Everything You Wanted to Know About a CPUC Cover-Up

Editor’s Note:
This chart above and text below are from attorneys Mike Aguirre and Mia Severson,
who’re representing low income ratepayers against Southern CA Edison’s
plan to demand $5 Billion from their customers for
their stupid mistakes with San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The CPUC colluded with Southern California Edison (SCE) in this. This case has much of the same
pattern as with the CPUC and ‘smart’ meters, as well as with PG&E and Diablo
Canyon, the remaining nuclear power plant in CA – our own potential Fukushima.
Mary Beth Brangan

What Is A Cover-Up
A cover-up is an attempt to conceal evidence of wrongdoing. In a passive cover-up information is simply not provided; in an active cover-up deception is used.

The expression is usually applied to people in positions of authority who abuse their power to deflect guilt of wrongdoing. Those who initiate a cover up (or their allies) may be responsible for a crime.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, cover-up involves withholding incriminatory evidence, while whitewash involves releasing misleading evidence. https://self.gutenberg.org/articles/cover-up

Are Those Listed Above Engaged in a $5.2 Million cover-up of an unlawful scheme to Make Edison customers to pay $5B for closed San Onofre plant? Are they getting help from the Governor’s office? Who is Nancy McFadden?

Who is Nancy McFadden?
Nancy McFadden was the Senior Vice President and Senior Advisor to the Chairman and CEO of PG&E Corporation, and before that was the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. She received $1 million from PG&E before joining Brown’s staff. She now serves as the Executive Secretary to California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. [ see: Indispensable insider looks out for Gov. Jerry Brown’s interests – “Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief aide was Susan Kennedy, so influential that many viewed her as the de facto governor. Nobody says that about McFadden, a lawyer who is more broker than coach for a governor with decades of policy experience.” ]

Nancy McFadden is the longest-serving loyalist in Brown's inner circle. Photo:Robert Durell LA Times

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Peevey's (ex parte) Party Protested – "The CPUC is now a rogue agency."

“The CPUC is now a rogue agency. All the checks and balances that existed at the CPUC have been corrupted. Peevey led that corruption.” Loretta Lynch, former CPUC Commission President

Protestors Denounce Swanky Hanky Panky in SF

On February 12, 2015, summoned by gold-embossed invitations, members of the ruling energy elite gathered in the glittering splendor of the Julia Morgan Ballroom – one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s posh venues – to honor one of their own and show their solidarity with him in his current travails.

That would be Michael Peevey (left), who recently stepped down from the Presidency of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) after a 12-year reign amid a barrage of investigations and revelations about backroom dealing between him, his colleagues and staff, and the utility officials they were supposed to be regulating.

At the time of the gala in the grandeur of the JMB, Peevey’s home had been recently raided by state and Federal law enforcement agents intent on seizing evidence for their ongoing investigations. A trove of 65,000 e-mails just released by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) detailing the interactions of utility and Commission personnel was already revealing alarming, plot-thickening evidence.

At issue were so-called ex parte communications between utility executives and CPUC officials conducted in private out of public view and process. Such interactions are supposed to be reported in writing to the CPUC proceeding participants, as “ex-parte” meetings. Apparently, under Peevey, there were a lot that were not.

The ornate Julia Morgan Ballroom was the venue for $250-a-plate Peevey gala with proceeds going to the UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Business.

Peevey Ex Parte Party Poopers
So, not everyone at the entrance to the JMB that night was there to celebrate Mr. Peevey’s legacy. Slightly outnumbering the team of security men were protesters holding a news conference at the door as the celebrants entered. (Full disclosure, EON both documented and participated. Scroll down for video reports and media links).

MC-ing the conference, covered by media from radio, print and TV, was Ray Lutz of the San Diego-based CitizensOversight.org, who had set up a podium and sound system and articulated his many concerns with the way Peevey’s PUC did business.

EON photo

“CPUC now a rogue agency” – Former CPUC President Joins Protestors, Speaks Out

Most prominent among the speakers was former CPUC President, Loretta Lynch, Peevey’s predecessor, who minced no words in denouncing the corporate capture of the CPUC under Peevey and labeling the evening’s gala as “one big ex parte meeting” behind closed doors.

For a former Commission President to show up and speak out publicly on behalf of rate-payers at the event underlined the seriousness of the current CPUC situation and the urgent need for focused public attention and action.

EON photo

Citing the progressive purposes that led almost a century ago to the founding of the CPUC by then Gov. Hiram Johnson in response to public outrage at the corporate crimes of the time, former CPUC President Lynch called for today’s Californians to rise up and demand substantive reforms in the now-compromised and discredited Commission, whose mandate is protection of the public good, not corporate profits. See her recent Chronicle Op-Ed piece : Guidelines for the post-Peevey era of the CPUC

EON photo

Who Pays for the ‘Smart Meter’ Fiasco?
Mary Beth Brangan of EON, an official intervenor at the CPUC on behalf of the public’s interests in the ‘smart meter’ forced deployment controversy, is part of a coalition of citizen groups which oppose that deployment as a threat to human health and safety, privacy, grid security and democratic choice. Over 57 cities, counties and one tribe joined in various forms of opposition to the forced installation of ‘smart’ meters. That strong coalition was infiltrated, spied on and labeled ‘insurgents’ by PG&E management.

The CPUC, now revealed by the released emails to have been part of that behind-the-scenes blocking of action to remedy the extremely real ratepayer concerns and injuries, ordered a charade of an investigation, and PG&E was ultimately forced to pay a small fine to the state’s general fund. The CPUC hid its complicity at the time but that is now being thoroughly revealed through the released emails.

EON joins many others in saying the patterns of practice revealed by the e-mail record and the cloud of corruption surrounding Peevey’s departure from the Commission throw the legitimacy and legality of all the proceedings and decisions made under his administration into doubt.

EON has filed for a rehearing of the recent CPUC ‘smart’ meter opt-out decision which forces customers to pay an extortionate fee not to have electro-toxic, privacy-violating wireless transmitters attached to their residences. Furthermore we believe the current decision is unjust and illegal in its attempts to strip municipal and county elected officials of their constitutionally mandated power and responsibilities to protect the safety and privacy of their constituents. It actually asserts that utilities’ rights trump locally elected officials in regard to municipal franchise agreements that are used to regulate utilities’ activities in local jurisdictions.

At the press conference, Brangan pointed out the parallel methods used by the CPUC in both the San Onofre proceeding to determine who pays for So Cal Edison’s costly mistakes and mismanagement and the ‘smart’ meter proceeding that determined who should bear the cost of opting out of harmful and dangerous ‘smart’ meters. She emphasized the need for true regulator protection for ratepayers against the powerful utilities.

