JUDGE ORDERS SDG&E TO CREATE OPT-OUT PLAN FOR SMART METERS, BUT CONTROVERSY CONTINUES

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Earlier this month, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission ordered San Diego Gas & Electric Company to prepare a plan that would give ratepayers the right to not have wireless smart meters.   

But critics, who claim the meters are public health hazards, say the prospect of being charged for removal of smart meters and paying extra fees each month for meter readings is unacceptable.

Susan Brinchman of La Mesa, who contends she has suffered health problems after a smart meter was installed at her home, has led statewide efforts to raise awareness of potential health issues associated with wireless radiation.  On her blog, she contends that charging consumers to opt out amounts to “extortion—pay or we will irradiate you.”

Earlier this year, the CPUC required Pacific Gas & Electric to allow its customers to opt out of smart meters and have older analog meters reinstalled. PG&E charged $75 for the removal  ($10 for low-income residents) plus $10 a month ($5 for low-income ratepayers).  According to Brinchman, 10,000 PG&E customers in Northern California have opted out and received analog meters.

Thus far, SDG&E has refused to replace smart meters.  In an interview with Patch.com, SDG&E’s April Bolduc indicated the company has no intention of reinstalling analog meters, but is instead considering merely switching off the wireless function and having meter readers go out to take the readings.

SDG&E has maintained that a smart grid is needed to track energy usage and that the units pose no health risks, though some consumers have complained of headaches, ringing of the ears, heart palpitations and other symptoms that they believe are linked to electromagnetic pulsed radiation from smart meters at their homes.

Patch asked Bolduc to supply the name of an expert on health effects of wireless meters and was given the name Leeka Kheifets at UCLA’s School of Public Health.  According to Patch research, Kheifets was paid $50,000 by the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit funded by the electric  utility industry.   

Erin Coller, SDG&E spokesperson, told East County Magazine that SDG&E is “glad the CPUC is moving forward” and that SDG&E will implement the opt-out in accordance with whatever terms and conditions are in the final opt-out decision.

Asked when the final decision is expected, she replied, “Most likely at the April 19 CPUC meeting.”

The vast majority of San Diego County residences already have smart meters installed and thus far, SDG&E refuses to start an opt-out list for those who want them removed. ECM editor Miriam Raftery asked to be added to such a list, and was not provided an option.  She has had intermittent ringing in her ears since shortly after the meter was installed outside her bedroom wall—a condition that went away both times she travelled out of town.

Customers who have not yet had a smart meter installed do have the right to be added to a delay list by signing up at http://SDGE.com/delaylist.   However, multiple local residents have advised ECM that even after signing up for the delay list, smart meters were installed at their homes against their wishes when they were not at home.

Grace Schlesier of El Cajon said she told SDG&E that she did not want smart meter, “so it was delayed.  Then they contacted me again with the same request and I refused. However, one day I’m next to my garage and noticed SDG&E installed the meters against my request not to…Now I want my analog meter reinstalled and it’s my understanding they want to charge me $75 to change it out and charge me an additional $10 per month besides. This is outrageous.”

Schlesier said she is concerned about “radiation exposure, fire and an invasion of my privacy.  Most people I’ve spoken with about the meters don’t even know about any of the risks and SDG&E installed smart meters without their knowledge.  I want a permanent, no cost opt out,” she concluded. “This should be available to anyone who wants it.”

ECM asked SDGE’s spokesperson, Erin Coller, about Schlesier’s situation, but she declined to comment, citing privacy reasons.

 

Comments

smart meter removal

just talked to someone at sdge and was told that a letter had been sent out sometime after june of 2010 to opt out of smart meter.
Just wondering if anyone received this supposed letter, I know I never received anything asking if I wanted the smart meter. SDGE came to door and told us we had no choice and they had to put it on, if there had been some opt out don't you think that they might have asked did you opt out earlier. Smart meter was put in in Sept last year and that's when we started experiencing ringing in the ears, headaches.and a strange humming all over the house from varies electrical devices. Could not figure out what it was since I had not heard anything about the smart meter back then. It wasn't until This year when we heard it mentioned on T.V. that we realized it was the smart meter causing the problem.

smart meters

I have been informed that there is a temporary opt out for the smart meters in San Diego. I am on the list for 3 to 4 months now but only after required letters to the cpuc and sdge. And many phone calls to sdge. There are many internet webs that tell you how to go about this and give you the info for the letters and where to send. They can not remove your meter with out cpuc decision. This has been published on east county mag months ago and is a decision made by the cpuc.CHECK OUT PAST RELATED STORIES ON EAST COUNTY MAG. HOPES THIS HELPS. At this point in timed they will not and can not change my meter out until the cpuc makes a decision.Yes a temporary opt out was issued
by the cpuc months ago and sdge did acknowledged it to me.
Leslie Mauris

