California power shut-offs pose fire risk due to Smart Meters

In the report I released this summer on Smart Meter fire and electrical hazards, I explained the dangers which electrical surges pose to digital electronic meters.

This week PG&E will activate Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) in many California counties. California utilities SoCal Edison and SDGE may also activate PSPS. Afterwards, companies will re-energize those transmission lines, causing surges to flow down the lines. These surges will impact the Smart Meters installed on homes and buildings throughout communities, as well as those installed on utility poles for cellular equipment — small cell towers. These surges could cause Smart Meters to malfunction, leading to electrical damage or even fires.

California residents:

Please send my report and this alert to California officials and local and state emergency personnel. State emergency personnel must be apprised of this fire and public safety risk. Also, let your neighbors know.

If you have a Smart Meter or other digital meter, when the power shutoff occurs, it’s a good idea to turn off all your breakers and your main breaker, and check your meter after the power is restored before turning on your breakers. Be alert to any signs of damage, overheating, or fire at the meter or in your home or building, strange sounds, such as buzzing, or electrical problems such as flickering lights.  If you see or hear any signs of malfunction or fire, contact your fire department immediately first and take photographs of any visible damage.

Smart Meters do not have a direct connection to ground, a circuit breaker, or adequate surge protection. Instead, they contain a varistor which wears out over time from repeated surges. When it wears out or if a high voltage event happens, including a surge over its maximum, touching wires, or a lightning strike, it will explode, allowing the overvoltage to flow unabated into the building. This can result in arcing, burned wiring, destroyed appliances and electronics, and fires, and it happens in seconds. It makes a popping sound when it explodes.

It is critical that emergency personnel understand the risks to the buildings in each community from these PSPS events and why fires and electrical problems can result. PG&E and other utility companies routinely tamper with fire scenes by removing Smart Meters, in violation of state procedures. Fire personnel must stop utility companies from removing meters so that a thorough investigation can happen. Inadequate fire codes and lack of training for fire personnel on Smart Meter vulnerabilities presently hamper data collection and accountability. This must change.

PSPS are dangerous for other reasons including the short warning period, PSPS also impact wells and water access for humans, livestock, and for fighting fires, disconnect critical medical devices, shut down air conditioning and refrigerators – especially critical for the elderly, those who are ill or disabled, and families with babies and children, shut down electricity to hospitals and urgent care centers, and can impact transportation infrastructure. PSPS shuts down communication for those who have shifted from dependable copperline POTS corded phones, to wireless communication – VoiP or cell phones – or cordless phone equipment. This is unsafe.

The so-called “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” policy must be re-examined now.

PDF: Fire and electrical hazards report


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California PUC directs utilities to expand Energy Atlas — disaggregated energy data “to reveal previously undetectable patterns” online

From California Public Utilities Commission

California Smart Grid:
2018 Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature

Released February 2019

p. 29

Energy Atlas: A Geospatial Tool to Combat Climate Change

Since 2014, the CPUC has been part of a group of state and local agencies to support the development of the Energy Atlas, a geospatial analytical tool developed by UCLA’s California Center for Sustainable Communities Institute of the Environment. The Energy Atlas is the largest set of disaggregated energy data in the nation, and uses energy consumption data at the building level, combined with public records, to reveal previously undetectable patterns about how people, buildings and cities use energy. The tool helps regional planners and decision makers more effectively target energy program interventions and develop policies to mitigate and prepare for climate change. Originally limited in scope to Los Angeles County, CPUC Decision (D.)18-05-041 (Ordering Paragraph 32) directs the utilities to expand the Energy Atlas to all IOU territories statewide.101. 102

[101] Please see the following link for the text of D.18-05-041:

[102] The Energy Atlas is a free, public tool that is available at

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Oregon: Portland starts charging fines for missing Home Energy Scores

From the City of Portland:

July 12, 2019

City to start charging fines for missing Home Energy Scores

The Home Energy Score requirement went into effect January 1, 2018. Since then, more than 13,000 homes have received a score.

City staff regularly review real estate listings to ensure they include the Home Energy Score and a link to the online Home Energy Report. While a majority of home sellers have complied with the Home Energy Score policy, some listings are still found to be missing the required information.

To date, the City has sent a warning notice to home sellers when their home is observed to be out of compliance. If the listing agent’s email address is publicly available, the City also sends a courtesy notice via email to the agent or their office so that they may assist their client in correcting non-compliance.

