Digest of the Past Week’s Stories
The Middle East and Madison, Wisconsin are not the only places democratic push-back is taking place. The epicenter of public opposition to the fiat installation of wireless ‘smart’ meters is Northern California. [ Scroll down for videos ]
[ Photo credit: James Heddle/EON ]
Smart meters face critics on left, right
Felicity Barringer / New York Times
Inverness Park, Calif. —Pacific Gas and Electric’s campaign to introduce wireless smart meters in Northern California is facing fierce opposition from an eclectic mix of tea party conservatives and left-leaning individualists who say the meters threaten their liberties and their health.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, “Stop Smart Meters” signs and bumper stickers have been multiplying on front lawns and cars. Four protesters have been arrested for blocking trucks seeking to deliver the meters.
Since 2006, PG&E has installed more than 7 million of the devices, which transmit real-time data on customers’ use of electricity….
“It’s not all about saving money — it’s about control,” said Deborah Tavares, 61, a Republican who was arrested this month with other protesters who blocked the driveway of the dispatch center for meter installation trucks in Rohnert Park.
Her words echoed those of a staunch Democrat who was arrested in nearby Marin County.
“It’s another example of corporate control if they are going to roll over our concerns and not listen to us,” said Katharina Sandizell, 41, who helped block installation trucks in Inverness Park, a hamlet in the environmentally sensitive precincts of Marin County.
Intrepid protesters Sudi and November tracked down Obama in Woodside
KTVU-TV Channel 2 video
Woman Buys $4K Ad To Protest PG&E SmartMeters KSBW-TV Channel 8 video
Nina Beety purchased a $4,000 ad in an effort to get PG&E’s SmartMeters banned.
Man Refuses Smart Meter Installation
A Sacramento area man refuses to let PG&E install a Smart Meter on his house. PG&E changes its tune and says if you absolutely refuse a SmartMeter, your power will not be shut off.
How big business subverts democracy
New leaks from Anonymous hackers show how far corporate America will go to smear critics of the Chamber of Commerce
Just a couple of years ago, most people had no idea what the Chamber of Commerce did. Aren’t they mom and pop’s small-business lobby in Washington? Now, thanks in large part to the work of Chamber opponents, we’ve come to learn that the biggest business lobby in the world is also one of the biggest impediments to real democracy in the US, and that they’re a huge force in opposing healthcare reform, employee free choice and other labour legislation, veterans’ rights, banking regulations and, of course, transparency.
The US Chamber of Commerce is the public face of a corporatism that is hijacking our democracy – and so dramatically limits any chances of meaningful reform.
From Wireless Radiation Alert Network
KION/FOX TV News did a side-by-side test of new WIRELESS SMART METER vs original ANALOG METER.
I am copying below the math from a comment already placed under the article that clearly does the math to extend the three-month difference to one year and sum over PG&E’s 10 million or so customers (involuntary rate-payers).
(Does anyone know how many customers PG&E actually has? Is it really 10 million?)
$430 MILLION EXTRA FOR PG$E (paid by you and I).
$10.76 more for PG$E WIRELESS smart meters in 3 months = $43.04 more per year.
PG&E has about 10 million customers. That computes to $430,400,000 (over $430 million extra for PG$E each year).
Nancy Evans writes: Exponent is the science-for-hire consulting firm hired by PG&E to investigate the fires caused by powerline failures and other accidents and to dispute health effects of EMF/RF.
Company pays government to challenge pesticide research showing link to Parkinson’s
By Sheila Kaplan Friday, February 11th, 2011
In an unusual scenario that raises questions of conflict of interest, a company that conducts research on behalf of the pesticide industry has paid a U.S. government agency to help prove some controversial chemicals are safe.
The company, Exponent Inc., based in Menlo Park, Calif., is known for its scientific research on behalf of corporate clients facing product liability concerns. In this case, Exponent is trying to refute research showing that even a small amount of combined exposure to two agricultural chemicals, maneb, a fungicide, and paraquat, an herbicide, can raise the risk of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the central nervous system.
Revealed: how energy firms spy on environmental activists
Leaked documents show how three large British companies have been
paying private security firm to monitor activists
* Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
* guardian.co.uk, Monday 14 February 2011 21.00 GMT
Three large energy companies have been carrying out covert intelligence-gathering operations on environmental activists, the
Guardian can reveal.
The energy giant E.ON, Britain’s second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK’s largest electricity-generators, have been paying for the services of a private security firm that has been secretly monitoring activists.
Leaked documents show how the security firm’s owner, Rebecca Todd, tipped off company executives about environmentalists’ plans after snooping on their emails. She is also shown instructing an agent to attend campaign meetings and coaching him on how to ingratiate himself with activists. The disclosures come as police chiefs, on the defensive over damaging revelations of undercover police officers in
the protest movement, privately claim that there are more corporate spies in protest groups than undercover police officers.
Senior police officers complain that spies hired by commercial firms are – unlike their own agents – barely regulated.
The hottest trends in technology also represent some of the gravest threats to corporate data security.
Mobile devices, social networking and cloud computing are opening up new avenues for both cyber criminals and competitors to access critical business information, according to speakers at this week’s RSA Conference 2011 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center and a survey set for release this morning.
Thanks to Glen Chase:
1. Here is an article which explains the difference between a Smart Meter which collects information for the UTILITY COMPANY and an ENERGY MONITOR which gives the customer Real Time information on electricity usage.
PG&E Wireless smart meters do NOT give real time info, so they are near worthless for customers regarding improving their energy usage.
Energy Monitors cost from about $40 to over $100 depending on features, etc.
PG$E Wireless smart meters cost near $300 and they don’t have the basic feature required for Real Time monitoring of energy use.
Smart meters and energy monitors
Smart meters provide energy companies with an accurate meter reading – however, at their simplest level they do not provide any information to the consumer about energy use, cost, or how to reduce energy consumption. For that you need a corresponding energy monitor, which let you track how much energy you’re using in real-time.
Our energy monitor review reveals four Best Buy models, and has tips on how to get the most from your energy monitor.
2. At this link, (the energy monitor review) you can see a variety of Energy Monitors and their prices (note prices are in English Pounds).
LED products billed as eco-friendly contain toxic metals, study findsUniversity of California – Irvine (2011, February 11).
ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2011) — Those light-emitting diodes marketed as safe, environmentally preferable alternatives to traditional lightbulbs actually contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially hazardous substances, according to newly published research.
“LEDs are touted as the next generation of lighting. But as we try to find better products that do not deplete energy resources or contribute to global warming, we have to be vigilant about the toxicity hazards of those marketed as replacements,” said Oladele Ogunseitan, chair of UC Irvine’s Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention.
He and fellow scientists at UCI and UC Davis crunched, leached and measured the tiny, multicolored lightbulbs sold in Christmas strands; red, yellow and green traffic lights; and automobile headlights and brake lights.
Their findings? Low-intensity red lights contained up to eight times the amount of lead allowed under California law, but in general, high-intensity, brighter bulbs had more contaminants than lower ones. White bulbs contained the least lead, but had high levels of nickel.