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Coming to your region: CPUC Holds Public Hearings on Smart Meters

14 Nov

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 is overseeing the CPUC proceeding that is determining the smart meter opt out programs and fees for PG&E, SDG&E, SCE and possibly SoCalGas.

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

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How you can make a positive difference with Oct. 4th “Day of Action to Stop Smart Meters” just around the corner

28 Sep

What have you got planned for Thursday, October 4, 2012, “National Day of Action To Stop Smart Meters“?

Organizations, groups and individuals — from Washington, D.C., to Hawaii, and around the globe — are scheduling a variety of Action Day events, demonstrations, rallies, and activities to protest against smart meters, and to increase public awareness about why we need to stop smart meters now.

The utility and smart meter industries have attempted to marginalize No-Smart-Meter proponents, similar to how the BPA and GMO industries like to dismiss health advocates and right-to-know consumers, as “a small but vocal minority.”  But thanks to actions big and small taken by people like you and me, we are growing in numbers as the masses increasingly become aware about the smart meter issue and why protecting our basic rights to health, privacy, security, public safety and quality of life is the right thing to do.

So how can you become a part of history and contribute to helping move humanity forward on that day? If you don’t come up with any ideas right away, don’t panic.  Organizers are reminding us, “make your event fun and easy“:

“Any action against smart meters will fit, whether it be a protest, door-to-door flyering, a teach-in or a meet up.”

Event organizers advise you simply follow these 3 steps:

You can find other local supporters, make some signs, and locate your utility office or government regulatory agency- then take some photos or video to show the rest of the world why you are fed up with the forced smart grid.  It’s as easy as 1,2,3!

1.  If you are planning an event in your local area, please send an e-mail to info@actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org and we will add you to the Event List.  If you need advice or support, we are here to help!

2.  Use our materials to spread the word about your event.  You can adapt our press release to send out to local media.  Download posters and flyers to distribute in your area.

3.  Send us photos or a video recording of your action. A short 3 minute or less video would be sufficient. You can use a regular digital camera to film the video. An example can be seen in this DC protest.  Please post your video on Youtube or Indymedia and send us a link so we can compile a gallery of all Action Day events!

Thanks to the Center for Electrosmog Prevention, for also recommending these easy action ideas:

1. Plan and participate in a protest in your area, on busy freeway overpass, or main intersection, or in front of the local utility office.

2. Call and write the White House if you can’t participate in a protest event on October 4th. The phone number to call is 1-202-456-1111, and you can also write to the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments. We encourage you to do both and to have everyone you know do the same!

 You may wish to say, “Dear President Obama, I oppose wireless smart meters because of serious health risks and health problems after their installation, loss of privacy, hacking , cyber security risks, fires, and increased costs. Please stop encouraging their use. I would like you to help with a nationwide ban on the use of smart meters and a moratorium on the federal funding of smart meters. Many of my family and friends feel the same way. In fact, a large number of communities including counties and cities have come out against smart meters due to these problems, even to the point of criminalizing their installation. The federal government should not be encouraging or paying for such dangerous and intrusive technologies. This issue may impact my votes in November.” Add your personal reasons. Sign and provide contact info.

Organizers also ask that you “Call your friends in other states and countries to encourage them to take part.  If they are planning something-= even small- please have them e-mail a contact, time, date, and place to info@actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org

Here are more fun and easy ways you can participate:

1.  Need a good excuse to get together with friends or loved ones? Call them up and  schedule it for Thursday.  Or plan an action with your children as a lesson in civics and community building.

2.   Do a group action together — in addition to getting together for a fun meal or coffee/tea or dessert, pass out flyers at your local health food store (ask the owner if it’s okay first).  Or write letters to President Obama, your City Council (here in Burbank, it’s CityCouncil@ci.burbank.ca.us), County Supervisors, State Legislators, Congressional Representative and Senators, and state Governor. Remind our elected officials, as our good residents here in Burbank have pointed out, that we “Elect to Protect” and we want the no-cost right and freedom of choice to have or keep our traditional electromechanical analog meters whenever and wherever we live.

