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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).

And Related Matters.

Application 11-03-014
(Filed March 24, 2011)

Application 11-03-015
Application 11-07-020

CENTER FOR ELECTROSMOG PREVENTION COMMENTS ON


PROPOSED DECISION
Pursuant to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC or Commission) Rules of
Practice and Procedure, Rule 14.3, the Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP) submits these
timely filed comments on the proposed decision (PD). Rule 14.3(c) states that comments shall
focus on factual, legal or technical errors in the proposed or alternate decision and in citing such
errors shall make specific references to the record or applicable law.
The PD on page 7 contradicts the statements in CPUC Decision (D.) 10-06-047 on page 2
and D.13-07-024 on page 6 that the health and safety assessments of the smart grid will be
considered in the above captioned proceedings. In addition, the PD on page 7 contradicts the
California Public Utilities Code section 451 (PU Code 451) requirement that the Commission
find that the smart grid is necessary to promote the safety, health, comfort, and convenience of
the regulated utilities patrons, employees, and the public.
Subject Index of Recommended Changes
Recommended Change
Page Number
Not addressing the health and safety impacts . . . . . . . 2
Meter Reading to Reduce Monthly Fees . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Analog Meters the only Option for Opt-Out . . . . . . . . 5
Community Opt-Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Americans with Disabilities Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

CEP PD Comments

Table of Authorities
Cases

D.10-06-047 ............................................................................................................ 3
D.13-07-024 .................................................................................................... 1, 2, 3
D.14-08-032 ............................................................................................................ 5
Markair, Inc. v. CAB, 744 F.2d 1383, 1385 (9th Cir. 1984) ......................................... 2
Statutes

47 CFR 2.801 .......................................................................................................... 6


California Public Utilities (PU) Code 8360-69 ......................................................... 2
California Public Utilities Code section 451 ............................................................... 1
PU Code 328.2(b) .................................................................................................... 7
PU Code 451 ............................................................................................... 1, 2, 3, 4
Section 54.1 of the Civil Code................................................................................... 4
Other Authorities

Safety Policy adopted by the CPUC on July 10, 2014.................................................. 4


the Safety Policy adopted by the CPUC on July 10, 2014 ............................................ 4
RECOMMENDED CHANGES
I.

PD p. 7: "The Scoping Memo expressly excluded consideration of health and safety

impacts of smart meters from this phase of the proceeding.5 Accordingly, we will not
address the alleged health and safety impacts of smart meters here."
This statement is inconsistent with the CPUC statutory mandate1 stated in PU Code 451
which requires any approval of a regulated utility request to ensure that the publics health and
safety are protected. SB 17, codified and chaptered into California Public Utilities (PU) Code
8360-69, states, It is the policy of the state to modernize the state's electrical transmission
and distribution system to maintain safe, reliable, efficient, and secure electrical service
CEP believes that these requirements have not been met, and the CPUC has not required
adequate proof of meeting these criteria.
The PD statement is also inconsistent with D.13-07-0242 because D.13-07-024 depends
upon the analysis of the impacts of the smart grid deployment on public health to take place in
1

Markair, Inc. v. CAB, 744 F.2d 1383, 1385 (9th Cir. 1984)
D.13-07-024, p. 7: On October 3, 2011, assigned Commissioner Peevey issued Scoping Memo and
Ruling of the Assigned Commissioner (Scoping Memo), which set the initial scope and schedule in this

