Opt-Out Proceeding Phase 2 Begins – Pre-Hearing Conference

Presiding CPUC Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa is flanked by (left) Carol Brown, President Peevey's Chief of Staff, and Marzia Zafar, Manager of the CPUC Business and Community Outreach Group


Community-Wide Opt-Out and Costs at Issue This Round
Phase 2 of the CPUC’s ‘Smart Meter’ Opt-Out Proceeding got underway Wednesday, May 16, as Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa presided cordially over the pre-hearing conference of utility and intervening parties’ representatives. Originally limited to the PG&E service area, the proceeding has now been consolidated to include Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric as well – a victory of sorts for advocates of a ‘wired’ approach to energy grid design which some are calling the ‘Wise Grid’ option.

Full disclosure – EON continues to be an official ‘intervening party’ in Phase 2 of the Proceeding along with the EMFSafety Network, Aglet, Alameda County Residents Against Smart Meters, Wilner Associates, the County of Marin, the City of Fairfax, the Alliance for Human and Environmental Health and the Southern California-based Center for ElectroSmog Protection and others.

From the two-hour discussion it was clear that PG&E will be focused on getting the cost issue settled ASAP, while Southern California Edison wants more time to analyze the cost data, and the interveners will be advocating for (a) defining ‘community-wide opt-out’ to include multiple dwelling units as well as municipal and county jurisdictions (of which over 50 have acted in favor of the concept); and (b) making sure that the scope of Phase 2 includes consideration of the main reasons that masses of ratepayers and citizens are demanding an opt-out in the first place – namely, the widely documented safety, privacy, hackability, national security, human health and environmental risks posed by wireless grid designs for energy, gas and water systems.

Interveners in the Proceeding listen to PG&E lawyer Chris Warner. From left: David Wilner, Wilner Associates; Sandi Maurer, EMFSafety Network: James Weil, Aglet; James Toben, County of Marin; Mary Beth Brangan, EON; Martin Homec, Center for ElectroSmog Protection.

Scoping for a Wise, Wired Grid
Judge Yip-Kikugawa will shortly rule on the scope of Phase 2. Advocates of the wireless ‘smart grid’ concept and advocates of the wired ‘wise grid’ design seem to agree on the goal of meeting the challenges of our era through informed consumer choice, energy conservation, efficiency and modernized grid design. Let us hope Her Honor will find a way of bringing these two potentially compatible constituencies together inside an adequate scopt to agree on a united, rational, science-based approach.

The following clips are unedited, interrupted only by a tape change.

‘Smart Meter’ Opt-Out Proceeding – Phase 2, Pt. 1

‘Smart Meter’ Opt-Out Proceeding – Phase 2, Pt. 2

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