3.  Post a group photo or video of you or yourselves on Facebook or Twitter holding your own personal sign or message about not wanting Smart Meters on your home or in your community.  Then don’t forget to e-mail the link to Action Day organizers (at info@actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org), as mentioned above, who are compiling a gallery of all Action Day events.

And remember — you don’t need to be a giant to move mountains.  You also don’t need to be many, several or some.  Even you as an individual can contribute to Action Day by doing a variation of the any of the above suggested actions,  or coming up with your own idea.   It only takes the power of one to make a positive difference in this world!

The National Day of Action Against Smart Meters is being spearheaded by the National Campaign to Stop Smart Meters and the Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition to coincide with “Gridweek” in our nation’s capitol — where industry, lobbyist & government officials will be holding a ‘Smart Grid’ industry conference.

Flyer and poster artwork, at top and middle of this post, are courtesy of National Campaign To Stop Smart Meters and the Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition. You can get free downloads of these and other professional-style materials that you can use and share with others at the “Day of Action To Stop Smart Meters” website: http://actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org/?page_id=22

Burbank City Council approves moving forward on updating wireless ordinance

27 Sep

Buy your Elect to Protect community T-Shirt today by contacting Save Burbank Neighborhoods at AvonTower@aol.com. Once you get it, make sure to “X” or check  the box representing your Burbank neighborhood.  Elect to Protect T-shirt artwork courtesy of Save Burbank Neighborhoods, and GoGoSnap Art Direction + Design (www.etsy.com/shop/GoGoSnap)

It’s great when Burbank residents speak up and assert their rights to protect their neighborhoods and quality of life, and through that process, achieve the results for which they had worked so hard.

Earlier this year, 300 plus Rancho area residents made it quite clear to Staff and City Council that they did not want the New Urban West condo project planned for their area.  New Urban West backed down, and the residents were elated.

Hundreds of Burbank residents also organized against the controversial Walmart project.  They took their complaints to Walmart and City Council.  Refusing to retreat after hitting walls there, they took their case to court.  Last month, the L.A. County Superior Court supported their arguments by issuing an injunction against Walmart and the City.

Then, a few months ago, Avon residents mobilized their neighbors, media, and the support of the School District and residents from several Burbank neighborhoods, to descend upon City Hall when they appealed and opposed a proposed T-Mobile cell tower atop a church in their neighborhood.  The People were heard loud and clear, and the project was denied.

To protect residents from having to mount similar fights, they asked the City to fix the loophole in the wireless facility ordinance that allows wireless facilities on private institutional properties in residential areas.  They repeated their request and rationale supporting it last Tuesday (Sept. 18, 2012) before City Council, and our elected officials responded affirmatively.  They directed the Staff to look into their and the residents’ concerns, arguments, and recommendations that were voiced and submitted.

This is, as our Council Members and residents pointed out, democracy in action.  We’ll keep you posted on how the wireless ordinance update develops.  For insurance purposes — let’s keep wearing those “Elect to Protect” T-shirts.

(Purchase your community “Elect to Protect” T-shirts from the “Save Burbank Neighborhoods” resident group; artwork for T-shirt is seen above right.  Contact them at AvonTower@aol.com to buy yours today.  Make sure to wear your T-shirt at upcoming City Council Meetings.)

Tell City Council Tuesday to update the wireless ordinance to better protect residential neighborhoods!

17 Sep

“Save Burbank Neighborhoods,” the group of pro-active residents that successfully brought together their community and beyond to oppose and appeal an unsightly and humongous proposed T-Mobile cell tower (wireless facility) at their neighborhood’s church — and won (!) — is now alerting residents on how they can protect their neighborhoods against these divisive wireless projects, too.

Attend this Tuesday’s (Sept. 18) City Council meeting and during Public Comment, tell our City Council members that you want them to update the city’s wireless ordinance to fix that loophole that allows cell towers (wireless facilities) in residential neighborhoods. Tell them to protect our homes, families, children and neighborhoods!