EON photo

Who Pays for San Onofre?
San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre and his law partner Maria Severson added their pressure and litigation to that of the city of San Bruno’s that led to the revealing release of the 65,000 e-mails. Aguirre and Severson recently published a report detailing their findings of “Malfeasance and Institutional Corruption at the California Public Utilities Commission.” [ pdf here ] ( Scroll down for our interviews with Severson and Aguirre )

Aguirre called for an investigation into why the CPUC under Peevey ruled that ratepayers must pay $3.5 billion for electricity they will never get from Southern California Edison’s San Onofre nuclear power plant, which has been permanently shut down because of faulty and illegal decisions made by the utility’s management.

However, even though San Onofte nuclear reactors are shut down, the plant must continue to store thousands of metric tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste, currently stored in thin steel containers that the NRC says may crack from the marine environment. [ For more information on this vital issue – how to manage hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive waste that is deadly for longer than human civilization has yet existed, now kept on-site at over 100 nuclear plants around the country with no ecologically safe facilities to go to – visit Donna Gilmore’s excellent website: SanOnofreSafety.org ]

EON photo

Who Will Defend Diablo Whistleblowers?
Steve Zeltzer of the Labor Project called for protection of whistleblowing workers. He pointed out that both PG&E and Southern California Edison fired and retaliated against workers who tried to address serious safety issues. If workers concerned about what they see endangering the public can’t speak out and get results, we all suffer. The real results are the deaths, injuries and devastation in San Bruno, as well as the San Onofre radiation leaks and thousands of injuries and many fires from ‘smart’ meters.

He demanded that not only CPUC officials but colluding PG&E and So Cal Edison executives be indicted and prosecuted for their criminal acts that resulted in deaths and injuries and the highest electricity rates in the country.

Video Reports and Media Links are below:

Protesting Peevey’s (ex parte) Party
On February 12, 2015, dozens of the closest elite friends of out-going CPUC President Michael Peevey’s paid $250 per plate to gather at the posh Julia Morgan Ballroom in downtown San Francisco in celebration of Mr. Peevey’s ‘lifetime accomplishments.’

Greeting them at the door were protestors – including Loretta Lynch, his predecessor as Commission President. They came not to celebrate, but to condemn and expose the culture of corruption Peevey’s 12 year reign has left behind.

Speakers include former California Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch; Ray Lutz of CitizenOversight.org; EON’s Mary Beth Brangan; Steve Zeltzer of the Labor Video Project; and San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre.

Viewer Embed Code:

From CBS Channel 5:
San Francisco Dinner Honoring Ex-CPUC Exec Accused Of Shady Dealings Met With Protests

From NBC – Jul 31, 2013
Flown, Wined and Dined on Lobbyists’ Dimes?
CPUC president accepted $165,000 in free travel from nonprofits and special interests in past six years

EON Skype Interview
Busting CPUC Backroom Deals – Maria Severson
In this Skype interview, San Diego attorney Maria Severson talks about the implications of revelations from PG&E’s trove of 65,000 e-mail exchanges between its executives and California Public Utilities Commission officials, including former CPUC President Peevey.

(We regret that the audio and video quality in this interview conducted via Skype is not up to our usual standards. But we believe the content is important to make public.)

EON Video
Who Pays for San Onofre? – Mike Aguirre
Attorney Mike Aguirre and his law partner Maria Severson are at the center of the emerging revelations about CPUC officials’ too cozy relationships with the officials of the utilities they are supposed to regulate. In this May 2014 interview Aguirre explains the key issues in this now-expanding case. He tells how his attempts to question then CPUC President Peevey provoked an outburst that may have marked the beginning of Peevey’s current troubles.

Related Media Links

UT-San Diego
Flawed San Onofre project steamed on
$680 million replacement generators were not subject to formal cost study
By Jeff McDonald9:03 a.m.Feb. 14, 2015Updated4:18 p.m.

…It was a bombshell disclosure by any measure: the top utility regulator in California sketching out a multibillion-dollar deal with the senior Edison lawyer in secret at a luxury hotel in Warsaw, Poland…. Pickett, whose house is walking distance from Peevey’s home in the La Canada Flintridge section of Los Angeles, jotted down the potential points of agreement, which Peevey kept.

Regulator let PG&E investigate itself after San Bruno blast
By Jaxon Van Derbeken
Updated 7:42 pm, Saturday, February 21, 2015

San Francisco Dinner Honoring Ex-CPUC Exec Accused Of Shady Dealings Met With Protests

UT-San Diego
Senator blasts Cal over Peevey party
The school will receive proceeds from celebration of outgoing utilities chief
By Jeff McDonald4:22 p.m.Feb. 12, 2015

Dan Walters Daily: Michael Peevey tribute is improper
Published on Feb 10, 2015
Despite revelations of questionable professional conduct, California’s political elite will gather this week to honor former Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, Dan says. (February 11, 2015)

Protesters try to spoil swanky party for ex-CPUC head
By J.K. Dineen
Updated 8:47 am, Friday, February 13, 2015

CPUC Publishes 65,000 Emails Between Regulators and PG&E

San Jose Mercury
San Bruno disaster: PG&E releases 65,000 emails to PUC
By George Avalos and Pete Carey – Staff writers

LA Times
65,000 PUC-PG&E emails released amid state and federal probes

Contra Costa Times
PG&E wields “pervasive” influence at PUC, now described as a “rogue agency”
By George Avalos and Josh Richman – Staff writers

LA Times
New PUC chief Michael Picker vows openness, focus on safety

SFBG This Week
The secret life of Michael Peevey
California’s top energy regulator rolls with power company executives behind the scenes
05.24.11 – 3:25 pm | Rebecca Bowe |

SFBG This Week
The secret life of Michael Peevey – Page 3

The Secret Life of Michael Peevey
TURN objects to fox guarding the hen house. CPUC President Peevey is too cozy with the utility companies he regulates.

Teams of researchers are indexing, archiving and examining the recently released trove of 120,000+ PG&E/CPUC e-mail exchanges. Attorneys are pressing for release of more e-mail exchanges with Southern California Edison (SCE). Watch this space for reporting on more revelations as they emerge.


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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 GettingSmarterAboutTheSmartGrid.org ) 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 StopSmartMeters.org 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 EON3.net

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Taking back our power!

Marin County Sheriff's Deputies arrest Katharina Sandizell-Smith (left) and Kristin McCrory (right) for blocking 'smart' meter installation trucks in Inverness Park, California, Wednesday, December 29, 2010. Photo: Courtesy of Scotts Valley Neighbors Against Smart Meters

The CPUC’s Flawed ‘Smart Meter’ Ruling will not stop the Drive for Community Wide, No Cost Opt-Outs.

