If California PUC supports the return of the analog meters, what’s Burbank doing?

23 Sep

CPUC President Michael Peevey tells Chandra Vyas who is getting headaches from smart meters to talk to PG&E — and “they will provide that you can go back to the analog meter…”

Smart meter opponents were surprised to hear these words yesterday morning from CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) President Michael  Peevey.  After months and months of resident after resident  complaining to the CPUC about smart meters making them sick,  and how they want them off their homes and out of their communities, the CPUC via Commissioner Peevey did an about face of sorts.

The CPUC Commissioners listened as Mr. Chandra Vyas stood at the podium to courteously complain about the headaches he’s gotten from smart meters, and how PG&E’s responded by sending him a letter saying how the Smart Meter is harmless.

“Possibly it is harmless for most of the people,” said  Mr. Vyas yesterday, “but what about people like me and some of the people in this room?

With PG&E reps sitting in the room, Commissioner Peevey responded to Mr. Vyas Public Comment by offering this solution, ” I would urge you again to, you know, talk to PG&E and they would provide that you can go back to the analog meter, if that’s your choice. ”

Thanks to “Stop Smart Meters” for posting a story about it, and video as well:

Providing California residents to swap out the smart meter for an analog meter may be welcome news for those who don’t or didn’t want smart meters installed at their homes and do not qualify for the “Delay” list requirements issued yesterday by President Peevey.  They may end up following Commissioner’s Peevey’s advice and call up their utilities to request that their analog meters be restored.

Meanwhile, how are local and utility officials responding in our area?

On August 31, the City of Calabasas Communications & Technology Commission unanimously approved  a motion asking its City Council to send a letter to the CPUC supporting residents who want to opt out at no extra cost.

In neighboring Glendale, Glendale Water & Power reps informed Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council members at their Sept. 12, 2011 meeting  that GWP is considering offering an opt-out program for those who want to keep their analog meters.  (Members who had not been informed about GWP’s potential opt-out were understandably angry that they had not been informed about this prior to the smart meter installation at their homes, and wanted to know why weren’t they told about it while other residents were.)

In contrast, what choice is BWP and your City officials offering you and other Burbank residents?

Burbank City Council Members: Dr. David Gordon, Dave Golonski, Mayor Jess Talamantes, Emily Gabel-Luddy, Gary Bric. Write to them about how you feel about smart meters and what they should do about them: CityCouncil@ci.burbank.ca.us

Watch the August 30, 2011, Burbank City Council meeting during which Burbank residents complained about BWP’s smart meters, asked for a halt to smart meters installations like other cities are supporting, the right to keep their analog meters at no extra cost, and asked their elected leaders to help residents arrive at a solution.

Like Mr. Vyas’ sharing with the CPUC the problem of smart meters giving him headaches, long time Burbank resident Shane Gregory informed City Council, Mayor Talamantes, and City Manager Michael Flad at the Burbank City Council meeting how BWP smart meters are forcing her to give up the place she calls home.  That’s because ever since they were installed, she suffers from headaches, heart palpitations and insomnia.

Shane is being abused and tortured by the smart meters.  And she is not alone.  Just read the massive amounts of health complaints reported on the EMF Safety Network’s website.

The other Burbank residents, including TV Producer Jerry Day and Burbank ACTION’s Kiku Lani Iwata, complained  about how smart meters threaten our privacy and security, result in time of use rates that will unfairly produce higher bills for certain households that can’t stop using energy during certain times of the day, and how smart meters allow utilities to know what appliances you are using and when.

City of Burbank official photo of BWP General Manager Ron Davis, who told City Council that Smart Meters are safe. You can tell Mr. Davis you don't want Smart Meters at your home by writing him: RDavis@ci.burbank.ca.us

In response, BWP General Manager Ron Davis practically admitted  that he doesn’t have a Plan B for residents who don’t want smart meters.  Why?  Mr. Davis told City Council that BWP can’t afford two computer systems — one for those who have smart meters and the other for those who want to keep their analog meters.

So the failure or unwillingness on BWP’s part to accommodate the needs of their customers who don’t want smart meters is now the customer’s problem?  This would be fair if Burbank had competing utilities (one that offered smart meters and the other that didn’t) but what we have here is a monopoly.