To clarify the opt-out order is a preliminary one - read blog

ALERT: Smart Meter Opt-Out Ordered for SDG&E Customers

http://lamesa.patch.com/blog_posts/alert-smart-meter-opt-out-ordered-for-sdge-customers

The above blog provides more details about the current preliminary opt-out order by Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa of the CPUC.  The truth is that SDG&E could remove any smart meter they wanted to, all along, as this is an enormous game that CPUC and the utilities are playing. There is no federal nor state law that requires every single home to have a smart meter. Pacific Gas & Electric allowed numerous people to have their smart meters removed, and SDG&E has allowed several thousand people not to have smart meters installed yet, even before the delay list. However SDG&E refused to remove the meters for people SICK from smart meters and for others who didn't want them on their homes due to risk of illness and other reasons. That was different than what PG&E did for some of its customers. Thus, we see a company policy that is different. Possibly because the public has been VERY passive in San Diego County and Southern CA in general, compared to the activism and protesting in northern CA. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say. The public utilities code has had SB 17 added to it, signed by Gov. Schwartzenegger, which says that we shall have a smart grid and smart metering is the standard for the state, but that it shall be incrementally installed and shall be safe, secure, effective, and reliable.

CHAPTER 4. SMART GRID SYSTEMS .................................. 8360-8369

None of which it is, particulary with regards to safety and security. Please view the following Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP) has filed related to the Smart Grid Deployment Plan Proceedings at CPUC since last July.

  1. Comments filed by Center for Electrosmog Prevention on 03/14/2012
  2. CEP Reply Comments on Smart Grid Deployment Plan Workshops w/
  3. Addendum EMP & Cyber Security (a must-read)

 

CEP CPUC Filings 2012

CEP CPUC Filings 2011

The utility execs at the Sept. Opt-out Workshop in San Francisco, which I participated in from here and is on video available to watch, admitted that the smart meters aren't necessary for the smart grid to work, that the smart meters are there "for the customers to have choice"...It is all a charade. The CPUC is loaded with very questionable staff and a head Commissioner who have come to their jobs straight out of utility companies in CA. They are calling the shots with the smart grid along with the utilities, and most of what they all say is BS. We are being "played", what is at stake is a lot of money to be made. Any time it wanted to, SDG&E could remove smart meters from homes where someone is ill or has a pressing complaint. Make no mistake about it. www.electrosmogprevention.org

SDG&E Opt--Out List Exists

I have called SDG&E repeatedly and emailed them also, and have confirmed  they DO have a smart meter opt-out list (even if they deny it on the phone at times). I have confirmed that I am on such a list several times, and twice have spoken with a supervisor to be sure that SDG&E is developing such a list. Emailing them at info@sdge.com to request that your account be notated to show that you have requested to be placed on the smart meter opt-out list. Then after the opt-out order is voted on and becomes final (within a month), call and write them back to request this again, or check with them weekly. I feel that getting it in writing is important, as the "landscape" (and thus the SDG&E public info) changes frequently. Check our website for Smart Meter Opt-out News often (see below).

A member of Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP) (www.electrosmogprevention.org) emailed us last week with this exchange with SDG&E:

Hello Ms. Brinchman,

 

This is the response I got yesterday from SDG&E in response from my asking for wanting to have my so called "smart meter" replaced by previous analog counter:

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr XXXX,

Thank you for your email.

San Diego Gas & Electric is installing Smart Meters as a directive from
the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission). At this time, Smart
meters are not optional. We are awaiting a decision from the CPUC,
which will provide details and notification guidelines for customers who
wish to Opt Out of the smart meter installation. Once we get a decision
from the CPUC, we will comply with that decision.

Per your request, we will note our records of your request to have the
smart meters removed from your residence.
[font emphasis by comment author]

To learn more about the Smart meter program, please visit:
www.sdge.com/smartmeter.

If there is anything further we can assist you with, please contact us
by e-mail at info@sdge.com or by telephone at our 24-hour Customer
Contact Center at (800) 411-7343.
 
(not sent to us w/SDG&E contact who wrote the email)

-----------------------

Another email from SDG&E was sent in from a different CEP member, last week:

Dear Mr. XXXXXX,

Thank you for your email.

San Diego Gas & Electric is installing Smart Meters as a directive from
the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission).  At this time, Smart
meters are not optional.  We are awaiting a decision from the CPUC,
which will provide details and notification guidelines for customers who
wish to Opt Out of the smart meter installation. Once we get a decision
from the CPUC, we will comply with that decision.

Per your request, we will note our records of your request to have the
smart meters removed from your residence.

