PG&E on hot seat in Fairfax
Utility says folks have their wires crossed over SmartMeter concerns…
by Ronnie Cohen
Fairfax wants to be known as the little town that stood up to the giant utility.
Residents and officials of this environmentally conscious community appear united against Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s plans to save energy by replacing analog gas and electric meters with digital so-called SmartMeters. After the Town Council called for a one-year moratorium on the installation of the wireless meters in Fairfax, citizens and council members spent two hours last week voicing questions and concerns about how the devices could invade their privacy and harm their health….
Cartoon by Brian Narelle
…Sarah Reilly, a 40-year-old nutritionist, could be the poster child for a growing chorus of people who report electrical hypersensitivity and are leading the charge against SmartMeters. She said she began to suffer from headaches and could feel herself burning after sleeping with her head next to an electrical meter and near a transformer in her parents’ home in a Las Vegas neighborhood [R1]awash in cell-phone towers. Two years ago, Reilly said she chose to move to Fairfax in large part because of its designation as a pesticide-free and cell-phone-tower-free zone.
And, like the estimated 45 people who turned out for last week’s meeting, she intends to keep SmartMeters and the electromagnetic radiation they emit out of her town of 7,500.
“This community is not saturated in electro-smog,” said Reilly, a healthy-looking woman who feels sick if she as much as watches television or listens to a radio.
“Stop installing the meters until a proper health report is performed,” she told two PG&E representatives. The two men sat alone at a table facing a podium from which citizens shot questions and a steady stream of complaints and anger. “These signals may be invisible, but they have impact.”
Mary Beth Brangan called the installation of SmartMeters a “toxic trespass,” predicted PG&E would sell the information it gathers from the devices to third parties and government agencies and wondered if residents could opt out of allowing their personal information to be sold.
Councilmember Larry Bragman, a lawyer, said PG&E would have “unprecedented” access to mine data it gleaned from SmartMeters. “What about our rights to privacy?” he asked.
“What’s going to happen with all the data that’s collected? Every time it’s been collected, it’s been abused,” Bragman said, and the audience applauded.
The Public Utilities Commission has given PG&E permission to install SmartMeters throughout the state. The utility touts the wireless meters—which eliminate the need for human meter readers—as the first step in creating a smart and energy-efficient grid. The new meters allow individuals and businesses to measure their own energy consumption in real time, potentially leading to reduced usage during peak hours.
But Fairfax residents and officials questioned whether installing the wireless devices at a ratepayer-funded cost of $2.2 billion would prove economical from an energy or financial perspective.
“I haven’t seen any evidence of reduced electric use,” Councilmember Pam Hartwell-Herrero said. “Let’s look at how much bang for your buck you’re getting. My understanding is you get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck with insulation.”
The Fairfax Town Council will hear PG&E’s answers to questions about SmartMeters on Sept. 29 from 7pm until 9pm in the Women’s Club, 46 Park Road, Fairfax.
Contact Ronnie Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org [R1]
FCC FREES UP VACANT TV AIRWAVES FOR “SUPER WI-FI” TECHNOLOGIES For full report and statements
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
September 23, 2010 Bruce Romano, 202-418-2124
Washington, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to free up vacant airwaves between TV channels — called “white spaces” — to unleash a host of new technologies, such as “super Wi-Fi,” and myriad other diverse applications. This is the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use in more than 20 years.
TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally suited for mobile wireless devices. Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation. The National Broadband Plan noted the importance of unlicensed spectrum in creating opportunities for new technologies to blossom and recommended that the Commission complete the TV white spaces proceeding as expeditiously as possible.
The Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second MO&O) adopted today resolves numerous legal and technical issues. Notably, the Order eliminates the requirement that TV bands devices that incorporate geo-location and database access must also include sensing technology to detect the signals of TV stations and low-power auxiliary service stations (wireless microphones). It also requires wireless microphone users who seek to register in the TV bands databases to certify that they will use all available channels from 7 through 51 prior to requesting registration. Requests to register in the database will be public, thus allowing interested parties to weigh in on any given request.
The Commission is also taking steps to ensure that incumbent services are protected from interference from the use of white spaces in various ways. In particular, today’s Order reserves two vacant UHF channels for wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary service devices in all areas of the country. It also maintains a reasonable separation distance between TV White Space device and wireless microphone usage permitted to be registered in the database
Action by the Commission September 23, 2010, by Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 10-174). Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn, and Baker. Separate Statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker.
For further information, contact Hugh L. Van Tuyl (202-418-7506; Hugh.VanTuyl@fcc.gov), or Alan Stillwell (202-418-2470; Alan.Stillwell@fcc.gov).
Is White Space Super Wifi Dangerous?
Sept 24. If you think the electrosmog from cell towers is bad in some cities, you should be very concerned about White Spaces. In this article, I will try to give you a heads up to what is about to happen to our airwaves and it causes me extreme concern.
When the FCC and the CRTC decided to licence the radio spectrum frequencies for cell phone transmission towers, large telecom providers such as Sprint, Bell and Rogers paid billions of dollars to these licensing organizations so they could put up cell phone towers just about anywhere in the country.