The meeting begins at 6pm, and it’s Item O-6 on the Agenda, and so there will be TWO opportunities to speak up at this meeting:

1) Because this item is NOT a public hearing, you will NOT be able to speak on this item when it is discussed between Staff and City Council.  So, to make your Public Comment before the item is discussed and decided upon — make sure to fill out a Yellow Speaker Card when you arrive and submit it to the City Clerk up at the front near the podium.  Then when Public Comment is solicited by the Mayor (item L on the Agenda listed as “Public Comment”), he will read your card/name and you can go up to the Podium and speak for 5 minutes. 

2) After the City Council discusses the item with Staff (again, Item O-6 on the Agenda), and makes a decision on how to move forward, there will be a 2nd opportunity for Public Comment (Item P on the Agenda).  If you want to make a final comment on the decision or action that was taken, make sure you fill out a Green Card with your name (you must submit it to the City Clerk up front  before Item P is called or when others are still providing Public Comment during this Item (P).  You will be allowed 3 minutes to speak.

You do NOT want to have to go through (fight a cell tower) like this neighborhood had to — no Burbank  neighborhood should be put through that again.   Read more information on the “Fight the Tower”/Save Burbank Neighborhoods website on how you can ask our City Council members to take action, including writing letters/e-mails, and why this is so important. by clicking here.

To read the Staff Report prepared by our city’s staff for City Council to review and consider, click here: Item 6 Staff Report for Burbank City Council 09-18-2012

To read the areas where cell towers/wireless facilities can be built under the current ordinance near or next to your home, or child’s school, click here: Item 6 Exhibit F for Burbank City Council 09-18-2012.

FYI, location of City Council Meeting is the same as usual: City Council Chambers, Burbank City Hall, 275 East Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91502.

Ojai becomes first SoCal community to ban smart meters

7 Jun

Ojai residents have been extremely active in opposing smart meters, distributing informational flyers and colorful posters throughout town, like this one. Courtesy Stop Smart Meters Ojai/Ventura County.

“I think a lot of what we’re facing right now in this country is the division between the ‘common man,’ so to speak, and corporations and corporate power, and the undue powers they now have over us as citizens and our individual rights to do what we want within our own homes.”

Ojai Mayor Betsy Clapp  (OVN Blog, 5-20-2012)

Ojai, a charming small town in Ventura County about 90 miles north of Los Angeles, is where this author was raised and grew up.  So I’m very proud to report and share with you that its residents and City Council have pushed for and approved, on May 29, 2012, a moratorium against smart meters.

By doing so, the City of Ojai makes the pages of history as the first SoCal local government and community to ban smart meters.*

Ojai also joins a growing list of 55+ communities throughout California that have taken action against smart meters, and/or support residents rights to have no-cost analog meters.  This includes the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, who, on March 27, 2012, approved sending a letter to the Calif. Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) supporting a free (no-fee) opt out.

Kudos and congrats to Ojai City Council for making history as the first SoCal local government to ban smart meters. Standing, from left: Mayor Pro Tem Paul Blatz and Council Member Carlon Strobel. Seated, from left: Council Member Sue Horgan, Council Member Carol Smith and Mayor Betsy Clapp.

As Stop Smart Meters reports, we’ll have to see how the Ojai citizens and City enforce and manage the moratorium or make it work for them.

A Ventura Star story points out that adopting the moratorium may be mostly symbolic.

But it’s a grand and brave stand for a small town to take.

It also gives you faith that sometimes our elected officials do indeed stand up and do the “right” thing by taking action to protect their residents and preserve their beautiful community and quality of life.

The Ojai Valley News reports:

“What really irks me are the (opt-out) fees. How dare they?” said Councilwoman Carol Smith. “And the only way to reverse this is to go to the PUC? It’s outrageous.”

I’ve got quite a few things to say about this,” began Mayor Pro Tem Paul Blatz. “Ojai is an extremely unique community. And I can’t tell you how proud I am to be part of a community where an outcry like this, over an issue such as smart meters, this community has got together and brought this issue to us.  The apathy is not there, as it is in so many other places.” Blatz continued to say that as a lawyer, he has frequently seen large corporations trying to force consumers and cities to do things principally in the name of higher profit, but as a council member, he felt even more duty-bound to protect the health and safety of his constituents.