Mr. Davis said that the meters are safe, and the concerns of residents are a matter of “trust,” and will be resolved by contacting each one of us to explain the program.

How can we trust BWP when the World Health Organization has classified the type of radiation emitted from smart meters as a Class 2B possible carcinogen, on par with lead and DDT?  Would you want DDT sprayed on your house 24/7? Would you trust someone who is doing that?

As stated earlier, the smart meters are making people sick.  In addition, the meters are creating “dirty electricity” throughout the household’s electrical wiring that is making residents ill.  It’s also frightening how the RF bursts from smart meters, and banks of them found at apartments and condos, can exceed FCC safety standards, and violate FCC regulations.

BWP’s follow-up to our concerns resulted in something similar to what Mr. Vyas received from PG&E — we received a letter from Mr. Davis stating how Smart Meters are harmless.   Like Mr. Vyas, we respond similarly: A smart meter may be harmless for some people, but what about the rest of us?

Mr. Davis told the Mayor and City Council that the smart meters only produce RF emissions for less than a minute, yet smart meter manufacturers at the CPUC Smart Meter Opt-Out Workshop on Sept. 14 admitted that the microbursts of RF radiation occur 24/7 because the smart meters need to chatter and sync with each other and the repeaters.

Those writing about the City Council meeting report that Mr. Davis was misleading the Council with the information he was giving that evening.   Meanwhile, Fronnie Lewis in her “Media City Groove” blog writes:

Well, it’s hard to trust Davis and his BWP top executives who have jacked up our utility rates, while pocketing salary raises and hefty bonuses. That sort of conduct does not build trust.

Ms. Lewis is referring to the BWP rates approved in July 2010, followed 2 weeks later by the pay raises.  Then additional rate hikes  in June 2011, and the salary bonuses that were finally made public in July 2011.

“The employee at the top of the list, Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron Davis, pulled in $79,000 in bonus pay during the four-year period. Davis’ total salary in 2010 was $263,028,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

So did you want to know how your elected officials responded to voiced concerns at the meeting?

Mayor Jess Talamantes and Council member Emily Gabel-Luddy stated their support of Mr. Davis’ take that the resident concerns can be addressed through “trust” and educating the public about the program.  City Council member Dr. David Gordon, meanwhile, invited Ms. Gregory to show him some data that would support how smart meters are affecting her health.

Unlike CPUC President Michael Peevey yesterday,  the Burbank City Manager and Mayor have yet to offer any solutions or choices that support residents who oppose smart meters and want to keep their analog meters, even though 47 other local governments oppose smart meters or  have banned them, and the Federal government does not mandate them on our homes.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lewis presents a logical solution on her blogsite:

I believe what the Burbank City Council needs to do is set up an independent committee –one not control by Burbank Water and Power — to collect data and research on these smart meters. I agree, the council members should not just take the word of BWP honcho, Ron Davis. This committee should have some regular Burbank citizens on it.

You would think that cities and  utilities would be smart enough to work with their concerned residents to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution in order to avoid the high costs of a court or legislative mandated solution to protect the safety and health of residents opposed to smart meters.   After all, what city or county can afford that in today’s economy?

Share video (above) and transcript (below) of the September 22, 2011 CPUC meeting when Mr. Vyas shares his complaint about smart meters with Commissioner Peevey:

Chandu Vyas: Good morning, Mr. Commissioner and CPUC Committee members. This summer I had been to India for about 15 to 20 days, and while I was there, I had no headache. But as soon as I returned, my headache returned. And I have tried everything to prevent my headache. I have changed pillows. I’ve been to my doctor, and I had a blood test and a CT scan without any positive results. And last time I was here, you had asked me to talk to PG&E representative, and I did talk to Mr. Sidney Dietz, and all I received was a letter from PG&E mentioning that Smart Meter is harmless. Possibly it is harmless for most of the people, but what about people like me and some of the people in this room? Thank you for listening to my problems.

President Peevey: Okay, well I would urge you again to you know talk to PG&E and they would provide that you can go back to the analog meter, if that’s your choice. Do you understand what I just said, sir?

Chandu Vyas: Thank you.

President Peevey, Okay, alright. So Mr. Dietz is one of their representatives, he’s not the only one.

[Note: Mr. Sidney Dietz is Director of Regulatory Relations for PG&E.]
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