New 'Opt-Out' Ruling, SMeter Health Risk Reports

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A sign posted by protestors outside PG&E's San Francisco headquarters.

Protests Continue as CPUC Tries to Ignore ‘Smart’ Meter Public Health Threats

In this edition, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine adopts a resolution calling for a halt to wireless smart meters and sends a message to the California Public Utilities Commission, as Commissioner Peevey issues a revised proposed ‘smart’ meter opt-out policy.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle criticizes Peevey for his close ties to the industry he’s supposed to regulate. Magda Havas looks at the folly of wireless in schools. Two articles show why the ill-conceived plan for a wireless ‘smart’ grid is the New Stupid.

American Academy of Environmental Medicine
6505 E Central • Ste 296 • Wichita, KS 67206 Tel: (316) 684-5500 • Fax: (316) 684-5709

Decision Proposed Decision of Commissioner Peevey (Mailed 1/22/2012) BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, On the proposed decision 11-03-014

Dear Commissioners:

The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless “smart meters” in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature (references available on request).  Chronic exposure to wireless radio-frequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.

As representatives of physician specialists in the field of environmental medicine, we have an obligation to urge precaution when sufficient scientific and medical evidence suggests health risks which can potentially affect large populations. The literature raises serious concern regarding the levels of radio frequency (RF – 3 KHz – 300 GHz) or extremely low frequency (ELF – o- 300 Hz) exposures produced by “smart meters” to warrant an immediate and complete moratorium on their use and deployment until further study can be performed. The board of the American Board of Environmental Medicine wishes to point out that existing FCC guidelines for RF safety that have been used to justify installation of “smart meters” only look at thermal tissue damage and are obsolete, since many modern studies show metabolic and genomic damage from RF and ELF exposures below the level of intensity which heats tissues. The FCC guidelines are therefore inadequate for use in establishing public health standards. More modern literature shows medically and biologically significant effects of RF and ELF at lower energy densities. These effects accumulate over time, which is an important consideration given the chronic nature of exposure from “smart meters”. The current medical literature raises credible questions about genetic and cellular effects, hormonal effects, male fertility, blood/brain barrier damage and increased risk of certain types of cancers from RF or ELF levels similar to those emitted from “smart meters”. Children are placed at particular risk for altered brain development, and impaired learning and behavior. Further EMF/RF adds synergistic effects to the damage observed from a range of toxic chemicals. Given the widespread, chronic and essentially inescapable ELF/RF exposure of everyone living near a “smart meter”, the Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine finds it unacceptable from a public health standpoint to implement this technology until these serious medical concerns are resolved. We consider a moratorium on installation of wireless “smart meters” to be an issue of the highest importance.

The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine also wishes to note that the US NIEHS National Toxicology Program in 1999 cited radiofrequency radiation as a potential carcinogen. Existing safety limits for pulsed RF were termed “not protective of public health” by the Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group (a federal interagency working group including the FDA, FCC, OSHA, the EPA and others). Emissions given off by “smart meters” have been classified by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Possible Human Carcinogen.

Hence, we call for:

• An immediate moratorium on “smart meter” installation until these serious public health issues are resolved. Continuing with their installation would be extremely irresponsible.

• Modify the revised proposed decision to include hearings on health impact in the second proceedings, along with cost evaluation and community wide opt-out.

• Provide immediate relief to those requesting it and restore the analog meters.
[ Download PDF here. ]

California Public Utilities Commission president, Michael Peevey, at his San Francisco, Ca. office on Tuesday Jan, 25, 2011. Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle

(Mailed 11/22/2011)



[ The initial fee has been reduced from $90 to $75. Other fees are the same. ]

1.  Summary
This decision modifies Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E)
SmartMeter Program to include an option for residential customers who do not
wish to have a wireless SmartMeter installed at their location.  The opt-out
option shall be an analog electric and/or gas meter.

This new opt-out option is a service that we are adopting with this
decision.  This opt-out option is a service because the standard for metering has
been transitioned throughout the country and for the most part the world from
the older technology, analog meters, to today’s technology, SmartMeters.  In this
decision we are not reversing that transition, however, we do approve an option
for those customers who, for whatever reason, would prefer an analog meter.

This option to move away from the standard will require PG&E to incur costs
such as purchasing a new meter, going back to the customer location to install
and service the meter, and monthly cost of reading the meter.  These are some of
the examples of the additional costs required to opt-out of the standard wireless
SmartMeters.  As a result, this decision further finds that customers electing the
opt-option shall be responsible for costs associated with providing the option.
Issues concerning the actual costs associated with offering the analog opt-out
option and whether some portion of these costs should also be allocated to all
ratepayers or PG&E shareholders will be addressed in a separate phase of this

To allow residential customers to begin selecting the opt-out option
immediately, this decision adopts interim fees and charges, which will be subject
to adjustment upon conclusion of the second phase of this proceeding.  A
Non-CARE customer electing the opt-out option shall be assessed an initial fee of
$75.00 and a monthly charge of $10.00.  A CARE customer electing the opt-
out option shall be assessed an initial fee of $10.00 and a monthly charge of $5.00.

