Burbank resident informs California PUC Judge on how BWP smart meters are making her sick

29 Aug

Complaints about smart meters are amassing.  Are you experiencing headaches since your smart  meter was installed?  Problems sleeping at night?  Heart palpitations?  Feel oddly agitated all the time?   Sharp body pains?  Those are just some of the symptoms people suffer after smart meter were installed at their residences.

This has now happened to Burbank resident Shane Gregory, thanks to BWP smart meters that were installed at her home in July.  Ms Gregory informed BWP at its early August Board meeting about this, and asked them to remove the smart meters at her residence because they are making her ill.   That was almost four weeks ago, and BWP has still not removed them.

Reminder: The Federal Goverment does not mandate smart meters.  Yet BWP has decided to make them so, without asking for our consent.  What’s wrong with this picture, right?

So kudos to Ms. Gregory for sending off this letter to California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa (who is overseeing the state PUC proceedings about smart meter options for the big three private utility companies, So Cal Edison, PG&E and San Diego Gas & Electric).   Ms. Gregory shares how BWP is failing to serve its own ratepayers and residents with its smart meter program:

>Sent: Aug 26, 2011
>To: amy.yip-kikugawa@cpuc.ca.gov
>Subject: smart meters/Burbank CA
>Your Honor,
>I am writing from the city of Burbank, in Southern California. On July 28, 201l Burbank Water and Power, the municipal utility company that “serves” my home city, installed a bank of four GE/Trilliant smart meters on the side of the small fourplex in which I live.
>Approximately four hours after the installation was complete I developed a band-like headache that was unresponsive to medication. The next morning I awoke with the headache and slight nausea. I thought I might be coming down with the flu. However, after I was away from my apartment, I noticed that these symptoms resolved — only to return when I was back in my apartment for about 4 hours. This pattern continued for the next three days. I began to have trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating. I also experienced some transient heart palpitations.
>Prior to this I knew nothing about smart meters and had no idea that they could impact human health.
>I am devastated by these developments.
>My current residence has been a haven for me — until the meters went in. In an almost nightmarish scenario the place that I call home is now off-limits for me. This is particularly problematic because I am disabled and rely upon Section 8 rental subsidies in order to survive. I cannot move within my home city because every building is slated to receive the meters by the end of 2011.
>I have spent the past 22 days living out of my car, finding shelter at various friends’ homes in the evening. The temperatures in Southern California have been in the high 90s and over. I am exhausted, frightened, and do not know where to turn.
>I have spoken to the board of BWP at a public meeting. The best they could come up with is the suggestion that I move into another city. This is problematic because the closest city to me is Los Angeles. To transfer my housing voucher to Los Angeles is a Sysephian task. The housing authority in Los Angeles (HACLA) is a poorly-run, huge bureaucracy that has been known to cause tenants to lose their housing vouchers through mismanagement. I have called five different telephone numbers to try to get some guidelines about transferring — all to no avail. Meanwhile I struggle to keep my health and my life together. I take anti-seizure medication and my medication schedule has been disrupted by the random and brutal way I am living right now.
>This is so very wrong. I have been displaced from my home of 23 years due to the installation of the meters. To be sure, I am currently in the minority of people who are known as electrosensitive but I do not believe that I should not I be subjected to the suffering and losses that are my current reality. If I were physically challenged and needed a wheelchair would I be thrown out of my home? I think not — there are laws that protect against this. Why, then, should I be denied the fundamental right of a home — a home that I have been healthy and happy in until the meters were foisted upon me?
>Where can I go? My 84-year-old mother lives 10 minutes from me and I believe that it is my duty and right to remain close to her in the event that she needs to call upon me for assistance. As a disabled woman (I’ve had four brain surgeries), life is difficult enough without being displaced by a technology that I have neither asked for nor consented to. I consider myself to be a resourceful and strong person, but I am feeling overwhelmed by what I am facing: illness and homelessness. I am college-educated and have a middle-class background but even this does not equip me to deal with my current challenges caused directly by the smart meters.
>I believe that the utility companies have relied upon poorly-designed studies conducted by organizations (CCST and EPRI) that have ties to the communications industry, the utility companies, and that have financial interests in the smart grid infrastructure. I do not think that a thoroughgoing study into health consequences has been performed by either of these entities. The non-thermal effects of non-ionizing radiation (especially pulsed RF) has NOT been studied by these so-called “impartial” organizations. I think it is an outrageous and tragic turn of events that is affecting me and many other people. I have heard three of my neighbors (young people with no history of electrosensitivity) complain of headaches and insomnia since the meters were installed — and they weren’t even aware that they had received them! I am absolutely sure I am not alone in my suffering.
>Your Honor, I ask you to take into account my situation when you consider what is being perpetrated upon the citizens of California. This cannot continue. I may be collateral damage — it’s too late for me. But, please, think about the population and countless numbers of people who are having their lives upset and threatened by these dangerous devices.
>I am not a believer in conspiracy theories, but I do believe what my body is telling me. This is real, this is true, and it should not be allowed to continue.
>Thank you for consideration.
>Ms. Shane Gregory
>Burbank, CA

While the California PUC may not have jurisdiction over the municipal utilities like BWP, when it comes to matters of public safety, the PUC’s decision and regulations must be abided by all California utilities, including municipals.

