Glendale Water and Power was scheduled to present its Smart Meter options recommendations at Glendale City Council’s meeting this past Tuesday, January 24, 2012. Its recommended options, and a proposed Resolution, were included in a packet it prepared for City Council that was posted on the city’s website the Friday before (February 20th). Ultimately, it was announced at the start of the meeting that GWP pulled its item from the Agenda and would hold off until the CPUC made its decision on smart meter options. How did this happen?
As you can read in its Report prepared to obtain City Council’s support, GWP’s proposed Smart Meter Options failed to include analogs. This was in stark contrast to the CPUC’s Revised Proposed Decision on PG&E’s Smart Meter Options filed January 16, 2012 that supports analog meters as the only feasible option right now.
GWP’s oversight did not get past Glendale residents, as many of them, in advance of Tuesday’s meeting, wrote to City Council members to inform them about the many problems with GWP’s proposal.
At the top was GWP’s failure to honor what it had told or promised residents — that it would be waiting until the CPUC decided on smart meter options before presenting its options to City Council, and that it would also be offering analogs as an option.
For instance, Mr. Wayne Cook of Glendale, wrote:
I sent a letter to GWP requesting an op-out of the smart meter program. A reply was sent to me from Glenn Steiger on 5/24/11:
” …GWP will review the CPUC decision for applicability within out system and may request of a similar program from the Glendale City Council.”
The CPUC has not made a final decision but stated that “an analogue meter was the only usable option to consider at this time”
The proposed recomendations from GWP does not propose anologue meters as an op-out option. Before any decision is made GWP must support an analogue op-out option. This is a promise made to me by GWP and the citizens of Glendale,
Please do not approve any op-out option without an analogue meter.”
Ms. Teri Schlatter of Glendale also informed City Council in advance of Tuesday’s meeting via e-mail about these same points. In addition, she illuminated the problems with GWP’s proposed opt-out fees:
Further, the rates recommended in the GWP Report are not in conformity with the rates now being proposed by the CPUC. GWP recommends charging a fee of $56 to manually read the meter each 60 day billing period. This is almost three (3) times the rate of the CPUC’s most recent proposal of $10 per month which equates to $20 per 60 day billing period. Again, that is fifty-six dollars ($56) for GWP ratepayers versus the CPUC current proposed decision of twenty dollars ($20).
It is estimated that there could be 200-300 residential customers who would choose to opt-out from this program. I hope the Glendale City Council recognizes the significance of this group and responds appropriately in regards to making “analog” meters the sole opt-out option and makes the decision to delay the assessment of fees at this point and ultimately makes the decision to spread the opt-out costs among all ratepayers, just like the costs for customer service and any other overhead cost.
Ms. Schlatter informed the City Council, in e-mail and in person during Public Comment Tuesday evening, how the Santa Cruz County Public Health Department recently issued its Report on the health effects of smart meters. Read about the studies and findings that the Santa Cruz County Health Dept.’s Report found that confirms residents and local government’s concerns about smart meter affecting human health: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Santa-Cruz-Public-Health-Official-Smart-Meter-report.pdf
Area resident Shane Gregory, who had to move out of her apartment because smart meters at her complex were making her ill (headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations, which are among the most often reported health effects from those living with smart meters are reporting), informed City Council on several problems with GWP’s proposed recommendations, including:
3. If GWP’s customers decide to opt out for health reasons and are charged by GWP to do so, this would be discriminatory, prejudicial, and extortionate. It would not be fair, humane, or legal for Council to recommend such a policy.
4. Digital meters with radio-off configuration do NOT mitigate the health hazards posed by the meters and, as such, analog meters MUST be offered to customers. Digital meters employ pulsed RF to gather data, even if they do no transmit it. Pulsed RF causes problems for biological organisms (including human bodies) digital meters with radio-off do nothing to remove this hazard. Furthermore, it has been found that digital meters can alter the quality of electricity delivered by subjecting it to switching mode power supplies (SMPS), resulting in a phenomenon known as “Dirty Electricity.” Human beings are vulnerable to the transients, voltage spikes, and other phenemona created by poor quality electricity. This is not a factor with the safe and reliable analog meters.
Ms. Kiku Iwata (the author of this post), of Burbank Action, as well as Residents Against Smart Meters, pointed out to Glendale City Council how smart meters could affect local real estate sales and investments in Glendale. She informed the Council that the Marin County Association of Realtors had written a letter to the CPUC supporting property owners having analog meters at no extra cost. Ms. Iwata also read part of correspondence that she had received from Glendale homeowner and area real estate professional Addora Beal, of Prudential Realty in La Crescenta, about the potential negative impact of smart meters:
…from a real estate perspective, it can potentially have a devastating impact on the housing market here in Glendale and Burbank.
Glendale residents also urged City Council to reject GWP’s proposed recommendations because Burbank Water & Power announced on Tuesday, January 17th, at the Burbank City Council that it would hold off on making its Smart Meter Options presentation until it finds out on February 1 how the CPUC plans to proceed with its latest proposed decision on smart meter options. BWP’s currently proposed recommendations, similar to GWP’s, fail to include any analog option and are thus out of sync with what the CPUC is proposing for millions (the vast majority) of Californians in PG&E, So Cal Gas, SDG&E and SCE service areas that cover most of California.
Actions You Can Take:
Tell your Mayor and City Council how their currently proposed opt out fees are unreasonable, unacceptable, unfair, prohibitory and discriminatory, and why. For example, reasons to include — because:
(1) they are higher than the fees what the CPUC is currently proposing;
(2) they fail to include analogs as the CPUC is proposing for the vast majority of Californians;
(3) may affect real estate values and investments in your community, and
(4) write other reasons why you oppose their recommendations.
Tell them to support the fair, reasonable and acceptable option of having residents keep or restore their analog meters without being charged extra fees, charges or higher rates.
P.S. Update on earlier post about Las Virgenes Municipal Water District recommending no options for its Tuesday, January 24, 2012 Board meeting. Residents and Calabasas city officials spoke up, and the Board decided to ask LVMWD to come back with costs for a N0 Meter Reader option before it can make a decision. Read the Calabasas Patch, “Water Board Requests Analysis of a Meter Reader Opt-out Program,” by Reza Gostar, posted January 25, 2012: http://calabasas.patch.com/articles/las-virgenes-municipal-water-district-will-study-opt-out-option-for-whole-district