Smart meters, stupid company

Customers, consultant, and consumer groups fault PG&E for ignoring growing concerns

|
(9)
Josh Hart and his Stop Smart Meters! group protests outside a recent California Public Utilities Commission meeting.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STOP SMART METERS!

news@sfbg.com

Smart meters seemed like a good idea at first glance — a little wireless device that, unlike it's dumb analogous predecessor, would track precise readings of household energy usage in real time, identifying wasteful activities and helping consumers make informed choices about conservation and consumption.

Considered a crucial first step in enabling a smart grid that would modernize the existing power grid for the information age, the technology was touted as offering potential benefits such as cheaper service, fewer new power plants and transmission lines, cleaner air, and more reliable services.

But Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s $2.2 billion program for installing smart meters has now become the subject of caustic criticism by thousands of customers and activists as the culprit for skyrocketing rates, adverse health effects, and threats to privacy.

Since deployment began in California in 2009, consumers have mobilized to halt the spread of the devices, demanding further studies of the technology and options for those who don't want to join the rush toward a wireless world. Thirty-three local governments have called for moratoriums on the installation of the devices.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which in 2006 authorized the state's investor-owned utility companies to install more than 10 million meters in California, has done little to quell the storm of protests and concerns. But that began to change March 10 when CPUC President Michael Peevey announced that the agency would require PG&E to develop an opt-out proposal for consumers within two weeks.

Prefacing the decision with an observation that almost every speaker against smart meters the CPUC heard from was a PG&E customer, Peevey called out Northern California residents as the main opponents to the program.

"I am directing PG&E to prepare a proposal for our consideration that will allow some form of opt-out for customers who object to these devices, at a reasonable cost to be paid by the customers who choose to opt-out," Peevey said at the hearing. "Obviously I cannot prejudge how this commission will evaluate any such proposal by PG&E, nor can I predict what PG&E itself will propose. But I think it's clear the time has come for some kind of movement in the direction of customer opt-outs."

But the announcement did little to quell the opposition by the scores of customers, local governments, health professionals, and advocacy groups that claim it undercuts the true concerns while simultaneously opening another avenue the utility behemoth could profit from.

"Admitting to the problem is the first step to resolving it," says Joshua Hart, executive director of grassroots organization Stop Smart Meters!, which has been at the forefront of the rebellion. "But we obviously think a ton of things were left out of this."

The makeup of the meter haters spans interests and ideals, from Tea Party conservatives to liberal environmentalists. Their unifying trenchant criticism of Peevey, who was president of Edison International and Southern California Edison Company until 1995, has only increased with each meter installed. PG&E has already replaced 74 percent of its analog electrical meters and 83 percent of its gas meters.

Resolutions critical of PG&E's smart meter deployment have been passed by many Bay Area cities and the counties of Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo. Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) introduced a bill in December 2010 that would create a statewide system for opting out.

Although PG&E officials didn't return repeated Guardian calls about the controversy, they have told other media outlets that the meters are completely safe and installation is continuing as scheduled, despite the growing furor.

 

Comments

Wireless smart meters are NOT less radiation exposure than cell phones. That is a PG$E fib that was disproved by scientists many months ago, but PG$E continues to use that fib and unfortunately some still unknowing media repeat it.

Comparing cell phones and Wireless smart meters is comparing apples and frisbees.

Comparing cell phones and Wireless smart meters is like asking Which Is More: Three Yards Or Two Quarts?

Cell phones are only a threat to the head if the phone is held close to the head or a threat to the genitals if carried in the pants pocket. It is only within inches of the phone that the threat exists.

Wireless smart meters are a full body threat, very different from cell phones.

Also, cell phones are turned off at night when a person is sleeping, but Wireless smart meters have no shut off switch and they literally pass radiation through the bodies and brains of each person within the home 24/7, even while sleeping.

Cell phones are voluntary and cell phones must be wireless since the phones are mobile.

Wireless smart meters currently are mandatory, yet they are being deployed on homes that are NOT mobile, but rather in fixed locations where wired meters could be used that shield the radiation.

Humans have incredible ability to recover from many things. That is why we sleep. Most recovery occurs during the night when we sleep uninterrupted. Wireless smart meters operating 24/7 interfere during the time for human recovery.

Has your sleep ever been interrupted many times during the night? How do you feel the next day? How will you feel being interrupted every night all night?

And how will our children develop and perform under such unnecessary bombardment so that PG$E can save the money by not using wired meters where the wires would shield the radiation transmissions.

1. INSURANCE COMPANIES WON'T INSURE THE HEALTH PROBLEMS FROM WIRELESS Smart Meters

And Insurance companies don't sacrifice insurance premiums ($$$) for no reason.