By Mary Beth Brangan

[ A shorter version of this article appears in the Pt. Reyes Light here. ]

Public Resistance to Wireless Pollution
Almost exactly four years ago, June McCrory and Katharina Sandizell-Smith, two young West Marin mothers, made national news by blocking the Inverness road to ‘smart’ meter installers and becoming among the first in the U.S. to be arrested over the meters. Their arrests shocked many in the industry into realizing that all was not well with their plans.

After an unprecedented multi year delay, a final decision on this contentious issue will be voted on by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Dec. 18, 2014.

Those of us in West Marin and Fairfax became leaders in the fight against forced installation of so-called ‘smart’ meters. We joined leaders in Sebastopol and Scotts Valley and then beyond in vociferously resisting because of health, safety, security and privacy concerns which we testified about at Marin city council meetings.

Fairfax City Council’s resolution asserting the right of communities to opt out helped kick off what eventually became 57 cities, counties and one tribe to officially object. Many called for moratoriums on installation; over a dozen made installation illegal.

Beginning early in 2010, we brought our concerns about so-called ‘smart’ meters to the attention of folks here in West Marin at a packed meeting at the Dance Palace.

PG&E Agents Lied and Spied, Labeled Us ‘Insurgents’
Our Marin County based online group, SmartWarriorMarin, initially the most active, was infiltrated by PG&E workers using false names. Later, when PG&E’s ‘smart’ meter project director, William Devereaux, tried to infiltrate the EMFSafety Coalition’s online group with a false name, Ralph, he neglected to remove his real name from his email and was recognized. Shortly thereafter, PG&E released hundreds of emails to the media that it had purloined from our group strategy discussions. In e-mail exchanges between executives, opponents of ‘smart’ meters were referred to as ‘insurgents.’ Subsequently the CPUC ordered an investigation into the PG&E spying and PG&E was eventually forced to pay a $390,000 fine to the CA general fund as well as to institute a code of ethics for similar online situations.

We had wondered when we organized to be at the Santa Rosa truck yard at 7:30 am one chilly morning in 2010 to block the ‘smart’ meter installation trucks, how the trucks had completely vanished! The company had gotten the message from our email discussion and had moved them before we came.

Massive Public Testimony
For years, hundreds of people spoke out at the bi-weekly CPUC business meetings in San Francisco. PG&E and CPUC President Michael Peevey were getting nervous. People related similar heart-wrenching stories of being totally physically devastated by the effects of the ‘smart’ meter’s incessant pulsing microwaves. Many people close to banks of multiple meters in apartment buildings or condominiums, were especially injured. Finally after sitting through many hundreds of such testimonies, President Peevey declared that an opt out would be offered and established an official CPUC proceeding to work out the details.

Playing in a Rigged Game
After producing dozens of videos, writing articles, researching and writing blogs, organizing events and giving presentations, chasing installer trucks out of Bolinas and blocking trucks with friends in Stinson Beach, testifying at and videotaping CPUC meetings, my partner and EON co-director, Jim and I became legal intervenors on behalf of the public at the CPUC proceeding. We argued for community wide opt out as well as for no cost opt out. After all, we never opted in – why should we be forced to pay to not have something? Doesn’t being forced to pay to not be harmed constitute extortion?

Once the official proceeding began, those of us who were now embroiled in the Byzantine CPUC rules no longer showed up at the regular business meetings and the hubbub somewhat quieted. Peevey boasted at a CPUC meeting that he was praised “by the Whitehouse” for effectively dealing with the activists. (Federal stimulus funds were behind the rollout.) It was true, the furor died down, with the energy being dissipated by legal maneuvers.

Nevertheless, we all continued on.

We here in Marin, together with our colleagues in Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, gathered the critical information damning the ‘smart’ meter technology and set a tone that has reverberated throughout the world. Pushback against microwave emitting meters is now happening everywhere throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe.

Medical, Cyber-Security and Safety Warnings Ignored
After repeated thorough investigations, our fears about the techno plan were validated again and again. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research, IARC, concluded that microwaves in the frequencies used by wireless devices, including ‘smart’ meters, are a class 2 B , possible carcinogen, as is asbestos, arsenic and benzene. (If the peer-reviewed studies that weren’t allowed to be considered by IARC had been included, many independent scientists believe that microwave frequencies should be classified as a class 1 A carcinogen.) Can you think of another instance where it is legal to force a class 2 B carcinogen device onto your home?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine issued a letter directly to the CPUC calling for an immediate moratorium on installation of the meters, citing many peer-reviewed studies showing biological effects from pulsing microwave frequencies.

Security experts constantly warn of dramatically increased vulnerability to the electrical grid by cyber attacks because of wireless ‘smart’ meters. James Woolsey, former head of the CIA has said that the wireless ‘smart’ meter technologies make the grid stupid.

Thousands of fires have been reported and at least one California and one Nevada death caused by the meter fires. These have been dealt with by utility out of court settlements with gag orders. Canadian Saskatchewan utility CEO Robert Watson resigned in disgrace because of having to recall all meters due to a rash of fires. Plus now utilities are profiting from selling individual ratepayers’ private data gathered by meters.

All this risk and 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.

Since the meters continuously bounce thousands of powerful microwave emissions between neighboring meters 24/7, (signals can travel 1 mile) an individual opt out doesn’t remove the harmful emissions. Multiple banks of meters on apartments and condominiums produce really lethal amounts of radiation; therefore, community wide opt out is the only solution.

Though stating in the ‘smart’ grid proceeding that health issues would be addressed in the opt-out proceeding, Peevey and the CPUC Judge did not allow any health information to be submitted at all. They then claimed that since we had not presented any convincing data they determined there were no health effects!

Peevey says, “Community-wide opt-outs are ‘undemocratic!’”
Unfortunately, at the Dec. 4 CPUC meeting, the Commissioners discussed the proposed decisions and decided against allowing communities to opt out and to require those refusing a ‘smart’ meter to pay for the privilege of not having one. Mr. Peevey actually ridiculed as ‘undemocratic’ communities that voted for community wide opt out.

Though it will still be possible to opt out, you will have to pay a $75 fee upfront and then $10 extra per month; low income CARE ratepayers pay $10 upfront and $5 per month, pricing it out of range for many poor people.

Come and Express Your Outrage…
We encourage everyone outraged at this injustice and willful ignoring of people pleading on behalf of their health, safety, security and privacy to be at the December 18 meeting to demand community opt out and no fees. 8:30 AM, California Public Utilities Commission, Van Ness at McAllister, San Francisco.

