FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Joshua Hart
Monday January 30, 2012 Spokesperson, Stop Smart Meters!
CPUC TO VOTE WED. ON FLAWED SMART METER OPT-OUT POLICY
Critics say Extortionate Fees are Illegal; Entire Program Should be Scrapped
San Francisco — The California Public Utilities Commission—whose members are appointed by the Governor, not elected by the people—is set to vote on a plan this Wednesday to charge Californians hundreds of dollars per year simply to retain standard electric and gas analog meters on their homes.
The vote comes amidst a growing controversy over the health impacts, safety, and privacy violations of the meters being deployed in California and around the world. Opponents point to widely reported health symptoms as one reason for the lack of public acceptance of smart grid technology- a movement which has frequently flared into open rebellion, and say that fees are only being implemented to tamp down a wider rejection of the meters. Studies done by the utility industry indicate that if the opt out were free, 40-60% of ratepayers would choose to take advantage of it. A large proportion of households deciding to opt out could lead to a possible collapse of the wireless mesh network that utilities like PG&E have already spent billions of ratepayer dollars on, so far with little but customer complaints to show for it. Electrosensitive individuals are opposing the fees, comparing the policy to charging disabled people to access a wheelchair ramp.
“Charging people with electro-sensitivity-who cannot tolerate smart meter radiation- extra on their utility bills, simply because the utilities neglected to consult with their customer base prior to roll-out, is extortion (a kind of “protection racket”) and violates the state utility code prohibiting discrimination based on disability. Once again the PUC is failing to put public safety first, and Governor Brown’s appointees are apparently no exception,” said Joshua Hart, Spokesperson for CA-based StopSmart Meters!