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Will Smart Meters Electrify Topanga?
April 19, 2012 - By Annemarie Donkin
PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTHERN CALIF EDIISON
Residents are encouraged to fight against the RF-emitting smart meter rollout in the Canyon.
Filmmaker Elizabeth Barris moved from Santa Monica to Topanga to get away from the smart meters in her building that she said caused her massive headaches, nausea, heart palpitations and insomnia.
Soon enough, however, she learned that Southern California Edison (SCE) already had begun its rollout of smart meters in Topanga in February by placing collector meters at various spots throughout the Canyon.
Horrified, Barris, the director of Peoples Initiative Foundation, rallied a group at Yoga Desa on April 1 to unify and fight against this installation with direct mail, e-mail and petitions.
Barris said that smart meters have been implicated in serious health effects, such as cancer, heart arrhythmia and heart attack, birth defects and diabetes.
Additionally, she asserts that smart meters are an invasion of privacy regarding how the utility companies collect information.
According to her new website (www.thepeoplesinitiative.org) the WHO/IARC (World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer) ruled electromagnetic fields from non-ionizing radiation emitting devices, to be a class 2 B carcinogen, which means they might cause cancer in humans, joining a list including, but not limited to: lead, dioxin, chloroform, ethylbenzene and HIV.
Its illegal to force a carcinogen on the public, Barris said. The success of the smart grid and smart meter rollout is dependent upon the public being uneducated and uninformed of the physical harm smart meters cause and the invasion of privacy they implement.
Barris writes on her website that the smart meters operate in mesh networks, transmitting radiation in millisecond pulses many times a minute throughout the day and night.
According to her research, 51 cities and counties in Northern California have criminalized installation or called for a moratorium.
Nobody is looking out for our own interests, she said. We have to take matters into our own hands.
During the meeting, Barris showed a powerful film detailing a much-publicized campaign in Santa Cruz where PG&E customers rallied against smart meters and insisted on going back to their analog meters, citing harmful health effects and inaccurate energy bills.
It is continuous exposure, 24/7, and the public is not being informed of this, Barris wrote on her website. Paid for by our tax dollars and an increase in utility rates, smart meters (otherwise known as Advanced Digital Electronic Meters and other various new names industry now tries to disguise them under) are being forced on the public by the utility companies with no temporary opt outs available until we can get this dangerous technology banned; for public health and safety, we need to retain and restore our analog meters, which have been proven totally safe and reliable.
Others in the group agree with Barris that they need to inform the Canyon of this rollout before its too late.
Its about the most evil thing they could do, said holistic practitioner Gail McDonald-Tune, who is also actively fighting against smart meters. If we are not going to do this, who will?
McDonald-Tune suggested that concerned people should purchase an industrial strength lock for their analog meters, preventing them from being removed by SCE.
She said such locks can be purchased online from Economy Lock and Key at (707) 579-3183, at www.freedomtaker.com.
But, make sure they can read the meter otherwise they can cite you for vandalism, said McDonald-Tune. Dont do anything stupid.
Sherry and Bob Jason of City Hearts are also very concerned about the installation of smart meters on their home in Topanga.
Hold on to your analog meters at all costs, Bob Jason said.
SCE Delay List
Although you currently cannot opt out of smart meter installation, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which regulates SCE, is currently considering implementing opt-out provisions for California residential customers.
If such a provision becomes available in the future, SCE will work with our customers who wish to opt out, says the SCE Website.
Furthermore, customers who want to opt out may be included on a Delay List that allows SCE customers who do not yet have a smart meter to postpone installation while the CPUC considers implementing an opt-out provision for residential customers.
According to some research, while smart meters do emit Radio Frequency (RF), they do so at roughly 1/10 of the strength of a cell phone and are much less dangerous than a microwave oven.
There is a lot of hype and misinformation out there around smart meters, wrote Urs Baur of the Topanga Film Festival. I am very interested in this issue and I would consider myself fairly informed on the matter; so far I have not come across credible, founded evidence that confirms any serious health risks associated with smart meters.
Baur also wrote that smart meters are essential in implementing the next generation electric grid technologies, also known as smart grid.
It is a fact that smart grid brings great environmental benefits: Reduced greenhouse gases, reduced burning of fossil fuels and enhanced integration of solar and wind power, Baur wrote in an e-mail. For operators and the customers it will allow for adoption of residential time-of-use pricing and demand-response programs, which are nearly impossible to deliver seamlessly and automatically without fully enabled smart meters. (See Baurs letter, p.2).