August 25, 2012
As regular readers know, I have been fighting the 'smart' meter war out here in Texas. Not only against the powerful utility companies and TDSPs (those corporations install and maintain equipment for the big power companies), but also the Texas Public Utility Commission. The past 14 months has been a nightmare.
Our group of petitioners (191) have done two separate petitions to the TPUC. You have to go the administrative remedy route before you can file a lawsuit. The first petition was denied over language deficiency. The second one was not. It was denied because the PUC has a different petition for an opt out. What they decided was to ignore our concerns about known health risks in our petition in favor of playing in their sand box. Abuse of discretion.
Every time I have to go to Austin (four trips now), it's a six hour drive each way so that means hotel, gas and food expenses. None of which I should have to spend if the TPUC had done their job years ago. The Texas Public Utility Commissioners are all political appointees by Gov. Ricky Perry. Their salary is paid for by our tax dollars. They are supposed to work for us, yet they have allowed the TDSPs to run amok in this state for years.
On July 13, 2012, after the three commissioners denied our second petition, we were herded down the hall. I did stand up and ask the commissioners if I could make a statement. Nope. Shut up and follow one of their staff down the hall.
At the end of about three hours of angry people venting and PUC staff and lawyers taking flak, we were told the Gods from Olympus would "allow" us to have a workshop on August 21st.
There we could bring witnesses! Put on a full show!
I walked out knowing it was a trap and told our petitioners it would be nothing more than another chew the fat session while they stall for time. The PUC allegedly has been working on an opt out for quite a long time. It was my decision as lead petitioner that we would not be putting on a full presentation with our expert witnesses (one we have to fly out from British Columbia) because their workshop has no legal teeth.
About two weeks later, the workshop morphed into an Open Forum from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Then, I find out its not even going to be at the PUC building. As an invited speaker, I wasn't even notified of that little detail. Good thing we check the PUC's web site leading up to one of their "events".
Then, on the Friday before the newly minted Open Forum on August 21, 2012, I received the final schedule from the PUC.
Eleven invited speakers (like me) were being given a whopping 5 minutes to speak! Then the general public who have signed up will also be allowed to speak for 5 minutes. I wanted to know what was the hurry? Well, it seems the PUC commissioners had other things to do later in the day.
Most of us had to drive long distances to attend. For five minutes of speaking time. But, I did attend and I did speak. Those commissioners must have been shocked by the number of people who showed up on a workday. So many, they had to use two overflow rooms where folks could watch on a screen.
What did I say in my whopping five minutes? Here it is:
In the limited time I've been given, I will address two things:
First, as we know, it was never the intention of the Texas Legislature under HB 2129 to force any rate payer in this state to have a 'smart' meter installed on their home or business. Rep. Dennis Bonnen, author of the triggering legislation made it abundantly clear to the commission in his two letters earlier this year.
On page 3 of the bill, specifically under Sec. 6, Chapter 31, Sec. 31.005 Customer Option Programs, item 5, it reads "....a program that encourages the deployment of advanced electricity meters." One sentence.
On September 8, 2011, Chairman Nelson [she is still the current Chairman of the TPUC] testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC. I will quote from your testimony: “State legislation has encouraged the implementation of advanced metering.”
Citing from the document 'Former Chairman Barry Smitherman spoke at the Harvard Electricity Policy Group' regarding the smart gird, Smitherman said in part about HB 2129 : “...the legislature encourages the adoption of these technologies by electric utilities in this state.”
On page 11 of the Report to the 81st Texas Legislature by the PUC – A Report on Advanced Electric Metering as Required by House Bill 2129, September 2008, it reads: “HB 2129 did not require that advanced meters be deployed by utilities in Texas – deployment is voluntary.”
The PUC's Project No. 31418 approved May 10, 2007, makes it abundantly clear deployment of those meters would be voluntary for the utility companies.
There is also no federal law forcing anyone to accept a 'smart' meter on their home or water meter. The power companies and TDSPs were given the authority to deploy those meters, but were not required to use that new wireless meter.
The power companies and TDSPs could see the boat loads of money flowing in for those meters and decided to force rate payers to accept those meters whether they wanted them or not. In my 21 years as a full time activist, I have never seen the corporate thuggery and outright lies and threats by corporations as I have seen over those meters.
