the utility monopoly claims to be regulated only by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Furthermore, Mendocino County adopted the Precautionary Principle in 2006 which further guides decision making within County borders. An ad hoc group formed, calling itself the Albion Community Awareness Network (ACAN).
Residents vowed to work with each other, sharing information and resources to stop Smart Meter installations in their area and to work with other like-minded communities. Lobbying efforts at the state and local level were coordinated. Most meeting attendees were aware that they can temporarily delay Smart Meter installation by calling the PG&E hotline, but the PG&E proposal in front of CPUC that will be decided on in September would allow "customers" to permanently opt-out only if they pay significant fees. Having to pay to not have something they do not want stretched the definition of "customer" in many people's minds.

Meeting attendees decided to focus their attention on a number of areas:
1. It was agreed that the president of the CPUC, Michael Peevey, is not able to be a fair arbiter as he is closely tied with the utility monopolies and is a former President of Edison International and Southern California Edison Company. Citizens are asked to call Governor Jerry Brown at (916) 445-2841 and urge Brown to replace Peevey immediately with a new President that can more fairly hear the concerns of the "customers" of the utility monopolies.
2. Residents were urged to immediately report the installation of any Smart Meter equipment to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. County law decrees that all installations are illegal. Their web site allows residents to report a smart meter installation.
3. Increase community awareness of the potential dangers of faulty installations of Smart Meters as the work is not being done by qualified electricians and the wireless Smart Meters that Wellington Energy are installing are in fact not certified by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), a certification that is required under the state electrical code for all electrical appliances and equipment within a home.
4. Increase community awareness of the potential dangers of electromagnetic frequencies associated with the meters. The website is a clearinghouse source for information.
5. Citizen's arrests of Wellington Energy installers are being considered. Some residents might commit acts of non-violent "civil obedience" and block Wellington Energy trucks that will be attempting to install the meters in the face of the County moratorium. Traditionally such acts are called "civil disobedience", but in this case such an action would be defending a local law. It was learned that the trucks are white ford pickups, generally marked with a Wellington Energy logo, although on some trucks the logos have been hidden in other jurisdictions where Smart Meter moratoriums have been declared.
For Mendocino Beacon & Advocate News if possible

The whole thing or bits and pieces will be in next week depending on Frank & Connie

By Annemarie Weibel

Contact info:


Albion Community Awareness Network held an anti smart meter rally in Albion
On Wednesday, July 13 twenty Albion residents gathered in the meadow next to the Albion store for an anti Smart Meter rally.
These residents are part of a newly formed group called Albion Community Awareness Network (ACAN).
ACAN members gathered for approximately two hours holding big yellow Refuse PG&E Smart Meter Installation signs to let passers by and the local residents know that Wellington Energy, PG&E's subcontractor, is in the neighborhood installing Smart Meters. A local photographer and member of the group questioned the individual members why they were not supportive of Smart Meters. The answers that were filmed ranged from health and environmental reasons, dangers especially with long term and cumulative effect, safety reasons with badly trained installers and not UL approved equipment, vulnerability to hacking and planting of malicious software, inaccurate measuring and skyrocketing utility bills, interference problems, fire and explosion hazards, security risks, huge expenses with no guaranteed energy savings, invasion of privacy and lack of democracy on the part of PG&E declaring the installation mandatory. The group discussed that soon every electrical device manufactured and imported into the US will be required to have a small chip installed that will communicate back and forth with the grid in order to monitor and control the device's power allocation. The US safety code compared with many other countries is grossly insufficient. Bombay, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Liechtenstein, Russia, Israel, Belgium and the United Kingdom stand by warnings and restrictions light years ahead of the United States. Maryland and Hawaii already banned Smart Meters. It is possible to make a wired Smart Meter that works.
Many residents were assuming that by being on the delay list, having a Do Not Install Smart Meter sign on the meter, and/or a big yellow Refuse PG&E Smart Meter Installation sign in the driveway would be enough to stop Wellington Energy trucks. In addition to all these measures the general public assumed that due to the fact that Mendocino County supervisors unanimously adopted a moratorium on Smart Meter installations, PG&E would honor that and not forge ahead with installations before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decides on their opt-out plan in the next few months. Forty-three other government entities within California have passed similar ordinances.

PG&E has an opt-out proposal, which may be perceived as a good start, but far from perfect in the minds of consumers, who point out that they and their community did not opt into this smart metering program in the first place. Thus residents do not want to pay extra money for something they were never asked in the first place if they want it. Many want the right to keep their analog meter. Many residents feel that turning "off" the RF (radio frequency) radiation component (as PG&E proposes) does not solve or address the health, privacy, security and public safety consumer concerns. The limits on RF exposure levels are currently obsolete as they only measure the thermal effect. The RF from transmitters placed atop utility poles is enough exposure to make life hell for the one's who are sensitive to electro-smog. There are 66 locations in our county where PG&E has already installed "mini cell towers" on power poles in violation of the moratorium. Furthermore many households on fixed and low incomes cannot afford the proposed opt-out fees and monthly charges. It would cause undue financial hardship on vulnerable populations, including seniors, retirees, unemployed, disabled and those on low and fixed incomes. The CPUC has not yet required that opt-out proposals be required of all utilities and be available to all Californians. Combined, these factors make the current opt-out proposals unfair, prohibitory, and discriminatory. Because of CPUC's failure to adopt a moratorium, cities and counties are adopting measures and moratoriums in an effort to oppose the installation throughout their communities and protect their residents. This also paves the way for residents to file criminal complaints against PG&E when workers install meters without their consent.

Mendocino County also adopted the Precautionary Principle in 2006 which makes residents further believe that PG&E could not in good conscience start to install Smart Meters.