Monthly Archives: January 2015

Departing CPUC President’s Toxic ‘Smart Meter’ Legacy

Sandi Maurer of EMF Safety Network addresses a people's press conference on the CPUC's 'smart meter' opt-out decision, MC-ed by EON's Mary Beth Brangan, Dec. 18, 2014. EON photo

Technocratic Tyranny and Corruption Trump Democratic Choice

His supporters say he’s right up there with Muhammad Ali & the Pope.
Victims of his ‘smart meter’ opt-out decision want him in jail.

By James Heddle
EON – The Ecological Options Network

Merry Christmas…You, the People!
The December 18, 2014 going-away party ending Michael Peevey’s 12-year tenure as President of the California Public Utilities Commission was quite a show. A parade of over 30 of his closest, most sycophantic friends had signed up to begin the routine ‘public comment period’ by giving lengthy speeches celebrating Peevey’s alleged accomplishments and virtues.

One former fellow Commissioner, in the sermonic tones of a revivalist preacher, compared him to Muhammed Ali and the Pope.

Peveey’s daughter had hired a videographer to make a record of the celebration that she planned give her father for a Christmas present. Her camera got an exclusive down-in-front position. The rest of the camera people were confined to the back of the room.

No Time Limit on Adulation
Up on the dais, presiding President Peevey appeared humbly unmoved by the encomiums being showered upon him by the adoring courtiers thus assembled. But it was noticed by those of us who had attempted to present testimonies in many previous public comment periods that the President did not impose on his friends the same 1-3 minute time limits we were used to his rigidly enforcing on us.

To be voted on by the Commissioners that day was a decision as to whether people could opt-out of having wireless, electro-magnetic pulse-emitting so-called ‘smart meters’ installed on their homes. The mass, forced installation of such meters had been Peevey’s Pet Project for years. It was billed as the infrastructure to enable creation of a wireless ‘smart energy grid,’ which was being sold by corporations world-wide as ‘a solution to climate change.’ In practice, the scheme is turning out to be a total crock. (To find out why, go to ) All this risk yet studies by various attorneys general, including Illinois and the auditor-general of Ontario, Canada’s legislature, have shown these meters result in little to no energy savings and no benefits to ratepayers. Instead, rates have gone up.

The super-hubristic, techno-utopian (money-making) vision calls for a global ‘Internet Of Things (IOT)’ – a whole new generation of wireless, ‘smart’ appliances (that everyone will have to buy) in constant mutual communication. Not only will you be able to talk to your air conditioner or your refrigerator from the road on your cell phone, but they will talk back to you, relaying commands for minute-to-minute energy consumption limits from your local Big ‘Green’ Brother utility.

In the process, you and your family members and your neighborhood and the rest of the world’s population would be bathed 24/7 in a constant shower of electro-magnetic pollution inimical to human health and happiness.

These guys are really crazy.

Josh Hart of speaks at the people's press conference on the CPUC's 'smart meter' opt-out decision, Dec. 18, 2014. EON photo

West Marin – a Cradle of the ‘Smart’ Meter ‘Insurrection’
Public opposition to the forced ‘smart meter’ build-out began in Sonoma and Marin Counties and spread. EON is proud to have organized the first public meeting on the issue at the Pt. Reyes Dance Palace. West Marin communities fought for and got an installation moratorium. West Marin residents, to the delight of national media, were famously arrested for blocking installation trucks. Stop the ‘smart meters’ is now a national and international movement.

But on Dec. 18th, the Commission was poised to give Peevey another Christmas-cum-going-away present better than his daughter’s video. They were apparently going to make Peevey’s Pet Project a fixture of post-Peevey California life.
According to the proposed decision: Individual home residents would be allowed to opt-out for an initial fee and on-going monthly payments that would terminate after three years. But residents of clustered housing units, private businesses and the elected governments of community municipalities would not be permitted to opt-out. Peevey’s rules.

Playing in a Rigged Game – ‘Exhausting our remedies.’
The CPUC’s decision-making process, called a ‘proceeding,’ had stretched, with many delays and bureaucratic convolutions, over more than three years.