ONCOR, in writing, threatened to turn off my power with no notice for refusing installation; I still do not have one. You are aware of the circumstances of my case, so I won't take the time to recount my entire horror story and panic. As my husband is 100% disabled, until I could retain legal counsel I was terrified ONCOR would shut off my power and my husband would die during the night since he depends on a machine to breathe.
It is remarkable how the PUC has allowed such thuggery to continue to this day.
Second. The only thing we have ever wanted is a formal public hearing in front of you commissioners with an Administrative Law Judge to bring forward credible medical and scientific evidence those 'smart' meters are dangerous to humans, animals and the environment. Short and long term health risks.
The provable health risks are well known and documented in thousands of papers and opinions by experts around the world who have studied RF and EMF non-ionizing radiation emissions for decades.
It is beyond comprehension how the issue of the public's health and safety has been treated so cavalierly. I would think the utility companies, the TDSPs and the PUC would welcome a full formal hearing.
If everyone is so convinced those meters are so safe, why not hold the hearings? I have heard the excuse the hearing would cost too much money. That is a red herring. You're all on salary as are many, if not most of the PUC staff.
This building and the PUC building are already built and equipped for a full formal public hearing. It's all of us petitioners who have had to spend our money, many of us on fixed incomes, to fight this by hiring an attorney and these numerous chat sessions.
At that point, I was cut off by the young man with the stop watch. Time's up! The lady sitting next to me, Thelma Taormina, Founder & Chair of We The People Are The 9-12 Association, Inc., (Houston) said she would give her unused time over to me so I could complete my statement.
Nope. If anyone wanted to give some of their time to another speaker they had to do that during the sign up period. Why didn't I act surprised? Because we've been yanked around by those people for months.
What I didn't finish saying was:
If there's nothing to hide regarding the safety of those meters, why not grant our petition and hold the hearing? The opposition to those meters is growing and will continue. Refusing to allow for a public hearing simply reinforces the belief by the public there is something to hide.
Thank you for the time. [End]
As planned, Thelma Taromina, her husband and I left after I gave my statement. We had a meeting with our new legal counsel. Many of you know my dear friend and our attorney when this all started, Tommy Cryer, passed away unexpectedly on June 4, 2012, from a heart attack in his sleep. It's taken a while, but I feel our new legal counsel will be a fine advocate for us. I will be updating my web site soon with that new information.
What's the next step? Because we still didn't have a lawyer at the time and I only had 20 days to file, I retained the services of a great paralegal firm who work with a group of lawyers; they prepared the next document. I filed a Petition for Rehearing, August 1, 2012. Those arrogant PUC commissioners haven't bothered to respond and likely won't, so we will be filing an appeal in State District Court in Austin. We have excellent grounds for the appeal. Should we be denied by the Appeals Court, we then go to the Texas Supreme Court.
If they deny us, that is the end of that process and we will not be given a full blown public hearing in front of those commissioners and an administrative law judge. I firmly believe the reason the PUC, the utility companies and the TDSPs don't want a hearing is because they know at this point in time the power companies jumped on the band wagon only to discover they've been riding a garbage truck. We're talking massive liability here and huge dollar losses should we prevail with our class action law suit. It will be difficult to find a jury of 12 that doesn't have a 'smart' meter.
They can listen to how they were tricked into getting those meters and not given even a luke warm warning about the known health risks, i.e.:
Sworn Declaration of Dr. David O. Carpenter, M.D., Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences within the School of Public Health. Formerly Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Albany and Director of the Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research of the New York State Department of Health. United States District Court – District of Oregon – Portland Division – June 2011
"Exposure to EMF has been linked to a variety of adverse health outcomes. The health endpoints that have been reported to be associated with ELF and/or RF include childhood leukemia, adult brain tumors, childhood brain tumors, genotoxic effects (DNA damage and micronucleation), neurological effects and neurodegenerative disease (like ALS and Alzheimer's), immune system disregulation, allergic and inflammatory responses, breast cancer in men and women, miscarriage and some cardiovascular effects. The strongest evidence for adverse health effects of EMFs comes from associations observed in human populations with two forms of cancer: childhood leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in occupationally exposed adults.
