or Electrosmog Prevention (CEP) has filed a Motion for the CPUC judge, Amy Yip-Kikugawa, to broaden the scope of the proceeding to include safety. CEP is a California-based nonprofit and formal participant in the Smart Meter Opt-out Proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
[CEP’S MOTION TO INCLUDE SAFETY IN SMART METER OPT-OUT PROCEEDINGS:]
BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Application of Pacific Gas and Electric Company for
Approval of Modifications to its SmartMeter™ Program
and Increased Revenue Requirements to Recover the Costs
of the Modifications (U39M).
(Filed March 24, 2011)
And Related Matters. Application 11-03-015
CENTER FOR ELECTROSMOG PREVENTION MOTION FOR CONSIDERING THE
REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 451 ON THE MATTERS INCLUDED IN THIS
California Public Utilities Code section 4511 (Section 451) requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC or Commission) to consider risks and hazards to the public. This proceeding has not taken evidence concerning the safety of smart meters installed in California.
The Commission adopted a Safety Policy Statement of the California Public Utilities Commission on July 10, 2014, stating that: “The CPUC’s overall mission is to protect consumers and ensure the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy economy.”
(page 1 citations)
1 California Public Utilities Code section 451:
“All charges demanded or received by any public utility, or by any two or more public utilities, for any product or commodity furnished or to be furnished or any service rendered or to be rendered shall be just and reasonable. Every unjust or unreasonable charge demanded or received for such product or commodity or service is unlawful. Every public utility shall furnish and maintain such adequate, efficient, just, and reasonable service,
instrumentalities, equipment, and facilities, including telephone facilities, as defined in Section 54.1 of the Civil Code, as are necessary to promote the safety, health, comfort, and convenience of its patrons, employees, and the public. All rules made by public utility affecting or pertaining to its charges or service to the public shall be just and reasonable.”
Specifically the Safety Policy said: “Commissioners commit to do the following:
• Certify through signature on Scoping Memos that our proceedings cover key safety and resiliency questions that will be answered during the course of the proceeding.”
PU Code section 963(b)2 states that gas customers must not be charged separate fees to receive safe, basic gas service. Yet customers who opt-out of having a smart gas meter installed and instead have an analog meter, are being charged an installation charge and a monthly fee.
The amended scoping memorandum for these proceedings issued on June 8, 2012, does not address the Section 451 requirements. But, there is ample time to add these important considerations to these proceeding since Decision (D.) 14-07-017 recently extended the statutory deadline to resolve them until October 4, 2014.
The issues remaining to be addressed before the extension of the statutory deadline were identified during the evidentiary hearings held in November 2012. These issues included the health effects of smart meter electromagnetic emissions and the rules for allowing communities to implement smart meter opt-out policies.
CEP recommends that the Commission issue a new scoping memorandum describing the process for addressing the risks and hazards presented by the smart meter deployment. This could include additional evidentiary hearings. This process should begin immediately because the statutory deadline expires in two months.
(page 2 citations)
2 “(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) In order to ensure that all core customers of a gas corporation continue to receive safe basic gas service, each
existing gas corporation shall continue to provide this essential service.
(2) A customer shall not be required to pay separate fees for utilizing services that protect public or customer safety.
(3) It is the policy of the state that the commission and each gas corporation place safety of the public and gas corporation employees as the top priority. The commission shall take all reasonable and appropriate actions necessary to carry out the safety priority policy of this paragraph consistent with the principle of just and reasonable cost-based rates.”
/S/ August 1, 2014
Attorney for Center for Electrosmog Prevention
Thus far, the CPUC steadfastly refused to include health and safety in the scope of any smart meter or smart grid proceeding. However, in the wake of severe criticism by the state legislature over lax policies and procedures at the CPUC that did not consider safety, leading to the deaths of 8 people and injuring 66, leveling 38 homes in the San Bruno Gas Pipeline explosion of 2010, the CPUC promised on July 10th, 2014, to include safety in all its proceedings, henceforth.
Interestingly, the CPUC is said to have assigned the same judge to the San Bruno Gas Pipeline Proceedings, Ms. Yip-Kikugawa, who denied safety was within the scope of the smart meter opt-out proceedings, previously. Federal criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric have been levied in the past week, with a city of San Bruno lawsuit unearthing unsavory emails between top staff at the CPUC and PG&E, showing how CPUC’s staff – some of the same that have frustrated those with smart meter complaints – have acted like they were protecting PG&E when its alleged negligence caused deaths and destruction in San Bruno. A cozy relationship between the CPUC staff and the utilities has certainly been noted by those concerned with the harm being perpetrated by smart utility meters, which the CPUC has refused to consider safety for, in the past. Now, “the Commission adopted a Safety Policy Statement of the California Public Utilities Commission on July 10, 2014, stating that: “The CPUC’s overall mission is to protect consumers and ensure the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy economy”” (from the CEP Motion).
The many tens of thousands of people who have repeatedly told the CPUC that smart meters made them ill would agree – safety must be considered in an opt-out proceeding where fees being charged to opt-out are being considered for fairness, particularly for the medically ill or electrosensitive, whose doctors tell them to get the smart meters removed from their property. The hundreds of independent physicians and scientists who are experts in wireless, radiofrequency radiation and health, who have repeatedly told the CPUC that smart meters are dangerous – and were ignored – would agree. Those who insist they cannot find a safe place to live now, due to the health effects from the smart meter deployment, would agree.
Safety is an intrinsic component that must be considered, as it is illegal in California to charge an extra fee for safety when receiving utility services. It is illegal to charge disabled people an extra fee for differential delivery of services to accommodate a disability. It is also illegal to harm the public! The safety of smart meters MUST be fairly and fully considered in the smart meter opt-out proceedings, in a timely manner. Judge Yip-Kikugawa has postponed the smart meter opt-out proceeding for a year and a half. This is unsafe for Californians, and unfair to those who must pay fees (or can’t pay them), in order to try to avoid harm. As with San Bruno, the life and health of Californians are at stake – in the hands of state CPUC officials who many believe behave like corporate puppets – and now, with the revelation of emails that prove it, and CPUC’s promise to reform – we demand that safety be included in the smart meter opt-out proceedings.
Read the Motion to Consider Safety:
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