Monthly Archives: November 2010

Greenwash Coolaid – E-smog is good for the planet; technocracy is democracy – Digest

This detail of an IBM ad on the back cover of the current issue of National Geographic touting ‘eMeters’ as an essential component of a ‘smarter planet’ represents a ‘visualization of the data from an eMeter’s readings for an average home for one year.’ It fails to ‘visualize’ the EMF radiation to which people inside the home are exposed for that same period.

Understanding the Smart Meter Backlash
By Jonathan Hiskes – Mother Jones
[ Be sure to read and respond appropriately to this shameful, shoddy piece of industry bootlicking that would make the real Mother Jones retch. Eds. ]

SmartMeter protesters block trucks in Rohnert Park
Published: Monday, November 22, 2010 at 5:09 p.m.
Several people Monday morning protested outside of the office of an energy company in Rohnert Park, hired by PG&E to install new utility meters in Sonoma County.
Late Monday morning Rohnert Park police were called because six protesters were blocking the entrance to the business, said Lt. Jeff Taylor.
“We responded and told them to not block the driveway. They cooperated and left…” Taylor wrote in an email.
The protesters were members of the EMF Safety Network, a Sebastopol-based group protesting the new meters.
They gathered outside an office of Wellington Energy Inc. at about 7 a.m. on State Farm Drive.
“Our message to them is this has to stop. We’re protecting our health and our privacy rights,” said Deborah Tavares of Sebastopol.

PUC consumer division urges more study on SmartMeters

Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 6:13 p.m.
Activists who want the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate health concerns raised about PG&E’s SmartMeters received support this week from the commission’s own consumer advocacy division.

PG&E’s Smart Meter Program Takes More Hits
Peter Asmus — November 24, 2010
“Interestingly enough, a day later after the CPUC’s DRA announced its investigation, PG&E offered the possibility of offering customers alternatives to the smart meters, a sign that the utility is now recognizing the toll of the campaign organized by the anti-smart meter crowd.”

“The actions by the CPUC, which has been a trend setter for more than three decades, could encourage a domino effect throughout the U.S.”
My blog published on November 11th (“PG&E Blows it Again”) highlighted the embarrassing resignation of Pacific Gas & Electric’s manager of its SmartMeter program after it was revealed that he was eavesdropping on the online networking of grassroots activists that have been blockading the installation of smart grid infrastructure in northern California. Turns out, this was just a harbinger of things to come.

PG&E is now facing further challenges on the smart grid front, this time from state regulators. In response, the beleaguered utility now appears to be backing off on requiring mandatory installation of its smart meter technology, though the details surrounding any alternatives may not be clear until early next year.

On November 18th, the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) called for an investigation into alleged public health hazards with PG&E’s smart meters. “Unless the public’s concerns can be put to rest, there is a very great risk that PG&E’s SmartMeter deployment will turn out to be a $2.2 billion mistake that ratepayers can ill afford,” reads the announcement. Ironically enough, this was the same day that a high profile event in San Francisco – home to PG&E’s corporate headquarters – brought together leading scientists from around the world to highlight the latest research on the public health impacts of various wireless technologies — including smart meters.

PG&E Blows it Again
Peter Asmus — November 12, 2010
For a utility often seen as one of the most progressive in the U.S., Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has just endured another embarrassing black eye with its beleaguered smart grid rollout. The company won kudos from national environmental groups when it played a key role in passing the nation’s strongest climate legislation back in 2006, but the company’s allies among environmental and ratepayer groups has now sunk to an all-time low.

Where I live in Marin County, just 45 minutes away from PG&E’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco, the grassroots opposition to smart meters had led to recent protests and an online bulletin board chronicling all of the alleged dangers linked to smart meters. From corporate conspiracy theories to concerns about public health linked to the radiation associated with wireless signals, being for the “smart grid” has suddenly become totally uncool.

The resistance to PG&E has become so dramatic that roughly two dozen local government bodies in Central and Northern California have now launched similar protests, going so far as to set up blockades of installation vehicles in an effort to halt smart meter rollouts.

While the merits of the objections to smart meters may seem far-fetched, PG&E has not done itself any favors. First, there was its support of Proposition 16 on the past June ballot, which was designed to thwart a local clean energy program here in Marin County authorized by state legislation the utility once supported, albeit tepidly. The company wanted to pass a state constitutional amendment to limit local governments from entering power markets, and after investing more than $30 million, lost.

Then there was the San Bruno gas line explosion last September, which made national headlines and which revealed that the utility’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure was inherently unsound – with primitive leak detection systems in place that lagged behind its other California utility counterparts. Four people were killed, including an employee of the California Public Utility Commission (and her 13-year old daughter), and 50 other people are injured.