We’ve already seen this with the CPUC affirming in a proceeding related to fire safety and prevention that all utilities must abide by its regulations.*

As we all know, when smart meters make people sick, invading privacy and security, and exploding on people’s homes, they are an issue of public safety.

* Documents for CPUC Proceeding R081105 can be accessed here, at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/proceedings/R0811005_doc.htm  (note: sometimes the CPUC server gets overwhelmed and may not be available to access temporarily).  You can read the Proposed Decision of Commissioner Simon, mailed June 10, 2011, which addresses the jurisdiction over Publicly Owned Facilities (POUs) in “Order Instituting Rulemaking to Revise and Clarify Commission Regulations Relating to the Safety of Electric Utility and Communications Infrastructure Provider Facilities,” go to Section 6.2.3 on page 35:

“We remind the POUs of our determination in D.09-08-029 that the Commission has authority under Pub. Util. Code §§ 8002, 8037, and 8056 to adopt and enforce rules governing electric transmission and distribution facilities to protect the safety of employees and the general public. If a POU refuses to cooperate with an inspection or audit of its facilities by CPSD, or refuses to correct a safety-related violation, then CPSD should bring this matter to our attention so that we may take appropriate action.”

Also see Decision 10-02-034, dated Feb. 25, 2010, and issued March 3, 2010, “Order Denying Rehearing of Decision (D.) 09-08-029”:

“At the outset of the proceeding, we noted in the OIR that our safety-related jurisdiction with respect to municipally-owned overhead electric distribution and transmission facilities is settled. (OIR, pp. 5-6.) That issue was fully considered in an earlier Commission decision, D.98-03-036, and we made clear in the OIR that we did not intend to reexamine that issue in this proceeding.”

Read more details of this Decision here: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/FINAL_DECISION/114225.htm (click “PDF Document” in upper right corner of screen to read).


5 Responses to “Burbank resident informs California PUC Judge on how BWP smart meters are making her sick”

  1. S. Gregory August 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm #


    This is the reply I received to my email to Judge Yip-Kikugawa:

    From: “Zafar, Marzia” [Add to Address Book]
    Subject: smart meters in Burbank
    Date: Aug 29, 2011 9:29 AM
    Good Morning,

    Recently, you sent a letter to a CPUC judge who is presiding over the smart meter opt-out proceeding. Thank you for your letter. However, please note that the Burbank Water & Power is not regulated by the CPUC. Burbank Water and Power is regulated by your City Council, please contact them. The CPUC has zero authority over municipalities. Please contact your City Council.

    Marzia Zafar * CPUC * zaf@cpuc.ca.gov * 415-703-1997


    Because, according to this email, it is the position of the CPUC that it has “zero authority” over Burbank Water and Power, and the City Council of Burbank states (as I have been told) that the meters are “mandatory” what options are open to me to protect my health, my home, and my family unit?

    How is it that Burbank protects its citizens from second-hand smoke with unusually strict legislation and provides for its disabled population with accessibility options, yet completely disregards the health and safety issues caused by the smart meters?

    People throughout my immediate neighborhood have said they have been experiencing unusual headaches, irritability, and insomnia — reflecting what many people are experiencing all over the country in areas where the meters have been deployed.

    How can Burbank, or any other municipality for that matter, be so cavalier and dismissive of this crucial issue. Could the monetary incentives (profits for the corporations that are producing products for the smart grid and the financial rewards that the utility companies are receiving) be so great that human rights are overlooked and human health is just collateral damage?

    Shane Gregory
    Burbank, CA

  2. burbankaction August 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the letter written by an employee of the CPUC. Her response is odd given the CPUC’s affirmed position about how it does have jurisdiction over publicly-owned utilities in certain areas of regulation, including public safety. I’ve added a Footnote (see * above) to the original article, that will provide more details on this.

  3. Liz Barris September 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    This is the exact same response I got form the exact same woman from teh CPUC and they DO have jurisdiction where I live and she told me there is NOTHING she can do about anything. I sent the judge her email and have saved it as I am saving these things in case I sue the CPUC and my utility companies. She is full of it. I don’t even know why she responds at all. She does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO HELP ANYONE ON THIS MATTER. She needs to be replaced, lose her job, something like this. The whole CPUC needs a house cleaning. They CLEARLY are not watching out for us.

  4. Vic Ray November 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm #


    Will you contact me at work, please. (It’s LCF related, but a good thing.)


    Vic Ray


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