On December 4, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) discussed the proposed decision and alternate proposed decision for the smart meter opt out proceedings. The first three minutes President Peevey describes the proposals and the new change which allows estimated billing and bi-monthly meter reading to reduce costs. [It seems the cost savings will only benefit the utilities, as the opt out fees are still $75/10].
Commissioner Florio suggested local communities should be able to vote on community opt out from smart meters, stating “the Commission can and should honor that [vote]”. He says, “If Fairfax and Sebastopol and a few other places want to be smart meter free zones I don’t think we should override that democratic will of the people in those communities.” He went on to say, “If there are a few small communities that choose to that would be a place where people who really have a problem with the smart meters could live and conduct their lives.”
President Peevey promptly rebukes Florio’s suggestions stating” Seems to me that doing that would only fester and foster and promote more debate and anguish over this issue.” Peevey goes on to decry the voting process, calling it “the height of lack of democracy” and “extremely undemocratic”.
Commissioner Picker, a former SMUD director claims only 50 people opted out in Sacramento, and many of those vocal against smart meters came up from Davis. He referred to community opt out as “bad public policy, bad public health, bad financial planning…unless they [communities] are just going to divorce themselves from the rest of the states’ grid and get rid of all their sources of fugitive EMF and they’re going to figure out how to compensate the rest of us for their additional contributions in terms of air quality impacts.”
Commissioner Sandoval was concerned about people who want a smart meter, and her greater concern is about all the smart meter emissions (she calls “last gasps”) that have nothing to do with energy usage, saying, “they are a source of RF emissions that have no value”. She’s wiling to move forward with approving the proposed decisions, but maybe come back to this if “certain issues arise“.
Peevey mocks the City of Sebastopol saying “[Sebastopol] is a nuclear free zone, and I guess that means that there’s not a single electron from Diablo Canyon that ever crosses the boundary into Sebastopol, it’s a wi-fi free zone downtown, and it would like to ban smart meters and on and on and on”.
Peevey states he’s received the brunt of the negative comments and claims to have been sympathetic in many ways to people. He says PG&E should have handled the issue in a different way, “They [PG&E] chose not to, THAT’S LIFE.”
The vote was moved to December 18, which is Peevey’s last meeting before he retires and the day we plan to hold a press conference and demonstration at the CPUC.