And now, William Devereaux, senior director of PG&E’s $2.2 million SmartMeter program has resigned after it was discovered that he used the alias “Ralph” while eavesdropping on online discussions taking place between the anti-smart meter crowd. In a bone-head move, Devereaux forgot to remove his real name at the bottom of his email messages signed “Ralph.”

Movement Grows for Halt of Full Body Airport Scanners
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a leading privacy group, has asked a federal appeals court to suspend the U.S. government’s program of introducing full-body imaging machines at airports.

According to the group, the imaging machines constitute a suspicionless search of all airport travelers in an extremely invasive way — so invasive that it violates the reasonable standard contained in the Fourth Amendment.

Wired reports:

“The constitutional challenge aside, EPIC also charges that the Department of Homeland Security, in rolling out the devices, violated a host of bureaucratic policies requiring public review, including the Administrative Procedures Act. What’s more, the group claims the machines, among other things, violate the federal Video Voyeurism Prevent Act, which protects against capturing improper images that violate one’s privacy.”

Further, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) sent a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology in April warning of potential health risks — including skin cancer — from the scanners, which distribute a dose of radiation to the skin and underlying tissue….

Who Stands to Gain Financially from Full-Body Scanners?
As in so many other instances, our legal and civil rights system is being willfully manipulated and trampled for the sake of private and corporate profits.
In this case, the former homeland security chief and co-author of the PATRIOT act, Michael Chertoff, is now the primary promoter of full-body scanners, and is a paid consultant for the companies that sell them!
As Dr. Orient said in her AAPS article:
“… if your doctor had an ownership interest in the scanner, he might go to federal prison for referring you for a scan. These anti-kickback laws, however, do not apply to the influential government cronies who stand to make a fortune from the scanners.”
It’s just the latest in a very long line of blatant conflicts of interest and corporate agendas that have, and continue to, erode our personal freedoms in the name of “security.”
…As for the humiliation factor that these enhanced TSA security checks present, I would encourage you to contact your local government officials and state representatives, or join the “We Won’t Fly” campaign.

The campaign site also lists 24 additional ways you can make your voice heard on this issue.

Stop flying until the federal gangsters get a clue

WELLINGTON WATCH – SMeterMan Flees Bolinas

Like the West Marin County, California communities of Stinson Beach and Point Reyes Station (and growing numbers of communities around the state and the nation), the people of Bolinas are protesting and resisting PG&E’s technocratic totalitarian plan to install wireless ‘smart’ meters whether ratepayers and property owners want them or not.
This despite conclusive, peer-reviewed scientific evidence that long-term exposure to low-level wireless radiation causes such adverse human health effects as sleep disorders, irritability, short term memory loss, headaches, anxiety, nausea, un-reparable DNA damage, cancer, premature aging, Alzheimers, and heart palpitations, among many others.
Here is what happened when the EON video team tracked down a Wellington ‘smart’ meter contract installer at work in Bolinas.
When confronted, he fled…apparently on company orders.
Why not try a little video-the-SMeterMan resistance in your town. Send it to us. We’ll post it.
Like the Borg, PG&E would like us to believe that ‘Resistance is Futile.’ But we know from experience that Resistance is Fertile!
For more info:
Please remember, your bite-size contributions are what help keep us going.


EMF Exposure Sufferers Tell Their Stories

In this press conference, Josh Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters, introduces three people from various walks of life who have become electro-sensitive by being exposed to radiation from wireless technology. Their moving stories indicate the dangers to public health and safety of the unregulated, untested deployment of electro-magnetic technologies like PG&E’s so-called ‘smart’ meters.
For more info:

Please remember, your bite-size contributions are what help keep us going.

PG&E Blinks on 'No-Opt Out' – SMeter Deployment Ramps Up Fast

PG&E considers SmartMeter compromise
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is considering options for customers who fear that the utility’s new, wireless SmartMeters jeopardize their health, although company representatives won’t say what those might be.

“We want those customers to understand that we take their concerns seriously,” said PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith. “We’re still in a preliminary stage of review, including weighing the costs of any options. We will make this information public in the coming months as we develop it.”
EON photo by J. Heddle