"There is suggestive to strongly suggestive evidence that RF exposures may cause changes in cell membrane function, cell communication, metabolism, activation of protooncogenes, and can trigger the production of stress proteins at exposure levels below current regulatory limits.
Resulting effects can include DNA breaks and chromosome aberrations, cell death including death of brain neurons, increased free radical production, activation of the endogenous opioid system, cell stress and premature aging, changes in brain function including memory loss, retarded learning, performance impairment in children, headaches and fatigue, sleep disorders, neurodegenerative conditions, changes in immune function (allergic and inflammatory responses), reduction in melatonin secretion and cancers."
"The media-promulgated notion that the relevant scientific studies are inconsistent and inconclusive is false and misleading. Chronic exposure to PM MW radiation harms every individual in a population in some ways, even if these are not always detectable by the individual or consciously attributed to the responsible RF/MW radiation sources. This Agent injures some individuals into a condition in which symptoms will be more easily retriggered with subsequent exposure. And for a priori susceptible individuals and those using electronic medical devices, it can respectively exacerbate the extant medical conditions and disrupt medical device operation, even to the point of death. Bassen 1997 discusses the hundreds of excess deaths, even at that time, from wireless communications radiation. See also Radiofrequency Interference with Medical Devices, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine."
Overloading of Towns and Cities with Radio Transmitters: A hazard for the human health and disturbance of eco-ethics. Karl Hecht, Elena N. Savoley, IRCHET International Research Center of Healthy and Ecological Technology, Berlin, Germany
“Essential Findings after Long-Term EMF EF Effect Objectively gathered findings: neurasthenia, neurotic symptoms, EEG changes (decay of the alpha rhythm into the theta rhythm and isolated delta rhythm), sleep disorders, deformation of the biologic rhythm hierarchy, disorder in the hypothalamohypophyseal adrenal cortex system, arterial hypotonia, more rarely arterial hypertonia, bradycardia, or tachycardia, vagotonic displacement of the cardiovascular system, increased susceptibility to infection, hyperfunction of the thyroid, potency disorders.
“System Subjective Complaints: exhaustion, lack of energy, daytime tiredness, quick tiring under stress, constriction of physical and mental ability, concentration and memory decline, cardiac pain, heart racing, weakness of concentration, headaches, lightheadedness.
“Animals and Plants are Also in Danger
“Animals and plants are also very negatively influenced by this high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. In the case of cows, reduction of the milk yield and malformed offspring have been proven. Graver for humankind could be the death of bees observed everywhere due to the electro-smog contaminated environment. When the bees are dead, people not only have no more honey, but also no more fruit, because pollination of the flowers is impossible without bees. Humankind stands today before an important decision."
I've also read pleas from dog owners out in California who don't know what to do. A 'smart' meter gets installed and their dogs suddenly begin barking incessantly while running in circles. Their vets don't know what to do. As we all know, dogs have acute senses of hearing and smelling. Poor little muggers. Thankfully, my dogs seem to be okay, but I don't have one of those meters on my house.
We also intend to sue the power companies and TDSP's for a number of things. Here in Texas, the TDSPs have lied to the public about those meters being mandatory. See Rep. Dennis Bonnen's letter to the TPUC back in March. He wrote the bill. They have lied on their web sites and in correspondence to rate payers like me. ONCOR threatened to turn off my power with no notice.
Those TDSPs employees climb people's fences, cut locks on people's gates and in one case, physically assaulted one of our petitioners, Thelma Taormina.
I have also started the ball rolling to sue the power companies, the TDSPs and the manufacturer's of those 'smart' meters in a class action lawsuit under the consumer protection safety laws. While it's gotten more difficult according to our new attorney, this might be able to become a national class action lawsuit. We'll see.
We are all victims of this new, jazzy technology. I've said it before and I will say it again: We are not against new technology. I feel blessed to live in a country where I can flip a switch and get heat in the winter and A/C in the summer. However, in their greed, power companies and the TDSPs in this state either ignored all the warnings or they simply don't care. I wasn't given the time to remark on a solution which would be fiber optics. Very expensive, but no known ill effects to humans, animals or the environment. The safety of the public has to come before money. I believe in responsible stewardship of our land and resources. In this particular case, health and privacy have been flushed down the toilet for money.
