WatchSonoma Watch

Tea Party group takes aim at PG&E SmartMeters


PG&E’s SmartMeter program took a beating at a Tea Party gathering in Cotati on Wednesday, with speakers calling the technology a threat to public health, personal privacy and consumers’ budgets.

“The more you find out about this, the more scared you are,” said Rob States, a Bay Area mechanical engineer and clean energy activist.

About 150 people attended the meeting sponsored by the North Bay Patriots, part of the national Tea Party Patriots.

PG&E was invited to make a presentation, but decided not to take part, said utility spokesman Jeff Smith.

“We concluded it would not be the best format for us to connect with our customers,” he said.

Wednesday’s event was the latest in a series of public relations headaches for the utility, which is installing more than 7 million of the wireless meters at customers’ homes and businesses.

On Tuesday, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a one-year moratorium on SmartMeter installation, saying there needs to be more study of the risks. The symbolic vote is not expected to halt the program, however.

At Wednesday night’s meeting in Cotati’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium, States and two other anti-SmartMeter activists urged PG&E customers to resist the technology.

“It allows PG&E to literally look inside your house,” said Jeffry Fawcett, a radio host and holistic health educator. It also permits the utility to charge more for energy during periods of peak demand, he said.

SmartMeters and other kinds of wireless equipment produce harmful radiation, said States. Many studies link cancer and other diseases to electromagnetic exposure, he said.

With a SmartMeter on every home, “there’s no safe place in your neighborhood,” he said.

PG&E’s rollout violates the Constitution, said Jed Gladstein, an attorney, author and radio blogger.

“SmartMeters are the sharp end of a very long spear pointed at your freedoms,” he said. He urged a wave of citizen lawsuits challenging the program.

PG&E disputes those kinds of charges, Smith said.

“A great wealth of scientific evidence demonstrates that the RF (radio frequency) in SmartMeters is safe,” he said.

The SmartMeter program is designed to give consumers more control over their electrical usage, not to spy on them, Smith said. “We take the privacy concerns of our customers very seriously,” he said.

25 Responses to “Tea Party group takes aim at PG&E SmartMeters”

  1. Whistler says:

    There is buzz about that PG&E just bought smartmeters.com for an undisclosed some, but thought to be in the millions.. surely their comments were not that damaging.

    have always found it to be a great source of news, but what’s going to happen now?

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Spitfire says:

    Ann writes ” Marin county has put a moratorium on the smart meters. PG&E is not allowed to install them anywhere in Marin county. That should get you thinking, why are they doing that. They say it’s because they want PG&E to do more research on the meters to make sure they are safe because at this point they are not sure that they are. hmmmmm just something to think about, and they are not the only city to turn the smart meters down.”

    My response to this is that these county and city officials are being bullied by these “greenies” who twist the truth and use every tactic under the sun to get their way. AND our so called representatives are too busy worrying about their political careers to stand up to them so they just give in.
    It is really pathetic.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Tea Party says:

    This fledgling group will be counseled I am sure. These silly tin foil hat issues sometimes grab a well meaning group by their emotions and mis lead them. This not a Tea Party issue, it is a silly, petty, local issue. Your bad.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  4. 6Blade says:

    This is how they SPY! Precise, Direct Feedback to PG&E. They know when you wake up in the morning. They know when your coffee maker kicks on. They know you have a 1000 watt microwave and not the 1500 watt. They know how you heat your house. They know when your on vacation, when you goto work, get home. SOMEONE knows when you get up to take a piss in the middle of the night. Every watt is accounted for and when!

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  5. Inside9 says:

    Here’s the most recent in-depth analysis of SmartMeter radiation dated Jan 1, 2011 for those wanting to read science and who are need more than the pained accounts of people sickened by the Meter. Its 67 pages plus tables which must be opened individually. By the way, state PUCs just assumed the meters “are safe” and no health safety studies were performed. The conclusions presented here support their removal.


    I hope some of you readers are PG&E or CPUC involved so you’ll receive the studies you never performed.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  6. Chris says:

    I can honestly say that my electric bill has been a bit lower since they installed the meters. No one has had issues in my family, everything has seems fine!

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  7. bats555 says:

    Instead of PG&E spending money implementing these smart meters, I think they would better serve the public by spending their money on keeping the gas pipeline infrastructure safe. “Better serve the Public” is probably not a consideration on their part though.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  8. Inside9 says:


    WIRELESS so-called ‘smart’ meters installed on our homes are no different than having transmitting and receiving antennas installed onto our roofs.

    Everything is miniaturized today, but these WIRELESS smart meter antennas can transmit through mountains and smart meter manufacturers advertise that capability.

    WIRELESS smart meters include TWO antennas, a transmitting antenna and a receiving antenna.

