WatchSonoma Watch

PG&E surprises Huffman with a SmartMeter

Jared Huffman

Public officials are often assumed to be insulated — by their position and privilege — from the issues that plague ordinary citizens.

Not so with Democratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman and SmartMeters, the wireless devices that PG&E is clamping onto North Bay homes and businesses amid protests that their low-power radio waves are a health hazard.

Huffman said a digital meter was affixed to his San Rafael home without notice. “I came home one day and it was on,” he said.

An environmental attorney before he was elected to the Legislature in 2006, Huffman said he is “comfortable that the SmartMeter is safe for me and my family.”

But he also knows that his district, covering Marin and southern Sonoma counties, includes outspoken SmartMeter critics who have questioned the accuracy and safety of the devices.

So Huffman said he was under no illusion that a scientific study released this week would settle the matter, despite a finding that SmartMeter emissions fall far below the safety standards set by the federal government.

Translation: SmartMeter opponents may not invest complete faith in either mainstream science or the government.

Opponents will also grasp that the study conceded there could be some other harm from the radio waves other than “thermal effects,” which refers to heating of human tissue. What that harm might be the scientists could not say, nor could they rule it out.

So Huffman still thinks the solution is to develop an alternative smart meter that uses telephone or power lines — rather than radio waves — to transmit data to PG&E.

Two footnotes:

1. PG&E has installed about 123,000 electric and natural gas SmartMeters in the Santa Rosa area, accounting for three-fourths of all meters.

2. Cell phones, microwave ovens and Wi—Fi routers emit radio waves similar to SmartMeters. The science report said exposure from a SmartMeter is 40 times higher than a router, and a microwave is five times higher than a SmartMeter.

Exposure from a cell phone held at the ear is 25 times higher than a microwave.

— Guy Kovner
The Press Democrat

18 Responses to “PG&E surprises Huffman with a SmartMeter”

  1. Angie says:

    How come no one ever mentions anything about the 100′s of meter readers who are losing their jobs because of Smart Meters. It truly is terrible.

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  2. Susan Foster says:

    Assemblyman Huffman – Until your bill offering a RETROACTIVE opt-out clause is passed, I would suggest you purchase a Louisville Slugger at a local sporting good store in case you and your family start getting headaches and wake-up wide-eyed at 3:00 AM every morning. I’m not suggesting you bash in your smart meter. I’m just telling you where you can buy a Louisville Slugger. Respectfully, Susan Foster (San Diego)

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  3. RobertWilliams says:

    PG&E actually pays shills to enter comment sections.

    William Devereaux, Senior Director of PG$E Smart Meter Program was already forced to resign on ethics violations.

    The entire Corporate PG$E are guilty of morality and ethics violations, but they are still operating and CEO Darbee takes $10 million per year.

    Their shills do it for peanuts.

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  4. RobertWilliams says:

    To commenter “Homer”

    The manufacturers of the WIRELESS smart meters advertise that they can go long distance through mountains.

    No one has to get close to get a reading. They travel one mile or more and then they are re-transmitted by meters on other homes that receive them and re-transmit them. It is what PG&E refers to as the “Mesh Network.”

    The one watt rating is NOT the relevant measurement for signal radiation impact.

    The WIRELESS meters send 25,000 or more pulsed signal radiations per day. PG&E attempts to minimize that so PG&E says it only sends 45 seconds per day. But as each transmission is only a couple thousandths of a second long (a pulse), then that indicates the 25,000 pulses and they occur throughout 24hours.

    25,000 pulsed signal radiations that can go through mountains and are persistent 24/7 are not particularly friendly to new-borns that are dependent on millions of tiny bio-electric signals from the brain directing their cells for growth, development and survival.

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  5. valeri hood says:

    Dear Jarred-
    the same thing happened to Jeff Kroot-San Anselmo council member, after he spoke out as the lone voice against smart meters at a council meeting several months ago.
    Hang in there- get them to take it off- They are probably hoping that you will give up after you have one yourself. Don’t let them get away with it- the criminals!!

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  6. Inside9 says:

    Thanks Mr. Huffman! Hopefully no one in your family will experience the bad physical symptoms which 3% of the California population are more prone to in response to 24/7 pulsed radiation. There is no need for Californians to be the subjects of large scale experimentation. The non-thermal negative effects are well documented. We are bio-electric organisms Lets take a break from this virtually useless reckless tech flex.