Peter Darbee, CEO of PG&E Corp., acknowledges a ‘year of challenge’
By Dana Hull and Steve Johnson
Mercury News
Dubbing 2010 “a year of setbacks” for PG&E, CEO Peter Darbee on Thursday conceded that his company has misjudged its customers on multiple occasions, but insisted that its response to the San Bruno pipeline explosion shows it is learning.
“The lessons of SmartMeters and Prop. 16 is that we need to further enhance our understanding of the customer,” Darbee said in an interview with the Mercury News. Over the past year, Pacific Gas & Electric has drawn sharp criticism for its dismissive response to concerns about its new electronic meters, and for its heavy-handed effort to block competition from municipal utilities with its failed June ballot measure….
The backlash against SmartMeters began with Central Valley customers who worried that the meters caused a spike in their electric bills. An independent investigation found the meters to be 99 percent accurate. Since then, a small but vocal number of consumers in Marin, Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties and elsewhere have been speaking out about possible health effects. Some are convinced the meters are making them ill, while others fear they will increase the likelihood of brain cancer.
Darbee stressed that a SmartMeter emits a fraction of the radiation of a cell phone but said PG&E was looking for some way to address those concerns.
“The (radio frequency) emissions from one of our meters is less than one-ten-thousandth of what you get from a cell phone,” said Darbee, whose background is in telecommunications. “But there are people that have been concerned throughout their life about RF exposure, people who live their lives consumed with concerns about RF, and so in light of that, we’re asking ourselves, ‘Is there a way to find a compromise solution that they can live with and we can live with?’ ”

He declined to elaborate on what that might be….

Smart meter deployment on the increase in the US
Smart meters are continuing to gain traction in the US, with more than 90 utilities planning to install a total of 57.9 devices, according to the latest figures.

A study being carried out by Pike Research said smart electric meters – that use two-way communications networks to enable frequent readings of electricity consumption – are at the forefront of the utility world’s transition to a smarter electrical grid.

Jevan Fox, research analyst, says, ‘Smart meter installations have grown by leaps and bounds in 2010.’

Jevan said while he estimates that about 21 million smart meters will be installed in the US by the end of the year, utilities have already planned for many more as deployment programmes continue to gain momentum over the next few years.

According to Pike, Switzerland-based meter manufacturer Landis+Gyr is the market leader when it comes to utility vendor selections. The research shows this accounted for 26 per cent of total endpoints as of the end of the third-quarter.

It said during the past year, Landis+Gyr surpassed Itron as the largest smart meter supplier to utilities in the US, as Itron now holds a 24 per cent market share.

Other major players include Sensus with a 21 per cent share of the market, GE Energy with 20 per cent and Elster with five per cent of the market.

Despite Hurdles, Smart Meters Still Ramping Up Fast
By Jeff St. John at Earth2Tech
Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:11pm EST
Despite some setbacks, the U.S. smart meter push is continuing at a stimulus-fueled pace. Pike Research reported Monday that more than 90 U.S. utilities have 57.9 million smart meters planned and on the way.
That’s 7.9 million more than the combined 16 million meters installed and 34 million meters under contract that eMeter’s Chris King counted up in a blog post last month. It seems like the checks from the DOE’s stimulus program are finally reaching utilities.
The $3.4 billion in smart grid investment grants were expected to pay for about 18 million smart meters over the next three years, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the DOE grants were responsible for about 2 million installed meters as of September.
The Pike figure suggests the consumer backlash that has cropped up in certain areas over smart meters — California and Texas power customers have sued over alleged overcharging by their smart meters — isn’t making much of a dent in utility deployments. Regulators in Maryland, Hawaii, Michigan, Indiana and Colorado have asked utilities to shoulder more of the costs of deployment and put less burden on customers’ rates, but haven’t largely put utility installation plans on hold.
While the consumer smart meter backlash probably won’t be going away any time soon, the smart grid industry will be heartened to learn that meter ramp-up stats are on track and higher than expected.
As for the global smart meter picture, Pike predicts a $3.9 billion industry by 2015, with 250 million meters installed. Canada has tens of millions of meters being deployed, Europe has many tens of millions more due by the end of the decade under government mandates (pdf), and Asia — particularly China — is playing an increasingly important role.
Five big companies — Elster, Landis+Gyr, Itron, Sensus and General Electric — dominate the smart meter market in North America and Europe, though Echelon and others are making inr0ads into the business. But smart meter communications and networking are increasingly being handled by startups like Silver Spring Networks, Trilliant and SmartSynch, and back-end management, billing and customer support functions are being tackled by startups including eMeter and Ecologic Analytics.

Alleged 'Smart' Meter Compliance with FCC Exposure Limits Challenged


Sublamentary information on alleged ‘smart’ meter compliance with existing FCC exposure limits submitted 11-22-2010 by Sandi Maurer, EMF Safety Network.

Excerpt: Download the full PDF document here.
“The FCC Grants of Equipment Authorization for Smart Meters warn that RF
exposure compliance depends on specific conditions.1 The FCC requirements,
according to Grant of Equipment Authorization notes, include one or more of the
following conditions, depending on the specific make and model of Smart Meter. As
Network reads FCC compliance conditions, it appears that PG&E is in violation of one
or more of the following conditions:
• limited single module approval requires professional installation;
• antenna(s) must provide a separation distance of at least 20 cm from all persons;
• antenna(s) must not be co-located or operating in conjunction with any other
antenna or transmitter;
• end-users and installers must be provided with antenna installation and
transmitter operating conditions for satisfying RF exposure compliance.”

Download the full PDF document here.