Mayor Betsy Clapp quoted another, perhaps slightly more famous lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, who said, “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me, and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow. And the monied power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.

(Read more of the OVN story here.)

In addition to the Mayor, City Council and Staff, a big thumbs up to the Ojai residents who worked  tirelessly to make residents and their local officials aware and informed about this very complex issue.

Concerned residents organized and crafted awesome flyers and posters for the town folk and businesses.  They patrolled their streets to keep a step ahead of the smart meter installers and alert residents to call SCE to be put on its delay-install list.  They set up a table at the Farmer’s Market on weekends to educate the public about smart meters, and spoke up and submitted documents at several City Council meetings.

The Ojai Valley News has also been performing a major public service by frequently reporting on the issue and its various facets, and publishing letters to the editor about it.

Ojai has done its residents proud by living up to its nickname of Shangri-La (a legendary Tibetan paradise), which it became associated with after film director Frank Capra used an aerial shot of Ojai to represent the Shangri-La valley in his 1937 film “Lost Horizon.”    Take a trip to Ojai one weekend to see and experience for yourself what makes this town so idyllic and special.

What actions can you take?

  • Read the Ojai City Staff Administrative Report in support of the adopted ordinance, and share it with others, including friends and family, and local officials, to encourage them to take action to protect their homes, neighborhood and community.  The report and ordinance are fine examples of how a city’s Staff can support its residents and uphold their rights.
  • Refer them to the City of Ojai’s helpful Smart Meters page on its website that offers more details, documents, and information on how to opt out, and responses from SCE and the CPUC to Ojai’s moratorium.
  • For Ojai and Ventura County residents wanting to join or support the Ojai/Ventura County Stop Smart Meter resident group, which is a party in the CPUC Smart Meter Opt-Out Proceedings, please e-mail the group via OjaiCece@yahoo.com.

* In sharp contrast, 9 days earlier, May 20, 2012 marked the City of Burbank and Burbank Water & Power’s draconian opt-out program deadline.  The City of Burbank’s smart meter program, smart meter “option,” and one-time only May 20th opt-out deadline, represent a giant leap backward in history by violating many of our civil liberties, rights, and freedom of choice.  Read our post and BWP Opt Out page about this for more details.

Consumer power puts SCE smart meter fees on temporary hold

7 Jun

SCE is putting orange “Opt Out Customer” stickers on its analog opt-out meters. If you’re an SCE customer, call 1-800-810-2369 today to make sure you’re in the Opt Out program or else SCE is going smart meter you. If SCE refuses to give you an analog opt out, submit a complaint with the Tobin Law Firm (read Post). Photo courtesy of StopOCSmartMeters.com

In addition, Southern California Gas has now become a party to the Calif. Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) opt-out proceedings.  The Gas Company recently submitted its smart meter opt-out proposal.

Because many of us have family and friends in Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas (The Gas Company) territories, here’s an update to what’s happening on the smart meter front for them.

As you may already know, SCE has a flawed opt-out program not just because it is charging fees to opt out of something that its customers never opted into, but also because not all SCE customers are being allowed to have the analog option.

That’s right.  Unlike SDG&E and PG&E’s opt out program, which allows its customers to have the analog meter opt out (for a fee), SCE’s opt out program will only restore the analog meter on the residences of those who had an analog meter before a smart meter was installed on their home, or if the customer has an analog meter and is on the delay-install list.

That’s right — this means if you’re an SCE customer and you had an advanced digital meter that may or may not have an RF component on it on your home before the smart meter was installed, sorry, you are out of luck.  SCE will only give you an advanced digital meter back, not the analog that you may want instead.

Is that fair?  Or unfair and discriminatory compared to the opt out that SDG&E and PG&E have?