This decision also authorizes PG&E to establish new two-way electric and
gas Modified SmartMeter Memorandum Accounts to track revenues and costs
associated with providing the opt-out option until a final decision on recoverable
costs and cost allocation is adopted.

This decision further directs PG&E to file a Tier 1 Advice Letter
implementing the opt-out option and to establish a SmartMeter Opt-Out Tariff
within 15 days of the effective date of this decision.  Finally, the September 21,
2011 Assigned Commissioner’s Ruling directing PG&E to establish a delay list
shall no longer be in effect and all customers currently on the delay list shall be
transitioned to a wireless SmartMeter unless they elect to participate in the opt-
out option.  This proceeding remains open to address cost issues associated with
the opt-out option.

[ Download PDF of full statement here.]

Michael Peevey wrong person to rule on PG&E case SF Chron Editorial

Our first reaction to learning that state Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey had appointed himself the duty of deciding whether Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should be fined for the 2010 San Bruno disaster was: He can’t be serious. It would be hard to think of a less suitable overseer than the man who presided over years of well-documented coziness between utility and regulator.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the gas-pipeline explosion in which eight people died and 38 homes were destroyed was highly critical of the commission’s oversight of PG&E during Peevey’s tenure.

Peevey obviously does not see the inherent conflict in appointing himself as the arbiter of how much, if anything, the utility should be fined for a succession of violations of state and federal safety regulations in connection with San Bruno.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to express her opposition to Peevey’s self-appointment. She suggested that Commissioner Mike Florio – a consumer advocate who was not on the PUC in the years leading to the explosion – would be “the right choice” for the job. She urged the governor to intercede and replace Peevey with Florio. Read more.

Dr. Magda Havas: WiFi in Schools is Safe. True or False?
Is Wi-Fi in schools safe? Find out by watching this video. Learn how the Wi-Fi routers used in schools differ from those in homes; learn about studies that have documented the adverse effects of this radiation on rats, blood cells, the heart, cancer; learn about alternatives to wireless routers that are cost effective, energy efficient and that don’t emit microwave radiation.

‘Smart meters’ may soon be outdated
Instead of broadband, utilities opt for cheaper, lower-speed connections.

By David Lazarus – LA Times April 20, 2008 [ Still relevant to breaking developments ]
California’s three biggest utilities are charging customers nearly $4.6 billion to install millions of “smart meters” at homes and businesses. These newfangled meters, the utilities promise, will revolutionize energy usage by giving consumers far greater control over how much they pay for power.

Unfortunately, the meters could be outdated before they’re even operational.

Instead of installing meters capable of receiving high-speed broadband Internet signals, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric have opted for cheaper, lower-speed connections.

Yet the utilities are also laying the groundwork for advanced “smart grid” networks that will use broadband technology for managing power supplies and distribution.

The upshot: smart grids and smart meters that, in essence, won’t speak the same language.

“Relative to the meters you have now, the new ones are pretty smart,” said Kurt Yeager, executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative, a nonprofit group focused on improving the national power infrastructure. “Relative to the meters they should be installing, they’re pretty stupid.”

The utilities insist that lower-speed meters will function fine with a high-speed grid, and that ratepayers shouldn’t be concerned about being sold a pig in a poke. Read more.

The problems with Smart Grids
by B. Blake Levitt and Chellis Glendinning [Updated]

How is it that so many intelligent, inside-the-beltway environmentalists are buying into an eco-health-safety-finance debacle with the potential to increase energy consumption, endanger the environment, harm public health, diminish privacy, make the national utility grid more insecure, cause job losses, and make energy markets more speculative?

Answer: by not doing their homework.

Welcome to the Smart Grid — a government-funded money machine capable of intruding into every aspect of our lives. Smart Grid technologies — initially funded to the tune of $3.4 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and slated to cost $11 billion through 2011 — are enough to make even die-hard liberals demand a claw back of misspent tax dollars.

On the surface, Smart Grids sound ‘green’ — with promises of saving energy, creating new power-line corridors run on wind and solar, way-stations to power-up electric vehicles, energy-efficient upgrades to an aging power infrastructure, and real-time customer knowledge of electricity use.

And there’s the enticing communications factor: a nationwide high-speed broadband information technology barreling down high-tension electric corridors called Broadband-Over-Power-Lines (BPL). What could be more perfect for communicating facts about the planet, funding enviro-candidates, pushing legislation, and organizing Earth Days?

But few who actually study how these new systems function want anything to do with them. Other than those who stand to make enormous profits and the physicists or engineers who dream up such stuff, Smart Grids are giving knowledgeable people the willies.

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