TV NEWS VIDEO - Insurance Companies Won't Insure Wireless Device Health Risks (3 minutes, 13 seconds)
http://eon3emfblog.net/?p=382

2. WIRELESS SMART METERS TRANSMIT APPROXIMATELY 25,000 TIMES PER DAY, 24/7, contrary to PG$E claims.

VIDEO - Radiation Measured From Smart Meter Mounted On A Home (6 minutes, 21 seconds)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRejDxBE6OE

Posted by RobertWilliams on Mar. 23, 2011 @ 10:51 am

Smart meters cannot save any energy, store any energy, make any appliance more efficient or save the customers any money at all.
The power output of 10 million meters each putting out 1/4 watt of RF would be 2.50 million watts. A standard broadcast commercial radio station puts out 50,000 watts of power, and requires 75,000 watts of electrical power to achieve this.
Using that formula, it would require 3.75 million watts of electrical power to power the 10 million smart meters in PG&E territory alone, and all of that power is paid for by the customers who have the new meters in place. The new meters might be fairly accurate, but they do use energy and the customers have to pay for that energy. That is the reason for higher monthly bills.
And that is just to power the meters which are part of a mesh network repeating the data through other meters until the transfer the data at a hub end repeater and transmit all that data on higher powered carriers to the central computers. All of that infrastructure has been paid for the ratepayers and federal stimulus tax dollars, the corporation or their shareholders do not pay for any part of the new systems installed.
In a document written by PG&E that was posted on the CPUC website as a reason for the rate increases, PG&E claimed that the new radio meters could save energy. How so ?
I think that PG&E thinks that they have the citizens and the government "stupifiyed".
A standard power plant puts out 1 million watts, so with the addition of 10 million new meters and related infrastructure, we will probably need to build at least 2 if not more power plants just to power the meter project, and how about those electric cars ?.
That is another story, but we can be sure that if PG&E does get away with this meter scam, they will ask us to pay for more power plants (probably nuclear), or face rolling blackouts. And we know that PG&E knows that the meters need lots of energy, but they will never admit it.

Posted by The Science Monitor on Mar. 23, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

Smart meters are a menace to our health - all of us, collectively, and individually. This is the worst case I have ever heard of, in modern times, of forcing people to have a new technology on their property that has zero benefits to the individuals and ignores the warnings of scientists and research for the past four decades. I recommend everyone opt-out, as the mesh grid that is being set up is harmful, whether on your home or across the street. Further, even if you can't feel the harmful effects you are risking horrific health problems. I think that Californians should insist on NOT paying for the privilege of remaining healthy and for NOT being assaulted by this dangerous device on our homes. GO EN MASSE (WITH ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES) TO THE CPUC MEETING TOMORROW (THURS. 3/24/11, BE THERE 8:30 AM TO SIGN UP TO SPEAK. INSIST ON NO EXTRA FEES AND DISMANTLING OF THE SMART METER PROGRAM. Read more at www.smartmeterdangers.org.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/utility-group-alleges-smartmeter-sparked...

Utility group alleges SmartMeter sparked San Bruno explosion

Regarding the SmartMeter starting ignition of the explosion. Many customers reported that when the meters where installed they caused their automatic garage door to open or burglar alarms to go off. Another thing people reported is the breakers in their home flipping if they have surge protection circuits. Since the SmartMeter is using what is called reactive power sometimes this dumps the 220 Vac and 32 Amps to ground. That's the problem since the SmartMeter connects to the gas line this creates a path for the high current to travel to the gas main. If there was a small void below the gas main with enough air fuel mixture the "spark" could cause the explosion. Since PG&E's meters network where not safety tested for EMC the burden of proof is on PG&E now to show their SmartMeters didn't start the fire. I can not even find the UL mark on these meters. If PG&E fielded the meters without UL testing first the CEO of PG&E's going to prison.

Clean-energy advocates filed a federal complaint alleging that newly installed SmartMeter technology sparked last Thursday’s transmission pipeline explosion in San Bruno.
Federal investigators told The Examiner that they are not investigating SmartMeters as a potential cause of the deadly blast.
SmartMeters can be used to remotely control PG&E customers’ natural gas and electricity use. They also record energy use.
PG&E operators communicate with the electronic devices through radio waves.
SmartMeters were deployed in San Bruno from November 2009 until April, according to the company’s website.
“I allege EMF (electromagnetic field) from PG&E’s SmartMeters created the ignition source,” Californians for Renewable Energy founder Michael Boyd wrote in a complaint filed Wednesday, according to documents provided to The Examiner by the nonprofit.
PG&E officials did not respond over two days to questions about the safety of SmartMeters related to gas pipelines.
The company has previously issued assurances that the products are safe.
The complaint was filed against PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission with the Federal Communications Commission.
The complaint alleges that the SmartMeters do not meet FCC regulations related to radiation.
The National Transportation Safety Board, however, is not investigating whether SmartMeters contributed to the disaster..
.
jupton@sfexaminer.com

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/utility-group-alleges-smartmeter-sparked...