We may have lost this round, but this patently illegal affront to people’s right to health and safety and to the right of elected officials of cities and counties to protect their constituents, will be challenged in court. [ Download a PDF copy of this article here. ]


Mary Beth Brangan and Jim Heddle are Co-Directors of EON, the Ecological Options Network. They are award-winning film-makers of Public Exposure: DNA, Democracy and the Wireless Revolution and many other social & environmental issue documentaries produced in the last two decades which have been broadcast and toured nationally and internationally; aired in Congress, the United Nations, on PBS, ABC, CNN, cable; and used in parliaments, universities, libraries and by citizens’ organizations and NGO’s worldwide. Residents of Bolinas, they organize, educate and produce media supporting people confronting current survival challenges. www.eon3.net; YouTube.com/eon3; EON3emfblog.net


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Let’s tell the CPUC: “ It’s not ‘smart’ to defy the will of the people.”

What the CPUC's Opt-Out Decision Ignores. Cartoon: J Heddle - EON

By James Heddle

Not Listening
Four years of informed, angry, pleading public testimony on a virtually bi-weekly basis telling them of the personal health, public safety, privacy violation and national cyber- and energy-security threats posed by the forced saturation deployment of wireless so-called ‘smart’ meters failed to persuade the five unelected, political appointees that perch on the dais at the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC).

None of these urgent public health, safety, privacy, and security concerns have been considered in the Commission ‘Proceeding’ dealing with the question of whether-or-not individuals, apartment complexes, communities and municipalities could choose to ‘opt-out’ of the coordinated government/industry wireless ‘smart’ meter roll-out push being simultaneously implemented in many countries around the world.

On Thursday, Dec. 18th, the Commissioners are expected to vote for a decision stunningly symptomatic of the current state of democratic public process in America: Screw the Public Will. Discounting all legitimate public concerns, the ruling will allow individual households to ‘opt-out’ for an initial penalty fee and an extortionate monthly payment.

But no collective opt-outs will be allowed – meaning all neighborhoods will be drenched 24/7 in inescapable electro-magnetic soup. No place to hide.

So much for democratic process and ‘consumer choice.’ So much for health, safety, privacy and security.

Down from Davos
The whole corporately-driven wireless ‘smart’ meter roll-out craze on the part of gas, power and water utilities world-wide can be traced back to the government-corporate conclave known as the World Economic Forum which meets annually in the swank Swiss resort town of Davos.

Conceived in the conference rooms, cocktail lounges and dining halls of snowy Davos and codified into technical papers, budget spread sheets, strategic planning documents and public relations scenarios by corporate and government staffers, the scheme was sold to gullible officials and publics as a necessary response to climate change.

The global ‘smart’ meter roll-out – just a step toward the ultimately envisioned ‘internet of things’ in which a whole new generation of ‘smart’ wireless appliances from juicers to air conditioners to vibrators will communicate with each other in a kind of automated global brain – would give consumers more awareness of and control over their energy usage and allow the integration of ‘intermittent’ renewable energy sources like wind and solar into the national energy grid. That’s how the sales-pitch went. None if it has proven true.

But Obama Administration bought the hype, drank the ‘smart grid’ cool aid and shoveled billions of big federal bucks into the pipeline to support it.

Here in California, CPUC President Michael Peevey slurped the smart meter cool aid and made it his business to impose ‘smart meter madness’ on the entire population of California.

That’s how it comes to pass that next Thurs. – as Mike Peevey ends his CPUC career and rides off under a lowering cloud of corruption investigations – the Commission will mark his passing by voting into place his legacy – an essentially criminal act which will put at risk the health, privacy, safety and security of the state’s entire population. Hellofa job, Mike!

Please join many other outraged ratepayers and public citizens at the CPUC 8:30 AM, next Thursday 505 Van Ness Avenue and let the Commissioners know that this illegitimate decision defying the public will cannot stand. It is the end of a flawed CPUC Proceeding, but only the beginning of public opposition that will ultimately roll back what will come to be seen as one of the most harebrained and disastrous technocratic decisions in the history of California. [ Download PDF version here. ]

James Heddle co-directs EON – The Ecological Options Network. EON has been an official intervenor in the CPUC Opt-Out Proceeding. Eon3EMFblog.net On FaceBook: EON – the Ecological Options Network On Twitter: EonNewsNet

For more: EMFsafetyNetwork.org StopSmartMeters.org

If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

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What do we want? WISE GRID! When do we want it? NOW!

Not very 'smart.' The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proposed decision on 'Smart' Meter Opt-Outs will be voted on Dec. 18, 2014. It ignores vital issues and defies the public will. Cartoon by James Heddle

What we want:
• Informed democratic choice, not top-down, technocratic dictates
• Individual no-cost opt-out
• Building-wide no-cost opt-out
• Community-wide, no-cost opt-out
• Cancelation and roll-back of the SM roll-out and the whole ‘smart grid’ scheme/scam
• Investment in a decentralized “wise grid” based on small-scale distributed generation facilities based on renewable energy sources and managed by publically owned and publically accountable entities.

What’s wrong with the ‘smart grid’ agenda:
• Its top-down, corporate profit-driven, imposed without public discussion or investigation of all its multiple areas of impact: human and biological health effects; safety; vulnerability to hacking and malicious manipulation; privacy -personal data collection for marketing and surveillance purposes; economic and energy saving effectiveness; basic functionality.

• It’s based on an obsolete business model, i.e., the private investor-owned utility (IOU) operating centralized, large-scale generating facilities supplying a large designated monopoly region with energy from polluting, non-renewable, toxic sources – coal, gas and nuclear reactors.

What’s wrong with Wireless ‘Smart’Meters::
• They do not function as advertised either technologically or economically.
• They are a danger to human and biological health as well as to safety, privacy and grid security and stability.

What’s wrong with the Opt-Out proceeding and Proposed Decisions:
• They violate California state law and the CPUC’s own codes and regulations.
• They fail to address fundamental issues of consumer protection, property rights, human health, public safety, science-based, democratic decision-making and due process.

What’s wrong with the CPUC:
• It is corporately captured, corrupt and inimical to the public interest.

What’s wrong with PG&E:
• A long history of criminal behavior against the public interest
• Under multiple federal indictments
• Demonstrably incompetent

Download PDF here.
Eon3EMFblog.net On FaceBook: EON – the Ecological Options Network On Twitter: EonNewsNet

For more: EMFsafetyNetwork.org StopSmartMeters.org

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Will the CPUC OK a Smart Meter Opt-Out 'Protection Racket?'