As official ‘intervenors’ in that Proceeding, our organization, EON, the Ecological Options Network, had worked with other intervenor groups like the EMF Safety Network in an attempt to defend the general public’s interest vis a vis the profit-driven interests of investor owned utilities (aptly called IOU’s for short) like PG&E and Southern California Edison (SCE).

Our involvement had been an eye-opening one. We slowly came to realize that we were playing in a rigged game – one in which cozy cronyism and corrupt collusion between Commissioners and their staff with IOU executives against the public interest was – and continues to be – the norm .

We were labeled ‘insurgents’. We were infiltrated and spied upon by PG&E agents using assumed names. The IOU was eventually fined for its spying activities, but the paltry amount went to the state general fund, not to the targeted, victimized groups, i.e., we ‘insurgents.’ In a technocracy, dissent is treason.

Steve Zeltzer of the Labor Project tells President Peevey he should be in jail in this frame from the CPUC's in-house video. Mr. Peevey urged Zeltzer to 'be more polite.'

Key Issues Ignored
None of the valid issues repeatedly raised by us intervenors in the Proceeding – well-documented damaging human health effects, fire safety, violations of privacy and informed democratic choice, cyber-hackability and energy grid security – were ever considered. They were constantly promised to be taken up later, but never were.

Meanwhile, PG&E was slapped with over 30 Federal indictments for its negligence and corruption in the San Bruno gas explosion disaster . A follow-up investigation turned up a trove of e-mails documenting corrupt, lovy-dovy collusion between utility executives and Commissioners and staff…including Peevey. Business as usual at the good ol’ PUC.

The opt-out decision violated a number of points of law, which will be contested both in the CPUC process, and in the courts, as we intervenors ‘exhaust our remedies’ by continuing to protest in the flawed CPUC Proceeding process, thus maintaining our legal ‘standing’ as aggrieved parties entitled to eventually ‘sue the bastards. ‘

Protestors hold signs with the names of 'smart meter' health victims in this frame from the CPUC's in-house video.

The Opt-Out Decision = Extortion
Pay us and we won’t break your kneecaps. Pay us and we won’t install an electro-toxic devise on your home. Mafia goons, or CPUC technocrats, a shakedown is a shakedown, is a shakedown.

In practice, the decision means that the few individual residents that can afford to pay to keep their non-wireless, analogue meters will be lonely islands in a sea of electromagnetic radiation emitted by their neighbors’ wireless meters all communicating wirelessly with each other 24/7/365.

Local elected authorities will be blocked from exercising their statutory mandate to protect the health, safety, privacy and security of their constituents. The increasing numbers of ‘electro-sensitive’ people being made sick and driven from their homes and work places by the growing ‘soup’ of electro-magnetic pollution will have no place to run to.

So, under a toxic cloud of corruption, celebrated by sycophants and cronies, Michael Peevey bowed out in a synthetic cloud of glory. But not before opponents of the ‘smart meter’ opt-out movement had our say.

We held a press conference on the CPUC steps before the meeting. After the orchestrated love fest in the ‘public comment’ period, protestors insisted on reading the names and quoting the testimonies of the many victims of wireless ‘smart meter’ health effects who have been forced to become EMF refugees. The demonstrators called for Peevey’s criminal prosecution. They promised to continue their legal battles and public information campaigns.

After reluctantly listening, the unelected Commissioners broke for lunch – which Peevey insisted was their ‘right’ – then unanimously approved Peevey’s Pet Project.

‘We have not yet begun to fight!’
That’s not the end of the story. As informed public opposition to ‘smart meters’ continues to grow nation- and, indeed, world-wide, and as the claimed selling points for the SM built-out continue to be proven egregiously false, our fight to reverse the CPUC’s ill-considered decision will continue and eventually prevail. Meanwhile, ‘smart meter’ installer trucks will be invading West Marin and other communities soon and coming to a house near you…maybe your own. Find out how to opt-out, get informed on this important issue, share information with your neighbors, and join our movement.
Help roll back the roll-out.

For more information:

James Heddle co-directs EON – the Ecological Options Network