Press Release, Santa Rosa, CA, March 25
A quote from Eagle Forum State President Orlean Koehle objecting to the “Big Brother” aspect of SmartMeters at the CPUC hearing March 24 was broadcast on the San Francisco CBS radio morning news, 740 AM, March 25.
Koehle was one of forty-nine people who spoke during the long three-hour hearing held by the California Public Utility Commission in San Francisco.
The majority of the PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) customers who testified told of their adverse health conditions ever since the smart meters, that contain RF chips and emit pulsed radio frequency waves, were attached to their homes. They are part of a large and growing group who are known as “EMF (Electromagnetic frequency) sensitive.”
Koehle, fortunately, is not part of that group. Her main objection to the Smart Meters is because of the “control” aspect of the meters. As she was heard saying on the CBS morning news, “Many are EMF sensitive, but I am “Big Brother sensitive.” This comment received chuckles and applause from the audience at the CPUC hearing.
Koehle finished her testimony with the following: “I believe in freedom and believe our homes are supposed to be our castles, where we can feel safe and protected. I do not like the “big brother” aspect of the smart meter program and the control the meters will have over our electrical appliances, turning them off if we should dare to use them at a peak time of day. I do not like the idea of being connected to the “grid” and having data from our homes being collected and sold to the highest bidders. I do not like the idea of someone knowing if we are in our homes or on vacation. I do not want a smart meter, wired or wireless. I just want my old analog meter to be left alone. It is perfectly good and working just fine.”
She ended with the plea, “Please honor the request of those of us who are “EMF sensitive” and “Big Brother sensitive” and allow us the options to choose for ourselves what kind of meters we want on our homes.”
At a previous hearing, March 10, four CPUC commissioners were given copies of the 130 page booklet that Mrs. Koehle has written about the smart meters, entitled Just Say No to Big Brother’s Smart Meters. At this hearing, March 24, newly appointed Commissioner Mark Ferion also received a copy.
The comments of Michael Ceasar and Dennis Machado of Sonoma County were also quoted on the CBS morning news. Michael said, “I oppose the smart meter and the tyranny put upon us.” Dennis said, “The smart grid is a surveillance grid and is about total control and rationing.”
Other Eagle Forum members from Marin and Sonoma County who testified at the hearing were Boscia Crane, Barbara Dalton, Carol Pascoe, Deborah and Lou Tavares, Jennifer Delaney, and Marge Sorbi.
The results? Fortunately, after hearing over a year’s complaints from PG&E customers about the Smart Meters, the CPUC finally decided in favor of the people. They gave PG&E two weeks to come up with some reasonable options for the many people who are opposed to the Smart Meters. This opposition now includes many city councils and county boards of supervisors throughout Northern California, who have passed moratoriums or ordinances against the installation of the meters.
As reported in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, March 24, PG&E did present an opt-out proposal to the CPUC; however it will cost the customers who want it. PG&E wants “upfront and monthly charges to offset the cost of disabling the meters, employing meter readers and changing its information technology system.”
“For customers who want it, we will turn off the communications radio and that removes them from the grid,” said spokesman Jeff Smith. “The on-going fees cover the costs, primarily the labor but also the cost to strengthen the SmartMeter network.” The proposal is to charge customers a $270 upfront fee, plus a $14 monthly charge or an increase in gas and electric rates, or a $135 upfront charge and a $20 monthly fee or increase in rates.
How is the plan received by those who have been protesting the smart meters? The Press Democrat quotes Sandi Mauer, leader of the EMF Safety Network in Sebastopol: “We should not have to pay extra to have safety in our home. The PUC did an investigation on health impacts and they knew back then they could not prove it was safe. They have a big problem, thousands of people complaining, asking for a moratorium, and now they want to charge people. It’s extortion.”
For more about:
Orlean Koehle, State President
Eagle Forum of California
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