Pay Up or We’ll Break Your Kneecaps!
Disproving the old adage that ‘two heads are better than one,’ neither of the CPUC’s ‘smart meter’ opt-out Proposed Decisions by Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa and out-going President Michael Peevey deal with the key human health, safety, privacy or hacking insecurity issues our movement has been trying unsuccessfully to bring to their attention for years.

What’s the Difference?
If a gas utility announced it was going to pump poison gas into every home in your neighborhood, or a water utility threatened to put poison in the community’s water supply, unless customers paid them not to on a monthly basis, it would clearly be just like what mobsters used to call a ‘shakedown.’ You pay the collection goons when they come by and they agree not to wreck your business or break your kneecaps with a baseball bat.

How is that old ‘protection racket’ scam different than having to pay not to have a toxic wireless meter installed on your home?

Yet that’s just what either of these Proposed Decisions will do if approved by a vote of the Commissioners, perhaps as early as next month.

EON Comments on CPUC Opt-Out Decisions
As an intervening ‘party’ in this Proceeding, EON filed its comments on the Proposed Decisions last Tuesday. You can download a PDF of our filing here.

Links to the Proposed Decisions are here:
ALJ Amy Yip-Kikugawa’s Proposed Decision
Michael Peevey’s Alternate Proposed Decision

You might like to let them know what you think in an e-mail: ALJ Yip-Kikugawa and Commissioner Peevey’s advisor Manisha Lakhanpal.

You can also lobby the Commissioners: Mike Florio 415-703-1840/ Catharine Sandoval 415-703-2593/ President Michael Peevey 415-703-3703/ Carla Peterman 415- 703-1407/ Michael Picker 415- 703-2444

Please plan to attend on Thursday, December 18, 2014, 9 am at 505 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco. That will be President Peevey’s last day on the Commission.


If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

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Ding Dong, Peevey's Gone – Who Will Replace Him?

Former CPUC staffer Dan Berman, co-author of "Who Owns the Sun?" speaks at an Oct. 2, 2014 press conference on the CPUC steps. Photo: EON

[ Portions of this blog appear as “Who will replace Michael Peevey on the CPUC?” on the SF Gate Opinion Page. ]

EON's Mary Beth Brangan addresses the Commission, calling for reform. EON photo

A Call for Reform
EON’s Co-Director had this to say to the Commissioners during the public comments of the Oct. 2, 2014 CPUC meeting: [ Click here for video. ]

Having just returned from the NY People’s Climate Convergence, I’m freshly aware that at this crucial time when we have just a few decades to avert the worst of the catastrophic effects of climate change, how the CPUC regulates monopoly utilities is increasingly critical.

That’s why the pattern of corruption we’ve witnessed is even more disastrous.

From collusion with PG&E regarding the horrendous disaster in San Bruno; to colluding with PG&E regarding spying on ratepayers objecting to forced installation of harmful ‘smart’ meters; to colluding with Southern California Edison over who pays for their terrible management of San Onofre nuclear reactors; the pattern of corruption is clear.

But I was still shocked when I was told by a reliable source, a former CPUC President, that as my dear friend and colleague, Barbara George was dying, her intervenor compensation was deliberately withheld, though people at the Commission knew she needed the money for her cancer treatment.

After friends and lawmakers intervened, a check was finally released but Barbara died before it came.

Today I stand with both the dismayed public and your own CPUC staffers who are calling for a Commission they can be proud to work for.

Corruption and climate crisis, aging nuclear reactors, hazardous wireless meters and natural gas pipelines don’t mix.

San Francisco, Oct. 2, 2014 - President Peevey and CPUC Commissioners listen to a string of public comments calling for Peevey's ouster. A week later he resigned. EON photo.

Peevey’s Gone – Who Will Replace Him?

By James Heddle – EON, the Ecological Options Network (Updated)
[ Portions of this blog appear as “Who will replace Michael Peevey on the CPUC?” on the SF Gate Opinion Page. ]

‘You can’t fire me, I quit!’
Clean energy, nuclear free and stop-smart-meter activists won’t have Michael Peevey to kick around any more. The beleaguered, utility-friendly CPUC President
resigned Thursday in what the LA Times called a ‘pre-emptive’ move to avoid non-reappointment at the end of his expiring term in December. Peevey threw in the towel just one week after angry citizens held a press conference on the CPUC steps and packed a boisterous Commission meeting to demand his ouster. [ See videos below ]

“Mr. Peevey, you’re a putz. You’re cozy in bed with PG&E. So we’re pink slipping you.” Those were the words of Code Pink activist Cynthia Papermaster as she disrupted the opening of the Oct. 2 public comments period and was escorted out by security personnel.

Peevey’s own hasty exit came after weeks of controversy following disclosures of too ‘cozy’ e-mail exchanges between him and other CPUC representatives and Pacific Gas & Electric officials in connection with the San Bruno gas disaster. The obvious implication in the public mind is that that cozy relationship obtains on other issues and with other utilities, and has become the normal M.O. of the Commission. Even the Commission employees threatened rebellion at a recent staff meeting, tired of ‘being ashamed’ of working for such a compromised agency.

Photo: EON

“Twelve years as President is [sic] enough.”
Peevey’s statement in the brief Commission press release announcing that he would not “seek reappointment” carried an irony in many eyes. Those twelve years spanned the era of deregulation and privatization and were certainly ‘enough’ for the CPUC to become what many regard as the poster child for regulatory capture. Too friendly relations between regulators and regulatees, (i.e., investor-owned, for-profit, monopoly utilities, aptly called IOUs) seems to be the norm from the local to the national and even to the global these days – note the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) flaccid response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But the CPUC’s stance toward both Southern California Edson’s bungling at it’s now-shutdown San Onofre nuclear plant between LA and San Diego and PG&E’s performance in relation to wireless smart meter rollout, San Bruno gas line maintenance, and management of it’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant north of Santa Barbara, strikes many observers as especially egregious. Peevey’s twelve-year tenure leaves behind a ‘culture of conviviality’ between the Commission and the corporations that puts both the public interest and public safety at risk.

Can that culture be reformed by changes at the top? Or does the very model of a governor-appointed, rather than a publicly-elected Commission need to be seriously considered? With sweeping structural reform unlikely, attention will now focus on who Governor Jerry Brown will appoint as the next CPUC president. ( Peevey will still be voting on CPUC decisions until the end of the year; plenty of time to do more mischief. )

Who’s Next?
Two names already being suggested by progressives are former California Energy Commission Executive Director, attorney John Geesman, and former federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

You can bet the utilities have their favorite candidates, too. Given the fact that Brown has two former PG&E VPs in his inner circle [ Nancy McFadden, his Executive Secretary – who ran the company’s Prop 16 campaign to block community choice energy projects – and Dana Williamson, his Cabinet Secretary ], the likelihood of a major shift in leadership at the CPUC seems slight. But you never know. Public outrage and pressure has brought us this far. Now is the time to organize, agitate, advocate and push hard for the changes we want.

