43 California Counties Oppose Smart Meters, Banned in 10

http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/6663

10 COUNTIES IN CA HAVE VOTED TO OPPOSE SMART METERS — AND 10 HAVE BANNED THE DEVICES

July 12, 2011 (La Mesa) – The Center for Electrosmog Prevention in La Mesa along with Californians for Renewable Energy, Inc. filed a protest July 6 with the California Public Utilities commission (CPUC) against San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).

The complaint seeks to stop expansion of  “a dangerous, large scale, radiation-emitting mesh network of wireless smart meters (automatic readers)” that have already been installed at many homes and businesses locally.

In California, 43 counties have gone on record opposing smart meters–and 10 have banned them completely. But San Diego’s Supervisors have not taken any such action. (View the list of counties .)

Opponents who filed the CPUC protest contend that the mesh network is “a vast indoor and outdoor area that blankets our county and state with unnatural levels of harmful, RF radiation, with nowhere to escape it. Widespread reports of human and animal illness have already occurred in areas deployed with these new utility smart meters, and complainants have not received help or relief. CEP objects to this reckless disregard and further establishment of an infrastructure that has already been shown to cause harm and even drives people from their homes.”

Smart meter advocates say that the units allow utility companies to track hourly usage, which in turn can foster efficiency and lead to reduced energy consumption. The meters also enable utilities to save money by reducing or eliminating meter reader jobs. Proponents also note that they have complied with state and federal laws in installing the devices and have disputed health issues raised.

PG&E now allows its customers to opt-out of having smart meters, albeit for a cost. Santa Barbara County Supervisors on July 6 voted to send a letter to the CPUC urging that customers of Southern California Edison also be allowed to opt out. But thus far, SDG&E customers in San Diego have no option to opt out if they have concerns over health impacts. The utility has insisted that smart meters are safe and within legal guidelines.

But increasingly, people who have had smart meters installed in their homes are coming forward to complain of health problems that they believe are caused by the meters. In Santa Barbara, one woman broke down in tears while testifying to Supervisors about her health issues.

Some customers are staging protests and even going to jail to stand up for their beliefs. In Santa Cruz, two people were arrested earlier this month for attempting to peacefully block installation of smart meters at their homes.

The term “electrosmog” is used to refer to a new, manmade form of pollution, also known as electromagnetic radiation. Critics contend that unnatural levels of this radiation, like those produced by smart meters, are believed by some scientists to be unsafe and the effects cumulative. Opponents object to the fact that CPUC has waived environmental impact studies and has allowed SDG&E to deploy wireless smart meters in its service area without what the groups consider adequate safety checks.

Opponents further state that the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning on May 31, 2011 that all rf radiation, like that produced by smart meters and cell phones, is a type 2B carcinogen and “particularly dangerous to children. Based on WHO’s determination, many scientists are warning that the radiation given off by smart meters in homes and workplaces presents an unacceptable cancer risk.

One radiation expert, Daniel Hirsch, has found that smart meters may provide up to 160 times the full body radiation of cell phones, and they are on 24/7. Another expert compares smart meters to a “mini-cell tower” on every home.” The press release issued by opponents does not cite specifics on their sources, however.

Many smart meters are placed on the walls of occupied spaces like bedrooms or kitchens, where women, pregnant women, babies, children, and the elderly who may be more vulnerable are located in close proximity.

“Some scientists are concerned about studies that show rf radiation interference with human, animal, and insect reproduction – especially concerning bees, necessary for our agriculture,” the complaint contends. Various health complaints received by the CPUC since the deployment of smart meters began. CEP argues that expanding this program, rather than independently analyzing these problems and finding acceptable solutions, is “reckless” and has the potential to “permanently harm citizens of California and our precious environment.

CEP asks for a halt to the program and independent analysis, with solutions to be reviewed and approved by a panel of experts that CEP would establish.

For more information on the CEP protest, visit http://www.scribd.com/doc/59543876/A-11-06-006-CEP-Protest-to-SDG-E-Appl… CEP’s website at www. electrosmogprevention.org.

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