On September 23, a day that I predict will go down in infamy, the FCC agreed to open up a large band of now unused TV spectrum for digital data communications for Super WiFi. It’s called White Space TV BAND spectrum, it’s free and mostly unregulated. Many years ago the FCC forced the TV broadcasters to simultaneously transmit digital TV signals over the air and discontinue the use of their traditional analogue broadcast frequencies and towers. (Channels 2-69). The TV broadcasters fought to keep control of this analogue spectrum so they could continue to broadcast to people that had TV aerials and older TVs not capable of receiving digital TV signals. They worried about interference from future White Space devices.
Currently the available “White Spaces “ frequencies are widely scattered in the radio spectrum because they’re located in the empty space between existing digital television channels. Adding to the complexity, white space devices such as Super WiFI transmission towers won’t be allowed to interfere with television broadcasts or other licensed uses. The result could be that such Super WiFI devices are limited by their geography.
Why should we be worried?
Instead of analogue frequencies that are used for television in the 54-698 MHz range, these White Spaces will now use PULSED DIGITAL waveforms which are extremely biologically active to the human body. WiFi currently uses the higher 2.4 gigahertz frequencies that cannot penetrate thick concrete at long distances and thus you get a slow speed connection resembling dial up. By using the lower TV frequency spectrum (54-698) MHz as a carrier wave, the PULSED DIGITAL WiFi signal will now be able to penetrate obstructions such as buildings over great distances and deliver high speed broadband data rates. Lower frequencies can penetrate better and travel further but they are much more dangerous to the human body.
And remember – this is a two way street. Unlike television you are just receiving the signal from a distance source. If you are mobile, using a Super WiFi USB stick, the radio transmitter will be right beside you pumping PULSED DIGIAL into and through your body. The current USB “Rocket Mobile” sticks use traditional cell phone frequencies that are licensed. Some “Rocket Sticks” can be highly dangerous when transmitting data and have been recalled by Industry Canada for broadcasting over Safety Code 6! And Safety Code 6 is not considered to be safe by many doctors, scientists and health officials.
smart-meter plan halted
Westerville Mayor Kathy Cocuzzi knew something was wrong when residents went up to her and whispered, “I support the meters,” as though afraid to say it in public.
Residents have been divided over a proposal to upgrade the city’s utility meters and, last night, a City Council meeting was packed with people waiting to speak about the issue.
In response, the council decided to kill the proposal to upgrade and, instead, slowly figure out a compromise.
It means that Westerville essentially has turned down a $4.32 million federal grant toward a $7 million project to update utility meters. The council said the city eventually will have to upgrade the meters anyway, but now will pay the entire bill.
Smart meters have technology to remotely monitor and control utility usage, and they’ve been catching on across the country as a way for cities and individuals to reduce energy and water consumption.
Wifi in Schools and the Dangers of non-ionizing radiation
The fact that scientists remain opposed to a scientific consensus is not a reason to distrust the consensus – if this were true, the presence of a single reputable climate denier in the peer reviewed literature would be a reason to refrain from belief in global warming. However, there are two reasons why the wifi case is different from climate denial. First: the precautionary principle runs in the opposite direction – whereas a slight doubt that human Co2 output will threaten the survival of the species is not a good reason to take action to stop Co2 emissions, a significant doubt that wifi causes health problems in children is not a good reason to take cheap and easy action to limit children’s exposure to wifi. Second, there is a structural bias behind Health Canada’s appraisal of the research into the effects of small levels of microwave radiation. This surprising claim comes from a study by Leo P. Inglis,surveyed here by Magda Havas, surveying the literature on microwave radiation’s health effects:
“In the U.S., the thermal effects are generally believed to be the only ones of significance; other contentions are usually dismissed as lacking a provable basis. In the USSR, non-thermal effects are considered the most significant and are overwhelmingly the ones most studied.”
This indicates a structural difference between scientific assumptions in US and USSR have swayed the directions of research, determined which studies got funding, what students took interest in, etc… This claim undercuts Health Canada’s statements which concern only the thermal effects of microwave radiation – if non thermal effects exist, Health Canada is not even looking for them.
Please distribute and share Dr. Horst Eger and Dr. Manfred Jahn’s English-language translation of their peer-reviewed study, “Spezifische Symptome und Mobilfunkstrahlung in Selbitz (Bayern) – Evidenz für eine Dosiswirkungsbeziehung,” originally published in umwelt·medizin·gesellschaft, Feb. 2010: 130-139.
The study shows a significantly increased health risk in the vicinity of cell phone base stations and underscores the inadequacy of the currently accepted exposure limits. Discussion includes references to several past studies since the 1960s that supports their findings.
“Specific Health Symptoms and Cell Phone Radiation in Selbitz (Bavaria, Germany)—Evidence of a Dose-Response Relationship” is now available to view/download here.
Thanks to this new English translation, this study can reach an even wider audience.
Special thanks to: Dr. Horst Eger and Dr. Manfred Jahn and the publisher for making this English translation possible; Ms. Katharina Gustavs for her English translation; Nancy Evans for recommending Katharina Gustavs translate this important study. The publishers affirm that this study has been peer-reviewed by their scientific board.
Ms. Kiku Lani Iwata
Burbank ACTION, California