This opt-out program, by the way, was approved by CPUC Director Michael Peevey, who was a former president of Southern California Edison and Edison International.  Smart meter opponents see that as a major conflict of interest, and media and consumer groups also have problems with that association.

In addition, while SDG&E and PG&E’s opt-out fees ($75 up front and $10 per month) cover opting out of both gas and electric meters, SCE’s opt-out fees ($75 up front and $10 per month) only cover your electrical meter (because SCE does not offer gas service).

Now Southern California Gas (The Gas Company) is asking the CPUC for approval of a smart gas meter opt-out program.  (Read the transcript of CPUC Phase 2 May 16, 2012 Opt-Out Prehearing Conference, page 8, which has been made available to the public thanks to the Center for Electrosmog Prevention.   Watch video of the conference, where serious health concerns and problems with the opt-out programs were raised, thanks to the Ecological Options Network.)

The So Cal Gas $1 billion smart meter program, by the way, is considered a dumb idea by residents and consumer groups alike because smart gas meters are a total waste of money and unnecessary.  Support TURN’s Stop So Cal Gas Meters campaign to protest, oppose and defeat gas smart meters now.  Sign their on-line petition today.

Back to the SCE problem — with So Cal Gas wanting to have its own opt out program that may involve opt-out fees, an SCE/Gas Company customer could end up being forced to pay double the fees that an SDG&E or a PG&E customer is paying to opt out of both gas and electric smart meters.

Do you also find this unfair and discriminatory?

Consumers Power Alliance, a resident organization funded via donations by concerned residents like you, believes so.   CPA is fighting SCE’s smart meter program and has a legal team that has challenged SCE’s smart meter program and opt-out fees.  CPA consequently filed a protest with the CPUC regarding SCE’s opt-out program and fees.

In response, the CPUC has temporarily suspended SCE’s opt out fees, effective June 4, for 120 days while they look into this matter.  CPA, meanwhile, is encouraging residents to opt-out of SCE smart meters today, and has issued an alert and advice to SCE customers.  CPA is also encouraging SCE customers to file complaints with CPA’s hired law firm (read more below) because these consumer complaints are having a strong effect on the SCE opt out program.

Action you can take?

Please share this CPA advisory below with other family and friends you know who are SCE customers.  IMPORTANT: The advice and recommendations below apply ONLY to SCE Customers (not BWP, GWP or LADWP customers):

1.  (Santa Barbara, CA – June 4, 2012) Per the attached Suspension Notice issued by the CPUC Energy Division, the SCE Advice Letter implementing its Smart Meter Opt-Out Plan, recently protested by CPA , has been suspended effective 4 June for up to 120 days for staff review. As long as this Advice Letter remains suspended, SCE has no authorization to implement the rates or other terms and conditions contained in the Advice Letter.

We currently do not know how this will impact Opt-Out fees for SCE and the Gas Company or the Opt-Out practices by SCE protested by CPA. However, Opt-Outs are proceeding on a District basis…and SCE is continuing to install smart meters like there is no tomorrow.

2.  Opt Out Now

SCE customers throughout the state are receiving Opt-Out letters. They may come certified mail or “critical mail.” The Notices have varying default deadlines, depending on where you live. If you were on Delay Install, you MUST return the form by the deadline noted in the letter, or you will be smart-metered. We suggest that you make a copy of the signed form and return it immediately. In addition, you may call 800.810.2369 – now only between 8 AM and 5 PM. Note: Opt-Out Plans allow you to have the Smart Meter removed at any time for any or no reason, but it may take time to get it removed, and you may have to wait for an analog meter.

3.  Complaints are Requested

Our attorney, Mr. Tobin, recommends that our chances of getting what we want will improve if we provide documented incidents and other complaints to the PUC. Our goals include (a) immediate restoration of meters for those who got smart-metered when on the Delay Install list, (b) reduced fees, (c) Opt-Out Applications on SCE website, (d) SCE should make their website more Opt-Out accessible and post up-to-date information, (e) improve notification procedures, (f) stop installers from forcing installations , (g) impose deadlines for completing restorations, (h) longer hours for calling to Opt-Out,while default installs are happening, and (i) more respectful customer service.

