Southern California Edison
Smart Energy Community Forum Westlake 10/27
By Doug Crosse, Simi/Moorpark Tea Party
When I first read the VC Star article and saw the ads about the 10/27 Southern California Edison sponsored community forum to inform the public and "trying our best to get the word out to address the concerns that have been raised" over the roll out of “smart meters” in Ventura County, I had a concern that it might just be PR spin. Edison advertised and promoted the forum as “answering questions, what smart energy/ meters mean for customers, and to inform elected officials and community leaders.”
My concern was that by only taking written questions it would appear they were being screened to answer only those easy ones that they wanted to.
So I personally contacted Rudy Gonzales public relations manager for SC Edison. His response was “that all questions will be answered regardless of how long it takes”. Well I went to the forum, trusting what I was told and guess what, 2/3 of the time was spent promoting the Edison plan. Only about 30 min was spent answering the legitimate honest questions of the public. The questions were screened and some that were addressed were not read but paraphrased by the moderator. A large majority of submitted questions were not even read.
The question cards were not answered in the order they were turned in. Instead the SCE woman took them to the rear of the room, read and "sorted" them and then took them to the moderator.
The moderator closed the meeting without addressing most of the written questions so I stood and told them what Mr. Gonzales had promised. The response, “You’ll have to take that up with him.” But OK “We will answer all these questions on our website.” Duh, how is that fulfilling your publicized goal of answering concerns publicly with this event?
There are a huge number of Edison customers in this area who have legitimate questions and concerns about the health, safety and privacy issues surrounding smart meters. Lots of them took their time to attend, as did I with an open mind.
Disappointed at the lack of respect Edison showed for their customers? Yep. Surprised? Absolutely not! After all they are getting $300,000,000 of taxpayer money for this project.
Tragically at the end, paid security thugs, actually grabbed people, took one woman’s material even though she was not attempting to hand it out. Folks were prevented them from entering the lower area that the moderator had previously invited them to, and physically “escorted” them out even though none had been the least bit threatening in any way. I was one who was grabbed and pushed at the end for simply wanting to clarify the procedure for the opt-out delay list.
There were lots of folks there who were very disappointed with how the event was staged and orchestrated. What Edison really accomplished was to make people/ customers even more angry, heighten their distrust, elevate concerns and strengthen their resolve to oppose the “smart meter plan” now being forced on them.
I’m still attempting to keep an open mind but this transparent dog and pony show was correctly perceived by most in attendance as just that, spin and BS. So the looming question remains, SC Edison what are you trying to hide?
Of the questions that were answered here is what we got:
Can I opt out and if a smart meter was already installed will you put back my old meter? No you can’t opt out at this time, unless/ until the California Public Utilities Commission approves an opt out program, but you can call SCE and be added to the delay list. (Only phone calls are accepted, no customer acknowledgement is given faxes emails and letters to SCE are not accepted) If you already got a smart meter we will only replace it if the PUC approves an opt out and requires us to.
There appears to be many legitimate public concerns on smart meters including privacy, hacking, safety and health issues. Why wasn’t the public consulted about this whole program well in advance of installations starting? : We notify customers a minimum of three weeks in advance of scheduled installation as per what the PUC requires.
The RF signals emitted by these devices have recently been re-confirmed as a class 2 b carcinogens. The scientific community is already questioning the most recent study on cell phone usage effects done in Denmark because it was not controlled, but rather simply observational. And it only concluded that moderate usage exposure is probably safe. It often takes decades for health issues like cancer to appear. What say you? : This study observed about 300,000 (presumably healthy) people over a ten-year period and we believe it shows that this level of RF signal exposure is safe.
If customers want to opt out, why has Edison allotted no money to accommodate people who do not want smart meters? : We didn’t budget for that.
How many meter readers will lose their jobs? : On the onset we expected to eliminate the position. We didn’t anticipate that the public resistance to smart meters would require us keeping meter readers. (No # even an estimate was given) Meter readers are a low-level employment position and they are now mostly contract employees with no bumping rights. But we are assisting them with job placement.
We feel the public should be notified in writing of these very serious potential health effects which include cancer, heart arrhythmia, birth defects, sterility, blood brain barrier permeation, headache, nausea, increased blood glucose and other serious health effects. Why hasn’t Edison been forthcoming about the possible negative health effects associated with RF radiation emitting devices to the pubic? : Those possibilities have not been proven.
And the topper of the night goes to: At one point one of the presenters chimed in with this admonishment: “When you consider the health risks of the smart grid, you should consider the big picture. Weigh the meter risk against the risks of burning coal and fossil fuel in our generating plants.” Which is as much to say you’re going to get poisoned either way, so decide if you want the old poison that tastes like crap or this new cherry flavored one?
Here is a list of questions that I know were submitted by my neighbors that either were screened out or that they didn’t have time to get to:
The signals from smart meters can be easily hacked and can be intercepted by bad guys. What firewall or scrambling type signal protection is in the meters, to prevent say burglars from knowing when I’m not home so the can rob me?
People with defibrillators, medical implants such as brain stimulators, children and other sensitive receptors and other medical implants may be adversely affected. All other toxic emitters must do mitigation. Is there some protection for these people in place?
When people want to opt out but their neighbors do not, the people who opt out will still be absorbing their neighbor’s smart meters radiation. What measures does Edison have in place for people who do not wish to be exposed to their neighbor’s radiation?
What efforts has Edison put into figuring out other ways to get their transmissions thorough besides putting up repeater signal amplifiers in neighborhoods that do not want the exposure to smart meters?
If someone cannot afford the extra expense of opting out and then gets sick, they may sue Edison causing rate increases. Does Edison have insurance to cover health claims related to their RF devices?
There are allegations that Edison is charging customers much more for the same electricity usage after smart meters are installed. Why is this happening?
Why won’t Edison just allow people to keep their analog meters without being punished financially?
What is the saturation marker that Edison has in roll out as far as population penetration with smart meters to collect their full $300,000,000 that the federal government has given them for this roll out and how much of that federal stimulus grant money has Edison already received?
Smart meters can tell when a customer is using the most electricity. Edison now uses a tiered billing system where we are charged higher rates the more we use. Other than “oh we’d never do that.” What assurance do we have that you wont start billing us more by implementing a peak usage billing system?
You say that the meters only transmit a very low level of RF signals albeit 24/7. However they require repeater amplifier meters every few installations to work. What about the lucky customers who get these amplifying meters increased health risks?
In California all other toxic emitters are required to provide mitigation. Even if the claims are true that there are no health risks to healthy people, what about sensitive receptors, like infants, folks with cancer, low resistance levels, how will you mitigate that?
These meters can tell when I’m home, when I use the most power, and a lot about my lifestyle. You don’t seem to consider these an invasion of privacy. This is common on the Internet, and with smart phones so what is to prevent you from selling or sharing this information to my detriment?
Given that soon after the Edison smart meter installations are begun gas and water smart meters will certainly soon follow, the health, safety and privacy exposure will triple. Has this cumulative exposure been taken into account or studied?
I live in Simi Valley so I suppose I’m a bit cynical. On the south side of town we have a superfund clean-up project where toxics, radioactive waste were left behind by Rocketdyne. There is now a high rate of cancer and other illnesses in the area. On the north side of town Waste Management has allowed toxic auto shredder waste to be dumped in our landfill. Both of these huge companies told us “trust us it’s safe” If we couldn’t trust them why should we trust you? (My question)
So, why should you even care about smart meters?
The surveillance and control issues are significant. Read some of our past postings on them. Contact Connie Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org), our local activist on the subject:
Smart Meter Bulletins