CEP PD Comments

the above captioned proceedings. D.13-07-024 issued in the smart grid deployment plan
proceedings (A.11-06-006, A.11-06-029, and A.11-07-001) approves Smart Grid Deployment
Plans submitted by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Electric Company,
and San Diego Gas and Electric Company pursuant to the orders issued in D.10-06-047. D.1006-047 states on page 2 that: The decision requires that the Smart Grid Deployment Plans
present a vision of the Smart Grid consistent with legislative initiatives. The vision must address
how the plans will enable consumers to capture the benefits of a wide range of energy
technologies and energy management products and services that may, or may not, be provided by
the utility, while protecting consumers privacy. The vision must also discuss how the Smart
Grid will help the utility meet environmental policies already adopted by statute or Commission
action, and promote innovation and competition among companies developing new products and
services.
The statutory mandate of PU Code 451 for the CPUC means that approval of the smart
grid deployment plans by D.13-07-024 states that the CPUC has considered health and has
approved the smart grid after consideration of the health impacts of that program. The
mechanism for reviewing the health impacts of the smart grid deployment plans stated in D.1307-024 was to have the health impacts considered in the above captioned proceedings. But, the
PD states that the health evaluation will not be performed at all.
Therefore, the PD states that the CPUC approval of the Smart Grid Deployment Plans
ordered by D.13-07-024 was made without asking the parties for evidence or arguments
concerning PU Code 451 mandates. The CPUC ordered approval of the Smart Grid Deployment
Plans recognizing that health and safety considerations were required but deferred the review to
the present proceeding. If the decision in the above captioned proceedings is approved, both the
smart meter opt-out program and the Smart Grid Deployment Plans will have been approved by
the CPUC without following its PU Code 451 mandate of determining that the every public
utility shall furnish and maintain such adequate, efficient, just, and reasonable service,
proceeding. Among other things, the Scoping Memo ruled that alleged health issues raised by certain
parties were under consideration in other active proceedings before the Commission, and inclusion in this
proceeding would duplicate that work. The scoping memo in that proceeding stated on page 8 that the
health issues were under consideration in the A.11-03-014 et al. opt-out proceedings.

CEP PD Comments

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.
Every time the CPUC adopts a decision, it is stating that the orders contained therein are
issued pursuant to all of its mandates3 unless the decision specifically states otherwise.
Therefore, the PD statement on page 7 that we will not address the alleged health and safety
impacts of smart meters here means that the discussion wont address health issues, but the
CPUCs statutory mandate means that it is adopting a decision stating that it believes that the
decision is consistent with PU Code 451 together with its statutory and other mandates.
These other mandates include the Safety Policy adopted by the CPUC on July 10, 2014,
that states that the Commissioners: Certify through signature on Proposed Decisions that the
findings, conclusions, and actions laid out in proceedings can meet the CPUCs overarching
goals and expectations, and assure that each vote on proceedings, resolutions, ratemaking, or
other decisions of the CPUC addresses the CPUCs overarching goals and expectations regarding
safety and resiliency. Not considering the health and safety impact of the smart grid is contrary
to these mandates.
II.

PD pp. 46 -47 Alternate Meter Reading Recommendations


CEP disagrees with the PD statement that We do not find such alternative billing

arrangements for opt-out customers to be warranted. And Some proposals would entail
additional utility expenses and/or complexity that seem likely to offset any putative savings (e.g.,
offering customers levelized bill plans with periodic true-ups against the meter, or requiring
SoCalGas and electric utilities to coordinate on meter reads, so that a meter reader from one
utility reads both utilities meters).165 Other proposals, such as permitting emailing photographs
of meters in lieu of meter reads conducted by utility employees, are also rife with the potential
for billing error, or even fraud. However, the regulated utilities have customers who do not

The CPUC is a California governmental agency mandated by the California Constitution, California
statutes, and mandates delegated by federal agencies pursuant to agreements made between the CPUC
and the federal agencies. The CPUC also adopts regulations and policies that it must follow until it
changes them.

CEP PD Comments

have smart meters and who are not opt-out customers. These customers have electric service
locations that are not compatible with the smart meter program. The utility companies incur
increased costs for reading these meters but do not charge these customers an opt-out fee or
monthly meter reading charges.
This misstates CEPs recommendations in its opening brief on page 15 to allow opt-out
customers to provide meter readings to their electric service provider subject to periodic
verification by the utility company. The utility company could send a meter reader less
frequently to reduce meter reading costs. The CPUCs Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA)
(now the Office of Ratepayer Advocates) and others made the same recommendations. CEP
believes that reducing or eliminating major costs in this manner will reduce the financial burden
on those who opt-out. CEP advocates for socializing all costs of opting out as the best interim
solution.
CEP believes that a full independent audit should be undertaken of all utilities with optouts, to determine how meters are being read, and by whom, and what the actual costs are. For
instance, San Diego Gas and Electric uses personnel who are not meter readers, but assigns
meter-reading to others with jobs "in the field", such as bill collectors. A similar audit is now
ordered by Ordering Paragraph 22 of D.14-08-032 concerning Pacific Gas and Electric
Companys (PG&Es) 2014 General Rate Case (GRC).
III. Finding of Fact No. 10
CEP agrees with the PDs Finding of Fact No. 10, that the electromechanical analog
"legacy" meter as the only meter to be used for the opt-outs; this has been one of our suggestions
going back to our original opt-out filings.
IV. Community Opt-out issue
CEP notes that no discussion of the Community Opt-out issue was conducted during this
proceeding, even though it was planned for the second half of Phase Two. The Community Optout issue is important as 57 municipalities, including 11 California Counties (Humboldt County,
Lake County, Marin County, Mendocino County, City and County of San Francisco, San Luis
Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Cruz County, Sonoma County, Tehama County
and Ventura County) , 45 cities, and 1 Tribal Community, representing 3,831,272 Californians4,
are on record as desiring a ban on wireless smart meters within their boundaries, due to very
4

