Push-back time! Do you want the CPUC to raise your opt-out fees? Or remove your analog meters for good? These are now at stake. Mark your calendars for December 13-20, 2012 — that’s when the Calif. Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hosts a series of free public hearings re: smart meters in five key regions of our state. Let your voices be heard! This will probably be YOUR one opportunity to provide direct, face-to-face, input, complaints and recommendations to the CPUC regarding the health, privacy, safety, security and financial costs of smart meters and why we should have the right to keep our analog meters and not be charged any fees to opt out.
BAKERSFIELD: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
Bakersfield City Hall Council Chambers, 1501 Truxtun Avenue Bakersfield, CA 93301
SANTA BARBARA: Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
County Administration Building Board Hearing Room, 4th Floor
105 East Anapamu Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101
LOS ANGELES: Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
Junipero Serra State Office Building Carmel Room – Auditorium, 1st Floor
320 West 4th Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
SAN CLEMENTE: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
San Clemente Community Center — Ole Hanson Fireside Room
100 N. Calle Seville San Clemente, CA 92672
SANTA ROSA: Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.
Steel Lane Community Center — Dohn Room
415 Steele, Lane Santa Rosa, CA 95403
CPUC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Amy Yip-Kikugawa will preside over these hearings (so please say “Your Honor” when addressing her).
The CPUC will most likely NOT have a hearing about smart meter costs in your region again — so this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show up and speak out and make a difference now, or else you could get charged higher opt-out fees or have your analog meters taken away from you!
Why? That’s because the CPUC’s current opt-out program that allows PG&E, SDG&E and SCE customers to retain their analog meters with up-front and monthly fees is INTERIM — i.e., temporary.
According to Stop Smart Meters:
“There is a very real possibility that the CPUC will try to INCREASE the opt out fees, and possibly even eliminate the right to retain or replace analog meter altogether- instead forcing a “radio off” meter that has also been linked with health problems. Even groups like the Utility Reform Network (TURN) who have been opposed to smart meters are in fact now advocating for a higher opt out fee. (more to come on how TURN has turned against the public…)”
Unfortunately, the utilities are currently outnumbering the voice of the People (you) at the current CPUC opt-out proceedings that are being held at the CPUC headquarters in San Francisco. The utilities, of course, are now pushing the CPUC to charge higher fees. Sadly, so is TURN, The Utility Reform Network that is supposed to represent consumer concerns and interests. Read more details about this on the EMF Safety Network’s website.
Important that you should know: Vermont, in contrast, allows residents to keep their analog meters at no cost! We Californians should be afforded that same right, and be treated equally!
So meet with the staff of your Mayor, County Supervisors, and regional state and U.S. senators and representatives and ask your elected officials to attend the CPUC hearings to support no-cost analog meters like the legislative officials in Vermont did for their constituents!
According to the EMF Safety Network:
“This is an opportunity for customers to comment on cost and cost allocation issues: costs include customer impact; fees; billing overcharges; health costs; environmental costs; interference; fires or burnt out appliances following installation; Banks of Smart Meters; and the need for community Smart Meter free zones, etc.
“In your comments be sure to address cost allocation: Do you think it’s unfair that individuals should have to pay to protect themselves from Smart Meter radiation? Should shareholders, everyone, or individuals pay?
* Encourage politicians to attend. They will be allowed to speak first.
* The length of time to speak will depend on how many people show up: The more people, the less time, for example 1-2 minutes. If hundreds show up the ALJ may ask for one person to represent and speak on behalf of a group of customers…”I represent #’s of customers.”
* There will be a court reporter and the public comments will become a part of the record in the Smart Meter consolidated proceeding (A.11-03-014) that will determine the final CPUC approved opt-out program for California residents who are customer of PG&E, SCE, SDG&E and possibly SoCalGas.
Recommendation: Arrive BEFORE the meeting begins, so you can sign-in with CPUC staffers to speak. You must sign-in to speak.
If you want to make this more fun and social, carpool with friends, family and other concerned residents in your area. Make a date to have a lunch before the afternoon-scheduled hearings, or a quick dinner before the evening-scheduled hearings.
If you are serviced by a public utility (LADWP, GWP, BWP, SMUD, etc.) and want to complain about the public utility electric or water smart meters, the CPUC does not regulate the opt-out fees for those utilities. You could briefly explain how you oppose those meters — and the CPUC may tell you they cannot do anything about it, but if they do, they are wrong – the CPUC does have the authority to issue public safety and health regulations for ALL utilities in California. The CPUC, however, is instead refusing to acknowledge or address there are any public safety or health problems due to smart meters — by doing so, it is avoiding directing the public utilities’ smart meter programs and requiring that public utilities offer opt out programs, etc.
Most importantly, public utility customers can still participate in these public hearings because:
* Most public utility customers in Southern California ARE serviced by the investor-owned utility of SoCalGas (The Gas Company) — and the CPUC does have the authority to issue a decision about the SoCalGas smart meter opt out program and fees. So if anyone from the CPUC tells you that because you are a public utility customer you cannot speak out against the costs of the smart meter program at this hearing, remind them that you are also a SoCalGas customer and thus have every right to be here and speak up.
* In addition, many of us in public utility territories have friends, family and relatives in investor-owned utility areas (Northern and Central California serviced by PG&E, San Diego and Orange County serviced by SDG&E, and Orange County and most other parts of Southern and some of Central California by SCE) and so what happens to them with costs (financial, health, public safety and privacy) also affects us. We are all connected.
IMPORTANT: If you have not already done so, please submit a Complaint today or this week to your Utility about Smart Meters and their opt out fees — also fill out the CPUC Consumer Affairs branch formal Complaint Form at https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/?key=39949189. Your written complaints are needed to send a loud message to the CPUC that we oppose smart meters and their costly opt-out fees.
In addition, there are several organizations in California fighting smart meters and their opt out fees on behalf of residents across our state, and some of these organizations are also pursuing legal actions. Please support them with your donations today:
EMF Safety Network currently has a lawsuit against the CPUC for failing to protect our health and safety when it comes to smart meters: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=7917
Stop Smart Meters: http://stopsmartmeters.org/donate/
Consumers Power Alliance: http://www.consumerspoweralliance.com/
The Peoples Initiative Foundation: http://thepeoplesinitiative.org/index.php/donate
The Center for Electrosmog Prevention: http://www.electrosmogprevention.org/donate-2/
Stop OC Smart Meters: http://www.stopocsmartmeters.com/
For Stop Smart Meter brochures, flyers and posters that you can share and distribute to increase public awareness and education about this issue, go to the websites for the California Coalition to Stop Smart Meters at http://californiacoalitiontostopsmartmeters.org/brochures-flyers/ and the International Day of Action to Stop Smart Meters at http://actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org/?page_id=22