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The California Public Utilities Commission today (April 19) approved a plan permitting San Diego Gas & Electric customers to opt out of their wireless smart meters -- at a stiff price. Utilities began installing the meters -- essentially obsoleting the once-ubiquitous meter readers -- four years ago. However, groups such as the Center for Electrosmog Prevention in La Mesa began pointing out possible health risks created by the meters. To opt out, SDGE customers have to plunk down $75 upfront and pay a $10 monthly charge. Lower-income people can pay $10 upfront and $5 a month. Susan Brinchman of the center believes customers should be able to opt out of smart meters at no cost.

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Comments

Burwell April 19, 2012 @ 6:33 p.m.

There's going to be a brain cancer and leukemia epidemic in a few short years unless public outrage puts the kibosh on the Smart Meter. The Smart Meter is a cancer incubator.

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Don Bauder April 19, 2012 @ 6:58 p.m.

That's essentially the position of Brinchman's center as well as some scientists. Others vigorously disagree. Best, Don Bauder

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Susan B April 20, 2012 @ 1:41 a.m.

It should be noted that those vigorously disagreeing are always the ones "on the utility food chain". This could include "bought" scientists, media, and paid shills. Independent physicians and scientists have known this type of radiation is dangerous for decades. Do your homework, please. Here is an example to read, by the American Academy of Environmental Physicians: http://www.electrosmogprevention.org/public-health-alert/aaem-new-position-paper-on-emf-and-rf-health-effects-april-12-2012/. The Reader should really cover this story in a major feature, I have been encouraging this since last summer, but to no avail. WHY NOT? If 50% opted out, there goes the radiation-emitting wireless grid idea! Down the toilet where it belongs. Lawsuits about charging these fees will undoubtedly be filed. Inform everyone you know, canvas the neighborhood with fliers, get everyone to opt-out to reduce radiation in your community. There is an opt-out flier for SDG&E customers at http://www.scribd.com/doc/83836459/Smart-Meter-Flyer-CEP-March-3-2012.

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Don Bauder April 20, 2012 @ 7:50 a.m.

There is no doubt that respectable scientists warn of dangers with smart meters. The same scientists see the dangers in cell phones and the towers. But other scientists don't agree. It's a major controversy, but unfortunately we won't know who was right until several years from now, and then it may be too late. Best, Don Bauder

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mridolf April 20, 2012 @ 7:56 a.m.

Right, bring on the studies. In fact, let's get some 'independent' outsiders to administer the funding of them. Like perhaps UCAN, and Michael Shames? And whom should be paid to conduct the 'independent' studies. Why, disinterested experts, like those on the board of electrosmogprevention.org, I assume?

Gimme a break. This whole issue belongs in the same round file with flouridated water and polio shots. I suggest those persons worried about 'electrosmog' move to a country with lots of undeveloped areas.
Electrosmog. Jeez, I've got to warn my safety department about this one. Thanks for the laugh.

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Don Bauder April 20, 2012 @ 8:02 a.m.

You are quite correct that some scientists consider the people warning of cell phone and smart meter dangers are crackpots. The controversy is hot and will remain so as long as there won't be definitive results (widespread cancer deaths) for several years. Best, Don Bauder

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moonshot April 20, 2012 @ 2:23 p.m.

Let me guess mridolf. You don't have a smart meter installed less than 12" away from where your head rests while sleeping at night? You don't even have a smart meter installed on the 5th floor of your condo? You're a PR rep for SDGE? mridolf, you're welcome to move to an undeveloped country if you wish, I'll stay here in America and help keep Americans free and safe.

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Don Bauder April 20, 2012 @ 3:08 p.m.

You make a point. If you can't afford to opt out of smart meters, do your best to have them located a long distance from the humans. That's just a good precautionary measure. Best, Don Bauder

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mridolf April 20, 2012 @ 4:27 p.m.

Actually, my SDG&E meter is just next to the window of a TV room in my house, and a sofa that I utilize for hours at time. I actually do sleep there at times. I don't work for SDG&E, but I work in the industry, and I see real dangers in my job, (125KV overhead lines, asbestos, who knows what else, maybe even PCBs). I also tested and calibrated microwave hazard meters for 3 years in laboratory power density chambers while earning my electrical engineering degree from SDSU. Believe it or not, electrical workers themselves are always on the lookout for dangers in their jobs. The safety departments are always coming up with something new to watch out for. We don't discount anything. But this one just seems too far fetched, and actually derivative of a general distrust of radio waves themselves, from decades past. So go ahead and do what you think is safe, or not. My real life experience in the industry says this is not a real safety issue.

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Don Bauder April 20, 2012 @ 7:52 p.m.

You are experienced in the industry and do not fear the effects. A lot of people agree with you. Best, Don Bauder

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Susan B April 20, 2012 @ 8:27 a.m.

A study was done to see which scientists disagreed. All of those had conflicts of interest. Read the Santa Cruz County Dept of Health Smart Meters and Health report. There is no true controversy, just one created by industry. http://smartmeterdangers.org/index.php/position-statements/192-santacruz-health-dept-sm-report-position. The results are definitive now, read AAEM review noted above. It is a shame to pretend otherwise.

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Don Bauder April 20, 2012 @ 11:09 a.m.

I have read the Santa Cruz County report and it tends to buttress your opinion of the risks -- no doubt about that. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister April 20, 2012 @ 8:50 p.m.

There is something called the precautionary principle . . .

The track record of the military industrial/commercial complex is not one exactly bulging with cases free of error, dissembling, and outright lies . . .

When one wishes to cite "science," one should have studies to cite which have demonstrated that a new drug or device is safe. That is, any sensible person would conclude that the burden of proof is on the producer to prove safety, not upon the consumer to prove danger.

If one is to claim that those invoking the precautionary principle are kooks, one must have more than opinions to maintain credibility.

Please pursue a course of investigatory journalism accordingly.

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Don Bauder April 20, 2012 @ 10:05 p.m.

I have read both sides of the controversy -- some studies warning of dangers, others dismissing such studies as scaremongering. But I have not pursued so-called investigative journalism on this subject, and haven't claimed to do so. I have just done reading on both sides when preparing a couple of blog items. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell April 20, 2012 @ 11:19 p.m.

The problem with the technology is that it operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A much more reasonable solution is to design the device so that it only transmits the customer's electricity usage one time, at the end of the month. That way the device would only operate for a few seconds instead of continuously. There's a lot of vandalism in my neighborhood. I'm afraid that if the device is installed, vandals will smash it with a hammer forcing SDG&E to bear the cost of replacing the device on a monthly basis.

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Don Bauder April 21, 2012 @ 9:21 a.m.

Yours would seem to be a good solution, Burwell. Does the technology exist? Best, Don Bauder

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