Some YouTube subscriber feedback thus far on the public comments:

Well done Ladies and Gentlemen! Bravo, you inspire me to start getting out there and stating “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more!”

Excellent I stand with these people, and I want to see all nuclear plants shut down as well of all nuclear waste taken care of period

Reverend Galileo
The east coast hasn’t caught on yet, come on people, we must share this.

If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

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EON Nuclear News Update – July 14 -Post Carbon Radio

This former Fukushima resident has learned from experience. Photo courtesy Umi Hagitani

James Heddle, Umi Hagitani and Harvey Wasserman on KWMR’s Post Carbon Radio
Hosted by Bing Gong

Context – Information is Empowerment – we need to know about these things in order to engage and do something about them. They form the overarching context for this report.
• Global Climate change – 6th Great Extinction of species
• Chemical / electromatnetic / radioactive pollution of the planetary biosphere
• Impending collapse of the war-based, free market economic system on track to destroy its host planet
• US/NATO ‘full spectrum dominance’ first-strike military posture re earth’s remaining resources
• The nuclear energy / ’waste’ / weapons connection

Japan Update
Women of Fukushima — EON correspondent Umi Hagitani
For more on this story: Kazue Morisono & Saeko Uno: “Women of Fukushima against Nuclear Power”

Regional Updates
U.S. Update
San Onofre
Diablo Canyon
CA CCR bill 2145 — utilities’ attempt to kill community choice energy
Hanford — Fukushima-on-the-Columbia
WIPP — new releases, still no certainty re:cause, back-up of waste program
EPA proposal to raise ‘safety’ standards 350x — “good for profits and health”
Nuclear ‘Posture’ Review — first strike doctrine, ‘Life Extension Program’, new nuke sub fleet
Reactors as ‘terrorist weapons in place’ — case of Ukraine

Harvey Wasserman on Nuclear History

Nuclear energy/waste/weapons connection
A 1951 study undertaken by the AEC concluded that commercial nuclear reactors would not be economically feasible if they were used solely to produce electricity; they would be, however, if they also produced plutonium which could be sold.

The 1952 Annual Report for Commonwealth Edison is instructive on this point:
By “dual-purpose” we mean that the plants would be primarily for the production of power but would also would produce plutonium for military purposes as a by-product. In our judgment, these plants…would be justified from an economic standpoint only if a substantial value were assigned to the plutonium produced.”

In a document from the Los Alamos National Laboratory dated August, 1981, is this statement:
“There is no technical demarcation between the military and civilian reactor and there never was one. What has persisted over the decades is just the misconception that such a linkage does not exist.” Those guys ought to know.

Uranium In/Plutonium Out Deal
What finally got the private utilities interested in nuclear energy for electricity was that the government agreed to supply them with the uranium to power their reactors in return for the resulting plutonium.
Nuclear energy production MEANS nuclear weapons proliferation. For more see this.
Anyone who says they want nuclear power is essentially saying they favor nuclear weapons proliferation. Can’t have one without the other.
And it is vital to remember, any nuclear plant IS a potential nuclear weapon-in-place for terrorists.

Nuclear Irony
As the US and ‘partners’ negotiate with Iran over how many centrifuges Iran can have, Turkey has just announced plans to build up to 12 new nuclear reactors on it’s Mediteranian and Black Sea coasts with Russian, French and Japanese support. What’s wrong with THIS picture? Turkey’s nuclear projects to exceed $70 billion

What a ‘Limited Nuclear War’ Would Do to the Planet

If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

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TRUE GRID – Switching from 'Smart' to Wise – updated

This post encourages you to check out the landmark report “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid,” authored by energy expert Dr. Timothy Schoechle, published by the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy – and to sign up to attend The High (?) Road to a True Smart Grid, a Commonwealth Club of San Francisco program scheduled for January 28th, noon to 3 pm.

In order to create a resilient and sustainable future it’s imperative to explore the best alternative electricity generation and distribution forms. Our current electrical system is the source of much sickness, pollution, injustice and instability in this age of climate change and extreme weather. Our outmoded electrical grid needs to be re-engineered and soon!

Come to this important panel at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club and hear this vitally hopeful discussion. The panelists will outline a blueprint for a healthier, safer and smarter approach to both electricity generation and distribution in the United States—one that has all of our best interests, and the interests of planet Earth, at heart.

Panel Members (L to R) James Turner, Esq., Timothy D. Schoechle, PhD., Camilla R. G. Rees, MBA, Duncan Campbell, Esq., Dr. Karl Maret

In addition to Dr. Schoechle, others on the January 28th Commonwealth Club panel, moderated by Camilla Rees, MBA, include engineer and physician, Karl Maret, MD, of Aptos, CA; new energy visionary, and radio host, Duncan Campbell, Esq. of Boulder, CO, author of the white paper “New Energy for a New World”; and attorney Jim Turner, Esq, Partner of Swankin & Turner in Washington, D.C., co-author of “Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life” and Chairman of the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy.

Jim Turner is also a board member of EON. EON believes that this program will make an important contribution to informed public dialogue on creating a truly wise, sustainable and just energy future. We hope you can attend!

(hear interview with Dr. Schoechle and see media advisory and more info below)

Solar rooftops stretch to the horizon in Germany. This could be the microgrid future that Investor Owned Utilities (aptly termed IOUs) fear.

by James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan

Getting to Wise
It’s starting to look like yesterday’s ‘smart’ is today’s ‘really stupid.’

The over-used term ‘smart’ – applied to everything from phones to drones, and everything in between – seems to be turning from a marketing advantage into a stark warning label.

Take the plans for a wirelessly-managed national system of energy networks – the so-called ‘smart grid’ – based on the country-wide blanket deployment of wireless so-called ‘smart meters.

Our work, and that of many others, has shown that, not only would such a system vastly increase the damaging public health effects of electromagnetic radiation pollution, but it would permit granular surveillance of every household, and make not only each home, but the entire grid itself, vulnerable to malicious or terrorist hacking.

“A Really, Really Stupid Grid”

The Security Issue
No one would argue that the existing U.S. energy grid – an aging, outmoded infrastructure increasingly insecure in the face of proliferating extreme weather events and escalating cyber attacks – does not need to be radically re-engineered. Even former CIA Director James Woolsey famously stated in a 2011 TV interview, “There is no one in charge of security for the grid…A so-called ‘smart grid’ that is as vulnerable as what we’ve got is not smart at all. It’s a really, really stupid grid.”