To learn more about the Smart meter program, please visit:
www.sdge.com/smartmeter.

If there is anything further we can assist you with, please contact us
by e-mail at info@sdge.com or by telephone at our 24-hour Customer
Contact Center at (800) 411-7343.

Sincerely,

Cathy
San Diego Gas and Electric
A Sempra Energy Utility
www.sdge.com

-----------------------------
Susan Brinchman

Director, Center for Electrosmog Prevention

www.electrosmogprevention.org

 

lock down of analog meters

For all of you that still have your old meters lock them down asap. My husband made our meter so it could not be pulled by any one. I contacted sdge of the opt out plan as well. We were put on the list not to remove our meters. I told them that it would be pointless to send any to try to remove my meter but they tried any ways. I reported this to sdge and they said they would investigate and get back to me. NEVER happened.
I asked them if they would shut my power off if I didn't yield to there demands.
No they replied as long as you pay your bill !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like I would stop after 22 years of service !!!!!!!!!!

Are Smart Meters For You?

ARE SMART METERS FOR YOU?

If you want to pay HIGHER UTILITY BILLS for the same amount of electricity and gas;

If you want your PRIVACY violated so that every activity in your home is seen and known by others you don't know;

If you want your (and your children’s) CELLS and DNA damaged and your BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER to have breaches resulting from smart meter non-ionizing radiation;

If you want NEW ENERGY INNOVATIONS BLOCKED by Monopolistic utility companies that use the smart meters to increase their restrictive powers to prevent others from contributing,

then so-called Smart Meters are for you.

California Utility Company Finally Admits Smart Meter Radiation

SMART METER RADIATION ALERT

PG$E, Northern California's Utility Monopoly, recently admitted (Forced By A Judge) that each electric smart meter transmits radiation 10's of thousands of times, up to 190,000 times each day.

This corrects previous false statements repeated often by utility companies across the country.

Smart Meter Health Problems Utility Company Pretends Don't Exist

SMART METER HEALTH PROBLEMS AND CANCER.

1. SMART METERS – 100 TIMES MORE RADIATION THAN CELL PHONES.
 Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes)
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/20/daniel-hirsch-on-ccsts-fuzzy-math/

2. SMART METERS – CANCER, NERVOUS SYSTEM DAMAGE, ADVERSE REPRODUCTION AFFECTS. 
Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes)
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=39461

3. The NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE Calls for Halt To Smart Meters in Homes and Schools.
http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/halt-smart-...

4. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless Smart Meters (& some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B CARCINOGEN LIST.
http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf

5. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH Feb 2011 found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/8/808.abstract

6. THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE IN STOCKHOLM (the University that gives the Nobel Prizes) ISSUES GLOBAL HEALTH WARNING AGAINST SMART METERS.
 2-page Press Release
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48148346/Karolinska-Institute-Press-Release

7. LABORATORY SCIENTISTS have observed

(1) Human Cell Damage

(2) DNA Chain Breaks

(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier

from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters.
http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/cc-video/

8. INSURANCE COMPANIES won’t insure smart meter liability due to biological damage seen by scientists they hired. 
 TV Video (3 minutes)
http://eon3emfblog.net/?p=382

Smart Meter Problems for Customer

SMART METER PRIVACY VIOLATIONS

Must-See 4-minute youtube video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8JNFr_j6kdI

CUSTOMER UTILITY BILLS AFTER SMART METERS INSTALLED.

Skyrocketing Utility Bills after installation – United States
TV News Video (3 minutes)
http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/63581287.html?tab=video

Skyrocketing Utility Bills after installation – Canada
TV News Video (2 minutes)
http://wifismartmeters.com/2012/03/bc-hydro-smartmeters-costs-are-skyroc...

Systemic Smart Meter Billing Errors Over 200% Uncovered – Australia
TV News Video (7 minutes)
http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/money/article/-/10241945/power-sc... - video

NATIONAL SECURITY RISKS DUE TO SMART METERS.

CIA DIRECTOR JAMES WOOLSEY CALLS SMART GRID “STUPID” Due To National Security Problems Caused By So-Called Smart Meters.
News Video (1 minute)
http://www.energynow.com/video/2011/08/10/preview-mix-james-woolsey

Smart Meter Opt Out

ALREADY PAID FOR THE SMART METER – WANT MY MONEY BACK

Customers are ALREADY PAYING ABOUT $300 each FOR THE SMART METER hidden within their utility bill over many months, so WHY do we have to pay an additional opt-out fee for something we already paid for but aren't getting?

Shouldn't the opt-out customers be getting a refund or credit for $300 that we already paid and since SDG$E saves another $300 not putting a new smart meter on our home.