Please email your letters of complaint to Channing at channing@tobinlaw.us with the notation CPA Support – Letter of Complaint, so the law firm can get them in the right hands.

In addition, encourage your friends and family in SCE territory to contact Consumers Power Alliance today, and support their efforts, receive their e-mail updates and alerts, and donate to their Legal Fund.  They can do this by visiting the CPA website for more details at: http://www.consumerspoweralliance.com  or by e-mailing CPA about any questions or complaints at admin@consumerspoweralliance.com

Other resident organizations to support that oppose smart meters and are informing SCE customers about the opt out and actions to take include:

StopOCSmartMeters.com

StopSmartMetersIrvine.com

CenterforElectrosmogPrevention.org

Southern Californians for Wired Solutions: info.scwssm@gmail.com

ThePeoplesInitiative.org

SmartMeterHealthAlert.org

City Council approves Resolution blocking T-Mobile wireless facility in Burbank neighborhood

7 Jun

Council Member Gordon asks City Attorney for assurances that the Resolution will hold up in court.  City Council also sets early August to address the problematic loophole in the city’s wireless ordinance.

Tuesday night, June 5, 2012, City Council unanimously approved a Resolution upholding the denial of a T-Mobile wireless facility at the Little White Chapel on Avon Street in an R-1 (single family household) neighborhood of Burbank.

The Resolution was a follow-up to the May 22, 2012 public hearing in which City Council voted 5-0 to approve the appeal by residents opposing the project, and asked its Staff to come back with a resolution that would support the approval.

The Council approvals on May 22 and June 5th are a welcome victory for residents affected by the proposed wireless facility project who have fought long and hard to protect and preserve their homes, families, schools, the character of and aesthetics of their neighborhood, and quality of life.

To make sure that victory sticks, Council Member David Gordon queried City Attorney Amy Albano repeatedly whether the Resolution as presented will hold up in a court of law if contested.

Dr. Gordon had good reason to question the legal strength of the Resolution.  It did not include a representative summary of the testimony and several arguments and concerns that were raised during the May 22, 2012 public hearing by the appellants, residents and Council Members.

To contrast and compare, the Nov. 22, 2011, “Findings for Denial” that Los Angeles County Counsel prepared in order to support the Board of Supervisors’ denial of a wireless facility project (that had been approved by the Planning Board and then appealed by residents) included points and concerns raised by Staff and residents during the various public hearings related to the project.  Other examples of LA County Board of Supervisors approved “Findings for Denial” were submitted in a Resident Report to City Council and Staff during Public Comment at the May 22, 2012 public hearing.

In response to Dr. Gordon’s questions, Attorney Albano explained that the city’s legal department worked together with the Community Development Department (which oversees the Planning Division) in preparing the resolution.  If the denial were contested in court, she said, the whole of the public hearing, including transcripts of the May 22 public hearing, and documents submitted by residents, would be entered into evidence.   However, she also said what would be challenged specifically would be the Resolution.

So Dr. Gordon asked Attorney Albano again whether the Resolution as is would hold up to a legal challenge in a court of law.  She replied “I believe so.”

Let’s hope that belief is strong enough to prevent any legal challenge by T-Mobile.

Burbank residents of Save Burbank Neighborhoods, the resident group that supported the appeal against the T-Mobile project on Avon Street, thanked City Council for their vote approving the resident appeal.

They also stated how they would like to work with the City in fixing the problematic loophole in the city’s wireless ordinance that has caused so much grief and continues to threaten Burbank neighborhoods.

City Council and Staff informed residents that City Council will take up this issue in early August.

What action can you take?

Join and/or support Save Burbank Neighborhoods today, and keep informed on what you can do to protect our treasured neighborhoods and quality of life.  Go to: http://saveburbankneighborhoods.com

Kudos and congrats again to the brave appellants who challenged the City with their appeal, and raised community awareness about the city’s wireless ordinance flaws.  A big round of applause to the hundreds of Burbank residents who have supported and assisted their efforts, too.

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