The Surveillance Issue
Another, more recent, former CIA director agrees. The Daily Mail reports that, In the view of David Petraeus, “…web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.”

‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,’ said Petraeus.

‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters – all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

An ‘Internet of Things,’ Bots, Algorithms, Corporations and… Big Brother

The Hacking Issue
The spy guys’ views are borne out in the recent CNN report, Connected TVs, fridge help launch global cyberattack. It tells how wirelessly connected “smart” household appliances such as routers, televisions and at least one refrigerator, were recently used in a massive global cyber attack to launch malicious emails, spam and phishing.

Commenting on the CNN report, author and electro-magnetic pollution expert Blake Levitt had this to say: “Highly recommend that anyone buying new appliances/household electronics makes sure they are not ‘smart’ 2-way enabled with embedded antennas. If enough people refuse to buy them, perhaps this will begin to implode. Not only is the RF component dangerous but the appliances themselves are easily hacked. Until this recent hacking, it was thought that only the meters were vulnerable as potential portals into the entire grid. This entire approach needs to be completely re-thought and re-engineered.”

The ‘Smart’ Meter Issue
Dr. Timothy Schoechle, the author of Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid, has been engaged in development of electric utility meters, home automation systems, gateways, and energy management systems for over 25 years and sits on several international standards setting committees related to the smart grid and to home and building automation systems.

Schoechle calls the smart meters being rolled out across the U.S. “a canard—a story or hoax based on specious claims about energy benefits….” He goes on to explain how state and local governments, and environmental organizations, have been misled about the purported benefits of ‘smart’ meters.
His paper addresses how ‘smart’ meter investments, using billions in stimulus funding, do not benefit ratepayers or support economic growth, but financially prop up unsustainable Investor-Owned-Utilities (IOUs), while postponing investment in genuine ‘smart’ technical solutions and the inevitable transition to a decentralized and democratized electricity system.

Dr. Karl Maret, engineer and MD, will be speaking on the Commonwealth Club panel. He
points out that since microwave emitting Smart Meters were installed as part of the Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) upgrade by utilities in California and elsewhere, numerous health complaints have been reported, especially by electrically hypersensitive individuals.

Dr. Maret’s talk as part of the Commonwealth Club panel on the Smart Grid will address concerns of potential health challenges from electromagnetic fields in our current increasingly wireless society and how Smart Meters are adding an additional layer of non-thermal electromagnetic environmental exposure that hasn’t been studied prior their deployment. This may have important long-term health implications for our society.

In her article WHO KNEW? – The Wireless Smart Meter Meltdown, electro-magnetic pollution protection consultant Cindy Sage puts it this way,

… [snip] The smart meter program is widely seen as a spying, snooping, expensive, potentially hazardous, involuntary and entirely unnecessary burden for which energy conservation is a mirage. [snip]
….. It is really quite stunning how a single failed corporate/governmental strategy could backfire so rapidly and so completely.”

A Dying Business Model – So-o-o 20th Century!
Currently the U.S. grid is one of the lowest-rated national energy grids among all industrialized countries. But there are increasing signs that the whole business design of the system – dominated as it is by giant centralized and politically powerful monopoly investor-owned utilities (IOUs) – is itself out-dated.

The ‘Smart’ meter network craze is standing revealed as one of the last big mistakes of a dying centralized business model.

Writes Schoechle,

“The 100 year-old monopoly utility business model contains inherent conflicts and is de- incentivized from taking the necessary steps toward renewable energy and sustainability. Regulated utilities sell electricity as a commodity at profitable regulated rates and, more importantly, can charge back their capital assets to ratepayers at a guaranteed 10-13% annual rate of return. Thus they have no incentive to sell less electricity, yet a strong incentive to build excessive and inappropriate infrastructure (e.g., generation, transmission, meter networks, etc.).”

Schoechle points out that billions of dollars of smart utility meters are being installed across America that are unable to integrate with, or enable, the smart grid of the future on which U.S. energy sustainability depends in his landmark report “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid,” published by the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy. The meter network has been called a colossal waste of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars by critics, who argue that the new meters and networks do not improve energy efficiency, enhance energy management, help balance supply and demand, or facilitate the integration of renewable sources.

[ See Schoechle’s review of Power Struggle: The Hundred-Year War over Electricity.By Richard Rudolph and Scott Ridley here and his paper “Modular power manager and gateway: an approach to home-to-grid energy management and demand response” here.

“It has become increasingly clear that the fundamental architecture of today’s electricity grid, which is based on the idea of a top down radial transmission system predicated on unidirectional energy flows from large centralized power plants, is obsolete.” That’s the informed opinion of energy consultant Peter Asmus.

Writing in Forbes, Business Energy and other publications, Asmus, a senior energy researcher and author, shares his conclusion that the future grid design will be based on distributed energy generation (DEG) based on small-scale renewable sources organized in local ‘micro grids’ that can either be integrated into, or ‘islanded’ out of larger grid systems. Says Asmus, “If, indeed, the electricity grid begins to resemble the Internet due to the proliferation of DEG, then aggregation platforms, such as the microgrid, will become vital.”

For another interesting discussion of ‘wise’ energy strategies – and his advocacy of the micro-grid for its ability to be ‘fractally separated or seamlessly integrated, as needed’ – see Amory Lovins’ TED talk A 40-year plan for energy and his Reinventing Fire website.

Even the conservative inside-the-beltway think tank the Brookings Institution has seen the handwriting on the wall. It will host a February, 4, Washington, D.C. conference entitled ‘The Future of Electric Utilities.’ The program description reads in part:

The existing utility business model is under threat globally. Major transformative trends in the U.S., Europe, Australia and elsewhere are affecting the relationship between utilities and customers, creating opportunities for a wide array of new, non-utility players. Some call this “disintermediation” or “edge power,” where services such as data analytics, distributed generation, storage, demand response, energy efficiency and financing are provided by non-utility entities along the value chain from generation to customer end-use. How are utilities reacting and what future utility business models could emerge?

Another component of the energy transition may be a switch from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), which is what energy sources like solar PV and small-scale wind produce and what electronic devices such as computers use. New strategies and technologies for storage and transmission are overcoming previous economic- and safety-based resistances to a DC-based system. That would be good news for the growing numbers of people becoming electro-sensitive, for it is the conversion of AC to DC via inverters and switched mode power supply (SMPS) that produces much of the electromagnetic pollution from which they suffer. Whether or not we’re conscious of the adverse effects, all humans and other biological systems are impacted by man-made electromagnetic and radiofrequency pollution.