    We don’t see the antennas because of their size and PG&E is able to locate them both inside the housing of the WIRELESS meter, but they are there just the same as if they were mounted on our walls or on our roofs.

    …and the bad news is that WIRELESS smart meters emit PULSED radiation, the type that is extremely dangerous to cell biology, rather than steady signals, which seem to do considerably less damage than Pulsed.

    That is why PG&E continues to advertise the AVERAGE signal strength, rather than the PULSED signal strength, because they don’t want us to look up what the strength of the PULSE can do to the brain cells of our children.”

    Above Comment Respectfully Borrowed from RobertWilliams

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  9. Greg Karraker says:

    I have absolutely no problem with the threat of EMF being emitted by Smart Meters. That’s the province of the tinfoil hat folks in the Nuclear Free Zone of Sebastopol.

    I have no problem with premium pricing during peak hours. That’s just the free market using supply and demand.

    I have a huge problem with the PUC deciding how much energy it is appropriate for me to use, then using the Smart Meter to regulate my energy consumption. It has been mentioned more than once that this is a function that has been built into these gizmos, and unless that is proven to be untrue, I want no part of them.

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  10. Reality Check says:


    //you need to understand studies have proven this technology . . . //

    What studies? I keep asking that question. None are ever cited.

    For what you to say to be true means that an awful lot of other people are liars. PUCs across America have determined electronic meters to be safe. Are they all part of a conspiracy?

    The federal government sets a limit below which it says radio waves are safe. Smart Meters are nowhere close to that limit. Is the federal government wrong? Could be, that’s for sure.

    But, please, cite me some of those studies that “prove” what you say. Oh, the last response I got to that request was a link to a You Tube video.

    BTW, I live in Santa Rosa.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  11. Inside9 says:

    Reality Check, you need to understand studies have proven this technology is much more insidious than your average wiring or emf emitting appliance. It is demonstrated that people who have never experienced symptoms of electro sensitivity before are suffering debilitating symptoms in the presence of 24/7 SmartMeters. You wouldn’t speak so smugly from your perch in “Oregon” if you knew these people. And by the way, studies have also shown that 3% of the population is electrosensitive. That amounts to over 1 million people in California. I know quite a few who were able to live relatively normal lives until SmartMeters sent them scampering and others who did not know they had any problem until a meter was attached to their house. Its pretty sad.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  12. Ann says:

    To my knowledge this group is not a tea party. I have checked their website and nowhere on it does it state that they are a tea party or that they are connected to a tea party.
    I really would like to know where the writer of this article Steve Hart got the idea that they where a tea party?
    To my knowledge it is not the tea party that is fighting the smart meters. I thought it was people worried about their health, the types who don’t use cell phones or microwaves etc. and people truly concerned with any one having too much control over your life.
    We are supposed to be a free country with a constitution that should be followed. Remember freedom isn’t free so I think people have a right to ask questions of PG&E and speak out about their concerns.

    Marin county has put a moratorium on the smart meters. PG&E is not allowed to install them anywhere in Marin county. That should get you thinking, why are they doing that. They say it’s because they want PG&E to do more research on the meters to make sure they are safe because at this point they are not sure that they are. hmmmmm just something to think about, and they are not the only city to turn the smart meters down.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  13. Goodbye Rita says:

    The North Bay Patriots held a meeting that examined a controversial issue that may have lasting harmful effects on individual citizens. Whether you believe there may be health issues from the meters, or if you think that looking after your costs and privacy is your own job and not best left up to a monopoly utility provider or the government, as altruistic as they may seem, it is nice to have a forum to learn and to make informed choices.
    All people were invited to attend, even those that may have different opinions!The meeting was open to our diverse community of individuals.Some of us believe once meter installation is complete, our energy costs will go skyrocketing upward, and we will recieve more advertising from our data being shared, such as energy use in the middle of the night-sleepaid companies will pay for that information.Also, who is to say that remote shutdowns or hacking will not occur? Why wouldn’t a PG&E representative attend?
    At least this group of individuals cares
    enough about future generations to take an interest in guarding our rights and freedoms. We were founded as a democratic republic which needs a watchful citizenry to be maintained.
    Mock, misinterpet and malign all you want
    but don’t come crying to me when you electric bill is $500.00 a month.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  14. Reality Check says:


    >>Don’t they deserve some alternative?

    Alternative about what? The EMFs emitted by an electronic meter? OK. Let’s say PG&E offers to let you keep the analog meter if you pay the cost of sending a meter reader to the scattered homes who want keep their old meters. Would you be willing to pay that cost? Works for me.

    But, and this is where I get lost, the EMFs from Smart Meters are trivial compared to the bathing we get from the wiring in our homes, other appliances, radios, cell phones, etc. If EMFs are making people sick, they need to move far out into rural America, well beyond the power grid.

