Smart Meter Letter to Local Government

This is a very successful example of a letter to send to local government.  Publish an Open Letter to your local government in the local Patch.com or other local news, online or in print.

See this letter to the editor: An Open Letter to the La Mesa City Council: Stop the SDG&E Smart Meters

We encourage you to organize a letter-writing campaign to petition your local city and county governments to adopt an official position against smart meter use in your region, with your state public utility commission. This has made a difference in several states: CA and Maine.

Sample Letter to Your Local Govt

Feel free to highlight, copy and paste this sample letter into a new document to adapt this letter for your own city or county.

City Council
(address)

(Your Name)
(Your return Address)
(Your phone and email)
(Date)

Dear _____________City Council Members,

I am writing to express my concerns related to installations of ‘smart’ utility meters in our City. I support Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP), a new and growing nonprofit organization made up of over a hundred Southern California residents alarmed about the smart meter deployments and a host of problems resulting from smart meters in our communities. We request an immediate moratorium on the installation of smart meters in our City, county, and state, the immediate ability to opt-out, removal of all banks of meters, protection from neighboring meters, and complete dismantling of the wireless infrastructure of the smart grid. Throughout California, cities and counties have joined the call for an immediate moratorium and/or opt-outs, with the current number at 45, including 9 counties. You can find out more about our group at www.electrosmogprevention.org.

Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP) is concerned about the health, environmental, and safety impacts associated with pollution from electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radiofrequency radiation (RF) technologies such as smart meters. We maintain that the smart meter program has been rolled out by SDG&E and other California utilities with little to no public consultation, or even advance notification, and that the program has serious flaws that may impact the health, safety, and financial wellbeing of the residents of our City (and indeed the rest of the state). These problems are not limited to certain regions of the state, but exist in all places where smart meters have been installed. We respectfully ask that you take a prudent, cautious approach and join the current petitions pending before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) by 45 municipalities, Center for Electrosmog Prevention, the EMF Safety Network, and many more. Cities and counties, throughout California, have filed these petitions to protect their citizens, and as a result, the CPUC is starting to take action to ensure public health and safety, formerly overlooked with the smart meter program. We need our City’s voice to be added to this list.

We have a number of concerns in the following areas:

1) Health and RF/EMF Emissions from Smart Meters
The first, and most pressing matter for us is the issue of health. SDG&E claims that the meters are safe because they comply with Electromagnetic Field (EMF) regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). SDG&E also claims that the World Health Organization (WHO) says that EMF exposure is safe. The truth is that EMF has been recently determined by the WHO to be a potential carcinogen [1], and even the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the FCC standards are “thermally based, and do not apply to chronic, non-thermal exposure situations.” [2] The California Dept of Health has expressed concern about rf radiation exposures from smart meters, “The reassurance that Smart Meters emit radio frequency emfs well below cell phones … and therefore should be considered safe, appears to be based upon an incorrect representation of cell phone emf strength that was calculated; not measured. [3] Daniel Hirsch, CA expert on radiation, finds that smart meters may emit up to 160 times the radiation exposure of cell phones. [4]. “SDG&E admits there has been no independent testing of the devices for cumulative impacts, or long term exposure. We are particularly concerned about the impacts to residents of apartment buildings in your town, as some units will have more than two dozen emitting meters installed directly adjacent to their living quarters.

“Many smart meters are close to beds, kitchens, playrooms, and similar locations. These wireless systems are never off, and the exposure is not voluntary. The smart meters are being forced on citizens everywhere. Based on this, the inauguration of smart meters with grudging and involuntary exposure of millions to billions of human beings to pulsed microwave radiation should immediately be prohibited until ’the red flag’ can be hauled down once and for all… The recent determination of the World Health Organization (WHO) to include radiofrequent radiation on the 2B list of carcinogens also applies to devices such as smart meters. Already September 4, 2008, the European Parliament voted 522 to 16 to recommend tighter safety standards for cell phones (Europ. Parl. resolution on the mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010). In light of the growing body of scientific evidence implicating cell phone use with brain tumors, the Parliament said, “The limits on exposure to electromagnetic fields [EMFs] which have been set for the general public are obsolete.”Dr. Olle Johansson, researcher, MD, scientist, expert in rf radiation and health, Karolinska Institute, July, 2011 [5]

Smart meters, which operate 24/7 and radiate modulated microwaves intermittently, can thereforebe expected to be particularly harmful to DNA….There is already evidence that heavy cell phoneusers are more prone to brain cancers…The regulartransmissions from wireless smart meters can be expectedto have much the same effect, with younger people beingmore at risk. The greatest damage from microwaves iswhen the brain is first developing in the [fetus] and thevery young child, when it can lead to autism….There areways in which the modulation of the signal can be changedto avoid this, but in the meantime, the compulsoryintroduction of smart meters can only contribute further toautism on a grand scale. (Andrew Goldsworthy, PhD, biologist, Science Advisor to European Space Agency on the biological effects of non-ionizing andionizing radiation) [6]

Large institutions with a responsibility for human health and wellbeing already admit that there are likely health problems associated with EMF exposure. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) classifies EMF radiation as a hazardous substance. NIEHS advocates prudent avoidance of EMF in the workplace.[7]

The recent Interphone study, a 10-year international study on the safety of cell phones, identified a connection between cell phone use and glioma.[8] There are literally thousands of studies that raise concerns about the health impacts from EMF. Many of these are detailed on the Center for Electrosmog Prevention www.electrosmogprevention.org, EMF Safety Network www.emfsafetynetwork.org, and Smart Meter Dangers www.smartmeterdangers.org sites. In addition, thousands of Californians have filed complaints with the CPUC, utility companies, and CA nonprofits, concerning health (and other problems) resulting following installations of smart meters.