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  7. Bruce Schadel says:

    Most scientists are motivated by a desire to discover truth and knowledge. Personal wealth is unlikely to follow unless you manage to win a Nobel Prize. Perhaps that’s why a few are corrupted by vested interests willing to pay them for favorable studies. So it’s sad that so many people, even well educated ones, dismiss all scientists as elitists and charlatans. Add to that the fact that most scientists are more than willing to admit that they don’t know everything so they let themselves be rolled over by people that are louder but don’t really understand what they are protesting.

    Electromagnetic radiation is in no way related to nuclear radiation. Electromagnetic radiation consists of discrete photons which have energies related to their wavelength. Stay with me here; it’s not that hard. Low-energy (long wavelength) photons are harmless unless there are enough of them to heat up something that absorbs them. Think microwave oven. But if the photons have high enough energies, any one of them can break a molecular bond, meaning it can damage DNA. Those dangerous photons (in the UV, X-ray and gamma-ray region) are far, far above the currently-used radio spectrum.

    So I don’t worry about wifi, cell phones or smart meters. I do worry about UV from the sun and medical/dental X-rays. Because every X-ray or UV photon has the potential to kill me I’d like to minimise the number of those I am exposed to. -b-

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  8. Dan says:

    Huffman is an ultra left wing pol whose goal is to replace Lynn Woolsey. Watch him and Evans fight it out for who will be the front runner. It will be interesting to see which one tacks to the middle and which one runs to port. If we could only get a moderate here.

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  9. Reality Check says:

    Surely, the PD is joking. Given the faux hysteria and wide publicity about the PUC’s and PG&E’s Smart Meter program, I doubt anyone could be surprised to find one day that a new meter had been installed.

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  10. Tom Drumm says:

    If the meters are so dangerous, what about the electricity? I suggest hats made of aluminum foil.

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  11. Grey Whitmore says:

    Dear Mr. Hartnett,

    Thank you for your letter.

    We can accommodate your request but it will result in discontinuation of your electrical and gas services.

    How would you like us to proceed?

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  12. Homer says:

    Frequencies in the UHF range were broadcast up to 15,000 watts for decades. Not to mention the fact that the meter operates on TCP/IP, so unless the host is requesting information, it does not transmit. At just over a watt it would have a relatively short range and would still require a meter reader to go to relatively close proximity to the meter to retrieve info. This would result in maybe a few milliseconds of transmission.Baby monitors operate at this same frequency and output.

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  13. Kara Kilgrave says:

    As the baby boomers grew up, their motto has changed from “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” to “Don’t trust the experts.”

    The shouters of the old phrase have learned from their mistakes now that the alchemy of the calendar has converted them into the untrustworthy.

    Determined never to make that mistake again, not trusting the experts is absolutely safe. Nothing, neither the passing of time nor exposure to information will convert these shouters to experts in any subject that might conceivably be useful.

    He can’t be the single best Assemblyman and hold so tightly to a contradiction of reality that his public position on the issue here so clearly demonstrates.

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  14. W says:

    I believe the frequency ranges are also unlicensed (as in, they don’t require a license from the FCC to operate on the 33cm band).

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  15. Michael Hartnett says:

    Please remove the untested unwanted smartmeter from our home herein Rio Nido ASAP seemingly it is making us all ill!!!It was NOT ordered by us nor wanted in our home! REMOVE IT PG&E taking away our choice is a direct violation of our civil rights! You will have a class action if our’s is not immediately removed!

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  16. Commander Bunny says:

    ^Actually, they’re using the 33cm/900MHz spectrum that was used by Ham operators.
    A pager is nothing but a reciever, as in, it does not transmit.

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  17. RobertWilliams says:

    Huffman Deserves Better.

    He is the single best Assemblyman in the State of California.

    He is intelligent and he attempts to make appropriate decisions for the people, and that is exceptional amongst the other politicians holding office in California.

    He deserves to have that wireless meter removed from his home.

    PG&E Corporate have less morality and have committed greater crimes than most of the inmates in prison.

    Hang in their Huffman. There are plenty of people who quietly appreciate you and you give them hope.


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  18. rick says:

    Mr Huffman,
    the smart meters are using the old “pager” frequencies. remember when every drug dealer and teen had a pager? i clipped mine on my front pocket so everyone could see and hear it. i was still able to have children who turned out pretty smart. so all the fear mongers, get a life. find a new cause. they are wasting our time.

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