If you would like to make a donation to our legal defense fund, it is appreciated. 100% of all donations have gone to our late attorney and now to our new attorney. No salaries, no expenses for me or any of our petitioners. While people make jokes about lawyers, there's nothing funny about trying to fight corporations with millions of dollars and $500 an hour attorneys stacked ten feet deep. I believe we will win in the end, but this war is just heating up and it will get ugly because of all the money involved. The TDSPs here are whining about the cost of an opt out, which is not acceptable to our group. An opt out is a buy out for the power companies and TDSPs.
The "deployment" of those meters is on-going in many states and it will come to yours if it hasn't already started. Those 'smart' meters that don't save energy and increase your monthly bill are critical for the 'smart' grid and all part of Agenda 21.
The open forum event can be viewed here. You need Real Player. My statement is at 47:06 into the video. At 2 hours, 34 seconds, Curtis Bennett gives his statement via Skype from British Columbia. He will be one of our expert witnesses if we ever get the public hearing. Curtis is an expert on liability when it comes to 'smart' meters on buildings. I've been watching the video. There was no shortage of cheerleaders for those meters and they all said the same thing: 'smart' meters are safe.
If those 'smart' meters are so safe, why is the Texas PUC fighting us so hard from having a public formal hearing?
In the document below, it states about 3% of Californians suffer from EMF sensitivity. When you consider California's population is 37.7 million people, you're talking over a million people.
"A. The Commission Has Long Acknowledged And Acted Upon Public Concerns About The Health Impacts Of EMF But Never Found the Utilities’ Wireless Mesh Networks or SmartMeters To Be Safe.
"The SmartMeter program has generated unprecedented public concern about the health impacts of the planned deployment of millions of devices which will expose Californians to a cumulatively immeasurable amount of pulsed electro-magnetic and RF signals. Scores of witnesses have come forth to describe their personal concerns about the program's effect on their own health and decry this development in formal filings and public hearings before the Commission. As set forth below, the concern over the health impacts of EMF is not new or unique to the SmartMeter program. In fact, it has been a documented public health concern known to the Commission for decades.
"As noted by a unanimous California Supreme Court in San Diego Gas and Electric Co. v. Superior Court in 1996, the Commission: “has broad authority to determine whether the service or equipment of any public utility poses any danger to the health or safety of the public, and if so, to prescribe corrective measures and order them into effect. Every public utility is required to furnish and maintain such "service, instrumentalities, equipment, and facilities . . . as are necessary to promote the safety, health, comfort, and convenience of its patrons, employees, and the public." (§ 451, italics added.)
"The Legislature has vested the commission with both general and specific powers to ensure that public utilities comply with that mandate.”
"That electric and magnetic fields (“EMF”) are a recognized public health concern is evidenced by the fact that the Commission has long exercised regulatory authority over various forms of EMF generated by electrical utility generating and transmission equipment. Prior to 1988 the Commission had addressed the issue of the potential public health effects of such fields only on a case-by-case basis. In 1988, however, the Legislature initiated a broad inquiry into the subject. It found, inter alia, that "A number of scientific studies are beginning to indicate that electromagnetic fields associated with electrical utility facilities may present a significant cancer risk."
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"The Commission has received public testimony and formal pleadings during Phase 1 of this proceeding demonstrating that Utility customers suffer significant impairment of one or more of their major life functions due to EMF sensitivity, including seizures, episodic malignant hypertension, heart arrhythmias, severe insomnia, intractable tinnitus, muscle spasms and twitching, migraine headaches, and neuropathy. Hence, individuals with significant or recurrent EMF-induced or exacerbated symptoms qualify for reasonable accommodation under the ADA, when EMF exposure of such individuals interferes with major life functions, such as neurologic function or other major life functions."
That is why we refuse an opt out. Safe? If they're not safe for people under the ADA, why would they be considered safe for the rest of us?
Very important links:
1- 'Smart' Meters & Corporate Thuggery
2- Smart Meters: Correcting the Gross Misinformation
3- Electropollution and the Decline in Health of a Nation
4- Why our world is electropolluted
5- Pediatricians Say Cell Phone Radiation Standards Need Another Look
6- Urgent Warning To All Cell Phone Users
7- Fire Concerns Lead PECO To Halt Smart Meter Installations