No straight answers from SCE on SmartMeter rollout (by Cindy Sage)





The following Op Ed is from Cindy Sage, owner, Sage and Associates, an expert on RF and EMF. Cindy consulted for the city of Mission Viejo, at our citizen request, on excessive EMF emitting from the Edison Viejo System Project running through the northern section of Mission Viejo. Ms Sage issued her project evaluation in her July 26, 2006 report to the city.

OP-Ed by Cindy Sage, Sage Associates.

Montecito Messenger

July 7, 2011

No Straight Answers from SCE on Smart Meter Rollout


Tuesday’s packed Board of Supervisors meeting was a wake-up call to our elected officials and local environmental groups that people are worried about many aspects of the so-called ‘smart’ meters from both SCE and PG&E.

After sales-pitch presentations by both utilities, it is clear that there were few straight answers from either Ken DeVore of SCE, or the PG&E representatives.

Ken Devore is the head of the SCE SmartConnect program in southern California. Devore is SCE’s go-to guy on smart meter questions. He said that smart meter installation will not take place here on the south Coast before 2012. SCE delayed its original date of May-June 2011 in our area.

So, when local residents countered with testimony and photographs of smart meters that have already been installed without their knowledge or permission – some within the last few weeks, DeVore categorically denied they exist. CORIX, SCE’s installation subcontractor denies any knowledge of these mysterious new wireless meters. So there is no confusion, these are operating wirelessly (we measured them). Some carry the FCC Identification TEP-AIRPT622, the SCE brand called FOCUS. Maybe it’s the meter-fairy at work.

Despite DeVore’s assertion that the ‘SCE process’ is to notify residents before installation (door-hangers to alert them to contractors coming onto their properties to replace their electric meters with wireless meters) this clearly has not happened, if you believe our local residents. And, you can be sure that raises the ire of these folks, listening to SCE talk to our Supervisors about how well their public notice and outreach programs will work.

Worse, DeVore said that SCE has no opt-out program in place, and SCE does not intend to institute one. Meanwhile, SCE is installing smart meters on a random basis in Hope Ranch, Sycamore Canyon and Montecito while denying that this is occurring.

SCE recently rebranded its product, calling it an automated electronic device. This sleight of hand (or mouth) distances SCE’s rollout from the horrendous publicity PG&E generated from the botched public relations campaign during its smart meter rollout. A name change isn’t going to do it.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck….you know the saying. A rose by any other name, or … a wireless meter is still a wireless meter. SCE can dance around that but no one is fooled.

The CPUC has told PG&E to come up with an opt-out plan. They have, but it costs plenty. Why should residents have to pay to get out of a program they never wanted, couldn’t prevent, and now are being told to pay the high initial fees, then monthly fees, and then exit fees. It is a failed corporate plan, but the CPUC may stick consumers with all the costs. Double financial jeopardy? Pay for it, then pay to dismantle it?

If the CPUC ever gets around to mandating an opt-out plan for SCE, how many new meters will be installed by then? Right now, you have no recourse but to put up a couple of signs saying “No Smart Meters” and put Granny on the porch.

Serious questions exist about the apparent conflict of interest between SCE and the CPUC, which ostensibly regulates investor-owned electric utilities in California. The president of the CPUC is Michael Peevey. From 1995 until 2000, Mr. Peevey was President of NewEnergy Inc. Prior to that, Mr. Peevey was President of Edison International and Southern California Edison Company, and a senior executive there beginning in 1984. How can anyone believe that Peevey is able put the interests of consumers in California above those of SCE or any other electric utility?

Peevey should be replaced or retired. His baggage is too heavy, his reputation too tied to SCE, and he exerts a chilling effect over the Department of Ratepayer Advocates. That is a watchdog group housed under the CPUC. Insiders at DRA say that with Peevey’s presence and attitudes, little support can be mustered for a fair opt-out plan or a moratorium on future meters.

Cindy Sage, MA, is the owner of Sage Associates, an environmental consulting firm in Montecito, CA. She is an expert on electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation health and policy issues. She is the co-editor of the BioInitiative Report and author of Tragedy of the Commons Revisited: Wireless World in Reviews on Environmental Health.

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