    The waves from an electronic meter, should you be standing within 10 feet of it when it broadcasts for 45 seconds each day, is 1/1000th of a single cell phone call with the handset held to the ear. Why is this device causing so much ruckus when others are, presumably, so much more harmful?

    As to choices in life, we have many, but they are not infinite. We all have to sometimes live with things the way they are. Alas.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  15. Inside9 says:

    Reality Check – You seem to get off on my lack of power and choice in the situation as do most PiGEs. Actually my major complaint from the start has been that I know too many people who are suffering from health problems obviously brought on by this particular device attached to their homes 24/7. Don’t they deserve some alternative?

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  16. NickS says:

    The Tea Party cracks me up. They are all over the place. “Cut Taxes! Eliminate Smart Meters!”

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 17

  17. verne williams says:

    Its NOT REAL TEA PARTY activists. These are just progressives trying to make the tea party look as idiotic as themselves.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

  18. Steve Humphrey says:

    Only in the California Bay Area would the local chapter of the Tea Party drink the same kool aid as the rest of the loonies.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 11

  19. Reality Check says:

    @NOTUTO, prime-time pricing is the policy of the PUC. Your beef is with the government.

    I probably won’t like it either when it goes into effect. But, from an efficiency standpoint, it makes sense. Cranking up that old, inefficient power plant on hot afternoons costs more and emits more pollutants.

    Charging more at certain times has merit, if reducing air pollution and CO2 is of any interest to anyone.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 16

  20. Reality Check says:

    @Inside9, internet spying? As in reading what’s posted on public websites? Come now. That’s not spying. Hyperbole like that does not give opponents to electronic meters much credibility.

    Given the illegal activities of some opponent groups, such as blocking public access to PG&E bldgs and installer parking lots, so workers can’t drive to the job site, PG&E would seem to have a legitimate interest what hostile action is planned next. If anyone is behaving badly here, it’s opponents to electronic meters.

    @Hammer, PG&E is a monopoly under the regulation of the PUC. They have authorized the installation of electronic meters. Your beef is with the government. In any case, the meter is not yours. It belongs to the company providing you with electricity. You get to choose whether you wish to connect to their power grid. If not, pull the plug. You’ve never had a choice about what meter the company uses to record usage. You don’t now.

    Tens of millions of electronic meters are being installed around the word. The advantage of not sending out a meter reader each month is clear and substantial. Electronic meters were installed in my home in Oregon 6-7 years ago with nary a complaint or problem. PG&E’s mistake was in thinking Californians were more receptive to technology.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14

  21. NOTUTOO says:

    @ Reality Check….They used to be able to only tell that you used energy. Now they can tell when you used that same energy and charge you more for it if it was used in a high demand period…It was in the story.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  22. The Hammer says:

    Where is it written that the Calif. PUC has any control over the public. There are a State agency that controls public utility companies.

    The first line on the CPUC website states this: “The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies.”

    If Joe Public doesn’t want the SmartMeter, then please show me where he can be forced to have one installed.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

  23. Inside9 says:

    “Reality check”, you obviously know little about what’s gone on with PG&E’s smartmeter program. The spying I referred to was extensive internet spying done by the now unemployed director of the program. He was trying to quell consumer distrust in PG&E. The lack of communication and information led to consumers’ looking closer at the program and finding there were no environmental study, there is no safety data, there are no studies of the equipment and customers are told we are shoving this down your throat by PG&E reps.

    The international pro smartgrid website smartmeters.com have extremely negative comments about PG&E and fears PG&E is ruining any semblence of confidence in the smartgrid. They say:

    “Attitudes need to change at all levels here, from the Board Room to the Bath Room. Consumers need options and education and not

    “PG&E, need to get a grip of themselves.”

    Unfortunately, we are currently in their clutches.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

  24. Reality Check says:

    Smart Meters as a tool for spying! Now that’s a new one. Tell me, please, just what secret information might PG&E find out about you that they don’t already know? This is, after all, a meter that records your use of electricity.

    In any case, I wish opponents of electronic meters would at least get right who’s responsible for the program. It’s not PG&E. It’s the California Public Utilities Commission and the voters of California who passed AB32 to reduce CO2 emissions. PG&E is required to play along with the program.

    In the words of Winston Churchill: “The best argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter.”

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 17

  25. Inside9 says:

    PG&E management feel its their duty to spy on customers especially those nasty anti smartmeter activists. Internal emails handed over to the CPUC reveal that PG&E enjoyed spying on customers and even chuckled over the private data shared via their email system.

    Now its time for these boys to greater access through these meters? Uh-Uh!!

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 15

Leave a Reply