What Would a Truly Wise Grid Look Like?
Decentralized power generation in micro-grids

A truly wise grid would build on new and emerging technologies, design concepts and environmental values and eliminate the risks, vulnerabilities and inefficiencies of the old, obsolete regulatory and business models.

But entrenched, jurassic monopoly IOUs oppose it for obvious existential reasons; i.e.: their business model and their basic profit-making strategy are toast.

Yet there is hope. As Jim Turner puts it, “The automobile, the personal computer and the cell phone all empowered individuals and created massive lucrative markets. The in-home (and car) dispersed energy revolution –from rooftop solar, to small scale wind and hydro and limitless conservation – offers personal empowerment for consumers and gigantic economic opportunity for entrepreneurs and business innovators.”

Duncan Campbell, also a panelist, says in the foreward to Schoechle’s white paper, “At the end or beginning of the day, what it comes down to is simply this: In order to establish an abundant and hospitable world for ourselves and a sustainable and empowering future for all generations, we cannot and need not wait for our formally elected politicians to find the right energy policy. It is time for each of us to stand up for our home, our family, and our planet and to make an end run around the failing archaic centralized grid policy
and the disempowering intrusion of the drone-in-the-home smart meter.”

These are some of the considerations that will be explored in the important up-coming program The High (?) Road to a True Smart Grid at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on January 28th presented by National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy. The Institute recently published the landmark report “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid,” authored by energy expert Dr. Timothy Schoechle.

Here is a preview edition of our upcoming radio interview with Timothy Schoechle and Peter Asmus, which will air Mon. Jan. 27 at 1pm on KWMR-FM’s Post-Carbon Radio.

Here’s the program info. Register here.

The High (?) Road to a True Smart Grid
Tue, Jan 28 2014 – 11:30am

Timothy Schoechle, Ph.D., Author, “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid,” published by the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy, Washington, D.C.
James S. Turner, Esq., Principal, Swankin & Turner; Board Chair, Citizens for Health; Co-founder, Voice for H.O.P.E., Healers of Planet Earth; Chairman, National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy
Karl Maret, M.D., M.Eng. President, Dove Health Alliance
Duncan A. Campbell, Esq., Colorado Radio Host
Camilla Rees, MBA, Founder, Electromagnetic Health.org and Campaign for Radiation Free Schools – Moderator

Billions of dollars of smart utility meters are being installed across America that are unable to integrate with, or enable, the smart grid of the future on which U.S. energy sustainability depends, according to the landmark report “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid,” published by the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy. The meter network has been called a colossal waste of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars by critics, who argue that the new meters and networks do not improve energy efficiency, enhance energy management, help balance supply and demand, or facilitate the integration of renewable sources. The panel will clarify technical misunderstandings about smart meters, the entrenched economic models preventing utilities from fully embracing renewable energy, and how the growing smart meter rebellion may herald a transformation in the political economy of energy. The panelists will describe what they believe it will to take to create a reliable, safe, sustainable electricity grid, with our planetary interests at heart, and how a clean energy economy can be fast tracked through an innovative collaborative financing arrangement between the private and public sectors.

MLF: Health & Medicine/Environment & Natural Resources/Business & Leadership
Location: SF Club Office
Time: 11:30 a.m. lunch, 12-3 p.m. program
Cost: $32 non-members, $20 members, $10 students (with valid ID)
Program Organizer: Bill Grant
See more

Media Advisory

Commonwealth Club of CA, San Francisco:

“The High Road to a True Smart Grid”

Tuesday, January 28th 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Washington, D.C., January 16, 2014. A multi-disciplinary expert panel on electricity and the economy of energy led by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) will present at the Commonwealth Club of CA in San Francisco Tuesday, January 28th from 12-3 p.m. The program includes Timothy Schoechle, PhD, Senior Research Fellow at NISLAPP and author of the landmark white paper, Getting SmarterAbout the Smart Grid. There is a complimentary light lunch at 11:30 a.m. Tickets: $32 non-members, $20 members, $10 students (with valid ID).

The panel will address misconceptions about the present approach to electricity
generation and distribution in the U.S., including the value of ‘smart meters’, and the pressing need for the U.S. to proactively tap into infinite renewable energy abundance.

The audience will learn:

How federal, state and local governments, and environmental organizations, have been misled about the purported benefits of “smart” meters.
How “smart” meter investments, using billions in stimulus funding, do not benefit ratepayers or support economic growth, but financially prop up unsustainable Investor-Owned-Utilities (IOUs), while postponing investment in wise, genuinely ‘smart’ technical solutions and the inevitable transition to a decentralized and democratized electricity system.
How conflicts of interests in the IOU monopoly utility business model are preventing us from moving to a renewable energy economy.

Why the utility industry is so desperately pushing back against rooftop solar and net metering.

Why the right to “opt out” of “smart” meters will not solve the pressing underlying risks and economic problems, nor will exploiting more fossil fuels, and why opt-outs may make the situation worse.

How “smart meters” may be a surveillance “drone” in your home.

Why U.S. policymakers evidence a lack of a basic understanding of the problems associated with the future of energy and electricity.

How can we create a truly “WISE” decentralized electricity grid without the privacy, security, reliability, public health and economic risks of the present approach?

Why local communities need to take control of their energy future, as is happening now in Boulder, CO.

The panelists will lay out the next steps the U.S. must take to achieve clean energy abundance—for the sake of our pocketbooks, sustainable energy independence, global economic competitiveness, preservation of natural resources, enhanced national security and to forestall the looming threat to life on Earth from man-made global warming.

The program and dialogue with the audience afterwards will explore the pivotal roles communities and citizens can play, through political will, and including transpartisan collaborations, in driving the pressing need for transformation in this sector.

Dr. Timothy Schoechle has been engaged in development of electric utility meters, home automation systems, gateways, and energy management systems for over 25 years and sits on several international standards setting committees related to the smart grid and to home and building automation systems.

Schoechle, in Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid, has called the smart meters being rolled out across the U.S. “a canard—a story or hoax based on specious claims about energy benefits…”

Others on the January 28th Commonwealth Club panel, moderated by Camilla Rees, MBA, include engineer and physician, Karl Maret, MD, of Aptos, CA; new energy visionary, and radio host, Duncan Campbell, Esq. of Boulder, CO, author of the white paper “New Energy for a New World”; and attorney Jim Turner, Esq, Partner of Swankin & Turner in Washington, D.C., co-author of “Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life” and Chairman of the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy.

More info and Bios:

To Register:
Commonwealth Club of California
595 Market Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

For Panelist Interviews:

Emily Roberson

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