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SmartMeter opponents stage San Rafael protest amid revelations PG&E monitored Marin critics on Internet
By Richard Halstead
Marin Independent Journal
Posted: 12/14/2010 06:11:01 PM PST
Opponents of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s SmartMeters staged a protest Tuesday that prompted the utility to temporarily shut down its downtown San Rafael office.
About 20 protesters gathered in front of PG&E’s office at 750 Lindaro St. about 11:40 a.m. after attending a Marin County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, where they implored supervisors to adopt a countywide moratorium on SmartMeter installation.
PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said managers closed the office “because the protest had moved into the lobby of the office, and it was difficult for us to conduct business.” The office was closed for about two hours.
The protest came as internal PG&E documents turned over to state regulators Monday revealed that a PG&E executive who used a fake name to monitor SmartMeter opponents did not act alone, as PG&E representatives had maintained. The hundreds of pages of e-mails released by PG&E showed that William Devereaux, the former senior director of PG&E’s SmartMeter program, widely shared the information he gathered with other PG&E employees.
…PG&E spokesman David Eisenhauer said the opponents’ names were released “because those names were on publicly accessible websites.”
Maurer, however, said, “These are not public groups. You have to sign up for these groups. PG&E had no right to do that.”
Mary Beth Brangan of Bolinas is one of the names that appears in the e-mails released by PG&E. Brangan participated in two demonstrations aimed at blocking trucks that deliver SmartMeters from leaving their home base in Rohnert Park. Brangan said the documents released by PG&E show that company employees referred to her and others participating in the protests as “insurgents.”
“I find it amazing that they are calling us insurgent,” said Brangan, 63. “We’re customers, ratepayers, citizens, grandmothers, mothers concerned about health, and they’re calling us insurgents.”