http://stopsmartmeters.org/how-you-can-stop-smart-meters/sample-letter-to-local-government/ca-localgovernments-on-board/

CEP PD Comments

legitimate concerns, especially, but not limited to, health and safety, including fire risk, the many
health complaints following installation of smart meters, and increased exposure to
radiofrequency (RF) radiation (47 CFR 2.801)5 for their populace. In addition, a large number of
smart meters are placed in banks in multi-family buildings, including apartments and condos,
which multiply exposure to RF radiation, exponentially. Some of these are on the walls of
people's homes or in close proximity, including residences of medically ill people, seniors, or
families that may include infants and children, or pregnant women. The safety of increased
exposure to any amount of RF radiation, especially when it is multiplied up into the hundreds, in
some cases, must be considered, in the opinion of CEP. The cost to counties and cities for injured
people may be excessive, and this safety consideration must be thoroughly explored as but one
reason to allow Community Opt-out. Having no discussion at all and ending the Opt-out Phase
Two proceedings after a two year long suspension without reasons being given, when people are
clearly stating that they are suffering and being harmed from unsafe conditions and when
counties and cities wish to protect their citizens from harm and risk is unacceptable and
unconscionable, in the opinion of CEP.
V. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Regarding the application of the ADA and any of the other numerous discrimination
legislative directives found both in California and federal law pointed out in our briefs, CEP
points out that those with any of an extensive list of existing medical conditions are
recommended to reduce and avoid exposure to RF radiation by a large national physicians'
association, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM)6, with nearly 400
members, and other physician associations, such as the American Association of Pediatrics,
based on peer reviewed studies. CEP has pointed out the position of the World Health
Organization - based on peer reviewed studies, many of which were provided to the CPUC
during this proceeding by CEP - and that of the Council of Europe, as a result, that it is advisable
to reduce, not increase exposure to RF radiation due to risks, including carcinogenicity 7 8. It is
not necessary nor is it just, to demand that customers provide peer reviewed studies of smart
meters to the CPUC, while the CPUC ignores the guidance of the world's experts and physician

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/textidx?SID=8e3004540985250c55654c86148aa0da&node=se47.1.2_1801&rgn=div8
http://aaemonline.org/AAEMEMFmedicalconditions.pdf
7
http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf
8
http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/pdfs/20110506-council-of-Europe-emfs-edoc12608.pdf
6

CEP PD Comments

associations, which is to reduce and avoid RF radiation as much as possible. The AAEM, on July
12, 2012, produced a position statement - provided to the CPUC in this proceeding - based on
peer-reviewed studies attached to it, that denounced smart meters as medically undesirable and
recommended that persons with a large number of named medically accepted diagnoses should
not have a smart meter on their homes, due to the increased RF radiation exposure, which may
exacerbate those medical conditions. The CPUC judges and Commission President are not in a
position to ignore the directives of physicians in this regard, as the latter are the trained
physicians with expertise, and the CPUC personnel are not. Those directives are directly
associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other discrimination laws, as many of
those medical conditions are disabling. A vast amount of information has been provided to the
CPUC on these points, which the proposed decisions do not begin to address.
Thus, CEP finds it necessary to point out that both the proposed and the alternate
decisions ignore legislation intended to provide non-discrimination for the medically ill and
disabled. Further, the decisions ignore the right of the general public to health and safety, without
charging extra for this right, which should not ever be treated as a privilege to be paid for. Health
and safety issues may not be placed aside and ignored, neither should the public be forced to pay
extra9.
In addition, this is a matter of public safety, of the highest order, and the CPUC is bound
by its own policies, to consider and protect the public from hazards.
Recommendations
I. Therefore CEP recommends that this proceeding be continued with a consideration of
the health and safety impacts of the smart grid including smart meters. If the CPUC issues a
decision without further consideration of health and safety impacts, including fires determined to
be started by smart meters and fire risks, it is stating that it has considered the record for the
proceeding which includes the health and safety evidence presented by a few of the parties
including CEP, but has not announced to all parties that they also should present health and
safety evidence. The safety of all Californians is at grave risk without following the CPUC's
own policies.
9