Although the science is far from certain, we feel there is a reasonable suspicion of negative health impacts that may result from EMF in general, and these meters in particular. We would argue that this uncertainty is reason to tread cautiously, not justification for introducing millions of new sources of EMF into our communities and onto our homes.

2) Smart Meters: The Wrong Kind of Green
The California utilities claim that the smart meters will reduce our carbon footprint and help address global warming. There are many claims these days that products or services are “green” and will help to address climate change. We feel that a healthy degree of skepticism is needed to separate real environmental solutions from false ones. From the evidence we have reviewed, we feel like the smart meter program falls into the latter category. Michael Neuert, an electrical engineer with nearly 20 years of experience in home energy use and efficiency, in addition to other experts, describes evidence that smart meters may actually increase carbon emissions. Especially, we do not need a program that claims to solve one problem while burdening our citizens with horrific new problems, including health risks and many reports of direct harm.

3) Privacy and control issues
There are a number of concerns about data privacy and the potential for hackers to fiddle with our electricity supply. There are a number of articles and resources here:

http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/03/09
http://www.sott.net/articles/show/209844-Smart-Meters-Raise-Privacy-Concerns
http://consumercal.blogspot.com/2009/09/emerging-privacy-threat-posed-by-smart.html
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/03/smart_meters_confirmed/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8N7_iryR1A&NR=1

4) Billing issues
Overbilling issues have occurred, and with the California utilities constantly changing stories as to the degree and causes of the problems. Now SDG&E claims that the new meters are more accurate than the old ones and that is the reason people are receiving higher bills.

5) Fire and Electrical Safety
There have been a number of reports of smart meters malfunctioning, shorting out and catching on fire. They also have been known to interfere with AFCI’s and GFCI’s- safety devices intended to prevent electrical fires. Here is one report from Bakersfield: http://www.bakersfield.com/news/business/economy/x1685665931/Vacuum-shop-fire-raises-SmartMeter-questions

6) Open Democracy and Public Process Concerns
We believe that serious questions need to be asked about the lack of public consultation and notification, given that this is a new, untested technology, with emissions that may be linked to the development of cancer and scores of other biological effects supported by independent research, with environmental testing waived by the CPUC. The public was never asked whether we wanted this new system, and now we are being told we can’t opt out. That is not the way a participatory democracy is meant to function.

7) Utility Franchise Violations
We urge the Council to directly request that SDG&E cease meter installations and allow opt-outs freely, within City Limits. We also believe that the installation of wireless repeater boxes on county/city-owned land as part of the smart meter program is inconsistent with the City’s current utility franchise agreement.

In summation

To sum up, we urge the City Council to take prudent action at this time to defend the health, safety, and economic well-being of the citizens of our City and add to the numerous petitions to the CPUC for opt-outs and a moratorium on the smart meter program until such time as these questions are resolved. In so doing, you would join a growing number of cities and counties throughout California who are standing up to California utilities, including Santa Barbara, Piedmont, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Cruz Counties, Berkeley, Bolinas, Camp Meeker, Sausalito, Scotts Valley, Capitola, Sebastopol, Fairfax, Monte Sereno, Cotati, and others. As awareness of the problems with the smart meters spread, we expect to see more local governments join the call for a moratorium. To learn more about the 45 California governments on board now and to view their petitions, please visit http://stopsmartmeters.org/how-you-can-stop-smart-meters/sample-letter-to-local-government/ca-local-governments-on-board/.

The town of Fairfax in Marin County has taken one of the boldest stands yet against PG&E’s smart meters, passing an ordinance banning the devices and taking PG&E to task for violating that town’s franchise agreement. See SFGate article at:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/06/BU6M1EPHUK.DTL#ixzz0vs9d2XXx You can also download the ordinance at: http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/ There is an excellent video of the council meeting in which many of the issues with smart meters are raised in a public forum, available online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyRkHBOKaNA
There are relatively minor consequences for putting the brakes on the smart meter program. However, the consequences of going forward with potentially injurious and inaccurate meters could be much more serious. We believe enough evidence exists to halt the program and exercise the Precautionary Principle.

Again, we thank you for considering this issue with the seriousness it deserves, and for taking reasonable steps to protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of the citizens of our city /county.

Sincerely,

Your Name

[1] http://www.scribd.com/doc/61286259/Radiofrequency-Radiation-2B-Carcinogen-WHO-Press-Release-No-208-5-31-11
[2] http://www.emrnetwork.org/position/noi_response/noi_epa_response.pdf
[3] California Department of Public Health (CDPH), letter to CCST, Jan. 2011, http://www.ccst.us/projects/smart2/documents/letter3.pdf Rick Kreutzer, M.D.
[4] http://www.smartmeterdangers.org/index.php/ten-things-you-should-know-about-wireless-smart-meters/85-smart-meters-worse
[5] http://www.scribd.com/doc/59738917/Dr-Johansson-s-letter-re-SmartGrid-Smart-Meter-dangers-to-CPUC-7-9-2011?in_collection=3023557
[6] http://www.mcs-america.org/August2011pg234567.pdf
[7] http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/library/consumer/hazardous.cfm
[8]http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/59296/title/Interphone_study_finds_hints_of_brain_cancer_risk_in_heavy_cell-phone_users

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Copyright Center for Electrosmog Prevention 2011-2012