Regarding the SmartMeter starting ignition of the explosion. Many customers reported that when the meters where installed they caused their automatic garage door to open or burglar alarms to go off. Another thing people reported is the breakers in their home flipping if they have surge protection circuits. Since the SmartMeter is using what is called reactive power sometimes this dumps the 220 Vac and 32 Amps to ground. That's the problem since the SmartMeter connects to the gas line this creates a path for the high current to travel to the gas main. If there was a small void below the gas main with enough air fuel mixture the "spark" could cause the explosion. Since PG&E's meters network where not safety tested for EMC the burden of proof is on PG&E now to show their SmartMeters didn't start the fire. I can not even find the UL mark on these meters. If PG&E fielded the meters without UL testing first the CEO of PG&E's going to prison.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 11:38 am

So I refused a Smartmeter for my place in Oakland, but not for EMF reasons. Smartmeters cannot run “backwards”, which means if you have solar you can’t sell back power to PGE. I was told I would have to pay them $500 to get bi-directional meter. I talked to a staff person at the PGE solar program and she was very upset at the Smartmeters, saying "they are anything but smart". Note the old meter works just fine for solar. It is really hard to find a digital meter that doesn’t work bi-directionally anywhere else in the Country, which means at worst PGE is purposely making it as difficult as possible to sell back power, and at best they are incompetent as they also promote solar.

Their opt-out plan only covers EMF complaints. I still can't use solar with their crippled Smartmeter.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 9:01 am

With all the terrible things PG&E is doing - its continued interference in politics in favor of raising its rates and against public power, its attempt to keep operating the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant on top of an active fault line - it's depressing that this ridiculous distraction about smart meters is taking up so much of people's time.

Posted by voyou on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 10:53 am

PG&E is using these 'smart' meters as a key tool in its moves to do the things you write about. For example, if the meters block solar it will have more of a justification to perpetuate nuclear and gas.

PG&E doesn't do stuff like this by accident. It is quite important to stop it from putting in these meters.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 11:57 am

You bunch of pantie wastes who complain about technology need to pack up and join the Amish. You whiners are the same ones who's parents still have bomb shelters in their back yards. You panic at anything to do with advanced change. Let me guess, you all still walk up into a bank just to feel right about depositing or moving money too, huh? Get over it and move on, we're in a new an exciting world and technology is our future. Any technology to allow us to get instant information is golden. So the next time you use your remote to change the TV that's only 5 feet in front of you, listen to your baby monitor, warm your cold ass under that electric blanket or use that wireless phone, think of all the EMF you are surrounding yourself daily. And to think some moron thinks a SmartMeter could have caused the San Bruno explosion. Must have missed that on the National Enquirer behind the breaking story about the "Alien who looks like Elvis and lands in Vegas to headline at Bally's to a sold out show"! Oh, and by the way - go look at your SF water meter. It's probably already or will be a SmartMeter soon ;)

Posted by Guest GR on Apr. 04, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

Here are some of the things the smart meters can tell PG&E, advertisers, your health insurance company, law enforcement, and hackers, about you and your lifestyle:

Every appliance you have (each has a unique electrical signature) and every time you turn each of them on or off. "She sure spends a lot of time blogging!" "Oh look, he just started vacuuming!"

The hours you keep. What time of day is best to burglarize your house or smash down your door to arrest you. Whether you're a nonconformist who keeps weird hours.

"She started using her computer a lot, late at night, after such-and-such issue was in the news, hmmm.....!" Your internet provider already has this and much more, but now PG&E can get in on the fun.

How many people are in your home. Is your landlord interested in whether your sweetheart has become in effect another tenant?

When you're on vacation. That's just bursting with possibilities including planting surveillance devices in your home, and having enough time to do a nice neat installation that you can't find.

If you get up in the middle of the night, for example to go to the bathroom. Your health insurance company wants to know all about that so they can find excuses to deny you coverage.

If you're growing pot. Those grow-lights also have a unique electrical signature when they cycle on and off, that can be read, and can rat you out. PG&E can run software looking at all of its customers for this signature. Pilot technology of this type was reported in use in the early 1980s, but it required special installation on the power pole in the street. Today, it's coming to your house whether you like it or not.

If you get in late at night. Your health insurance company also wants to know if you stay out late drinking or otherwise partying.

And if you think this is bad, just wait until "internet-ready appliances" are common.

The military has a term for this kind of thing: ELINT, for "electronic intelligence," as distinct from SIGINT which is the monitoring of communications.

"He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!"

Posted by Guest on Apr. 13, 2011 @ 6:16 am

Also from this author

  • Canine conflict

    Proposal to restrict off-leash dogs on federal parklands has owners howling and environmentalists cheering

  • HOC farmers market bans live chicken sales

  • Last stand against Lennar

    Final lawsuit challenging Hunters Point redevelopment project awaits a judge's ruling