Within the next few months, the City will begin issuing fines to home sellers that remain out of compliance. The initial civil penalty is $500, and the City can issue additional penalties if the violation continues.

Homebuyers can use Home Energy Score information to better understand the full costs of home ownership and compare their choices. The report recommends the most cost-effective improvements to save energy – and money – on their utility bills.

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Aclara admits Smart Meters will provide detailed information on you and your home

For years, utility companies and regulatory commissions have denied that Smart Meter “aggregate” (or bulk) customer energy data could be broken down to provide details of what is used in a home or building. And for years, security experts have demonstrated the opposite is true: Smart Meter data can be disaggregated, decoded to show the individual appliances being used, and also show when a person is home and even who is home.i

Now, in the blog article below, Smart Meter manufacturer Aclara has admitted: disaggregation and use of private energy data can be done and will be happening “soon.”

Aclara claims the public wants this invasion of privacy. Really?

Through Smart Meters, utility companies and all their partners will be inside everyone’s home, constantly observing, evaluating, and recording individuals and their families, what they’re using and doing. It is as if PG&E, SCE, Duke, Consumers Energy, PECO, CMP, APS, and other companies installed video cameras in every room of every building, watching and recording, down to the “bad flapper valve in the toilet”.i

“This is technology that can pierce the blinds,” said Elias Quinn, author of a 2009 smart grid privacy study for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.ii

That’s what a Smart Meter does, connected to other devices and sensors in a Smart Home, in a Smart City. In 2012, former CIA Director David Petraeus said the Internet of Things is great for surveillance.iii

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Canada: Experts call for delaying 5G deployment due to health risks

This press briefing preceded a medical symposium May 31, 2019  on electromagnetic sensitivity and treatment options. More information on the symposium at

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California: The Utility Reform Network (TURN) honors cell tower promoter Sen. Ben Hueso as “Public Health Champion”

From TURN, Winter 2019

Though TURN was n early champion of communities in fighting  Smart Meters, that support disappeared after TURN’s Michel Florio was appointed to the CPUC. CPUC-PG&E emails released after several lawsuits showed that Florio helped judge shop for PG&E in a proceeding, and also talked about tin-foil hats in reference to the public.

Sen. Ben Hueso co-authored California Senate Bill 649 in 2017 to take away local government control over cell towers in the public right of way, and to allow these “small cell” towers along streets and sidewalks, next to homes, schools, hospitals, parks and throughout communties,

Hueso and co-author Asm. Bill Quirk did give firefighters an exemption from having these small cells on their fire facilities due to the health effects but ignored the considerable testimony by members of the public disabled by electromagnetic sensitivity from current emissions levels, and the impacts of  increased exposure, the access barriers to their homes and communities, and costs to the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill after the legislature approved it.

Sen. Ben Hueso is TURN’s Public Health Champion.


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New report: Fire and electrical hazards of Smart Meters and digital utility meters

Smart Meters and other digital utility meters are electronic devices which vary considerably from traditional analog electromechanical meters. Differences in design and function, including basic design flaws ignoring National Electrical Code rules, create an enormous fire and electrical hazard in every community. Deaths, injuries, and property damage have occurred in the U.S. and internationally as a result of these electronic meters.

This week I released a 50-page overview  on the fire and electrical hazards of Smart Meters, ERTs, AMI, AMR, PLC and other digital utility meters used in the U.S. and Canada. Fire season is here, and with it, even greater risks to the public. Most people are unaware that the most preventable fire hazard may be these meters on the side of their homes and every building in their community, and on utility poles for cellular equipment — small cell towers.

These issues and vulnerabilities include:

  • Inadequate surge protection
  • No direct path to ground
  • No circuit breaker
  • “Catastrophic failure”
  • Overheating
  • Inferior materials
  • Faulty remote disconnect switches
  • Circuit boards
  • Meters don’t fit sockets
  • Thinner meter blades
  • Malfunctioning temperature alarms and sensors
  • Switching mode power supply (SMPS) surges and transients damaging appliances and electrical equipment
  • RF signal and transients routed onto building wiring
  • Interference with AFCIs/GFCIs
  • Flammable Lithium batteries in digital electric, natural gas, and water meters
  • No Protective Device Coordination Study
  • Poor installation quality and Inadequate installer training
  • Vibration and heat caused by RF emissions
  • Violation of FCC Grants of Equipment Authorization

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