PU Code 328.2(b) states: No customer should have to pay separate fees for utilizing services that protect public or
customer safety.

CEP PD Comments

II. Therefore CEP recommends that utilities allow coordination of meter reading within
utilities and between utilities, and allowing customer meter reads with periodic verification by
the utility companies, to greatly reduce costs to the companies and the consumers. CEP still takes
the position that opt-outs should be "free" to all, with socialized payments, if payment is to be
required. However, CEP recommends in the interim, until that can be accomplished, that a means
be identified that will, at the very least, allow utility customers with two utilities, who opt-out,
not to pay more than a customer with one utility. These recommendations would reduce the
costs for all opt-out customers, solving a multitude of ills that now exist within the current optout and which would continue with the proposed opt-out decisions.
III. CEP recommends that a full discussion be held to consider community-wide optouts, taking the health, safety and other concerns of California's counties and cities into strong
consideration - and ultimately providing full relief in the form of granting community wide optouts, because "SAFETY COMES FIRST".
IV. CEP recommends that the proposed decision be amended to include recognition that
the medical conditions named by the AAEM (July 12, 2012) which may be considered disabling,
and those that are not considered disabling, but are medical in nature, are reasons to opt-out
which may be recommended by one's physician, and must be provided with a no-fees opt-out.

Respectfully submitted,
/S/
MARTIN HOMEC
Attorney for Center for Electrosmog Prevention
P. O. Box 4471
Davis, CA 95617
Tel.: (530) 867-1850
E-mail: martinhomec@gmail.com

CEP PD Comments

November 10, 2014

APPENDIX
Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
CEP recommends changing Finding of Fact
13. Intervenors proposals for alternatives to monthly meter reads for opt-out customers entail
additional utility expenses and/or complexity.
To:
13. Intervenors proposals for alternatives to monthly meter reads for opt-out customers entail
additional utility expenses and/or complexity unless the opt-out customer agrees to read the
meter and provide the results to the utilities billing offices in the form and at the times that the
information is requested.
17. The opt-out fees and charges are imposed on all customers, regardless of disability status.
To:
17. The opt-out fees and charges shall not be imposed on all customers, regardless of disability
status, as disabled persons and others may have to opt-out for medical reasons, or for safety
reasons, to avoid risk of potential hazards.
18. Opt-out fees and charges are assessed to recover costs associated with providing opt-out
customers with a different service from the standard service established for utility customers.
To:
18. Opt-out fees and charges will recover costs associated with providing opt-out customers
with a different service from the standard service established for utility customers whose service
location is accessible by the existing smart meter system but not others.
19. Some of the comments submitted by parties fall outside the scope of the issues to be
considered, were previously litigated, or lack sufficient legal or factual bases necessary for their
consideration.
To:

CEP PD Comments

19. Some of the comments submitted by parties fall within the scope of the issues to be
considered, and are being ignored because the Commission has not conducted a health and safety
evaluation of the smart grid, smart meters, or of the tens of thousands of customer complaints of
harm from smart meters.
20. CEP recommends adding a Finding of Fact No. 20 stating that the Safety Policy adopted by
the CPUC on July 10, 2014, is applicable to this proceeding and will be followed by the
Commissioners.
CEP recommends changing Conclusions of Law:
27. The opt-out fees and charges are not an impermissible surcharge required only of persons
who opt-out for medical reasons.
28. The opt-out fees and charges do not violate the ADA.
29. The opt-out fees and charges do not violate Pub. Util. Code 453(b).
To:
27. The statutory mandates of PU Code 451 and PU Code sections 8360-69 have not been
evaluated to determine whether the opt-out fees and charges violate the ADA and PU Code
453(b) and other legislation pertaining to disability, medical conditions, as they pertain to health
and safety requirements.

CEP PD Comments

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