By Heather Callaghan
Many Idaho residents want nothing to do with the new Smart Meters forced on them by Idaho Electric and the Public Utilities Commission in order to replace analog electric meters.
Some simply don't want them, others don't appreciate the eerie surveillance of residents' whereabouts and usage and the ability for remote power shut-off, especially where medical devices are concerned.
Most alarming have been the health effects from the EMF output – headaches, insomnia, nausea, ringing ears and more reported by residents nationwide.
Idaho Electric has been caught installing Smart Meters without permission, despite protest, even hopping fences while residents are away. Whether residents are home or not, IE reps have brought armed law enforcement to make sure the job gets done and police go without questioning or filing paperwork.
The media has been strangely quiet about the incidents and the outraged residents. One reporter interviewed an investigative blogger who brought the incidents to light, and wanted to clear it with her editor first. The story never made it to the papers. If anything, the mainstream media have lauded the new “energy efficient” Smart Meters despite growing evidence of health hazards and power spying.
On the one hand, IE says they would never force them on anyone (they just bring cops for good luck?), yet most utility companies and their bedfellow Public Utility Commissioners are calling them mandatory. They're not. And corporations are not allowed to bypass local officials and those they serve with mandates anyway.
Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz, CA, PG&E has resorted to another tactic of force – electricity shut-offs. And two weeks before Christmas to really tighten the screws. This time the media was there and PG&E was compared to both Scrooge and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Local customers had pleaded with PG&E for weeks to have their Smart Meters removed, some installed without their knowledge. These residents were facing some serious health effects like insomnia, nosebleeds and nausea. After not being heard, they finally resorted to having professional electricians replace them with analog meters. So, naturally, PG&E shut their electricity off with no notice and no hope for their power back anytime soon.
Some of these paying customers had small and ill children who had to stay with relatives due to having no heat in freezing temperatures, and others had medical issues that required electricity for devices. Ironically, PG&E blames the action on the “public health safety risk” of having an electrician remove the meter.
Their choices were: no power, Smart Meter, or a digital meter which also emits EMF and causes health problems. A rep explained that the residents were supposed to call to get on a delay line until some opt-out method was developed, which would be weeks and weeks away. From the sounds of this “mandate,” any kind of opt-out will prove nearly impossible -- it already has. There were also hefty fees associated with any opt-outs
which made PG&E look much better.
Thankfully, this type of corporate retaliation brought forth disgust and wrath from Santa Cruz public officials who intervened to help the families.
In a board meeting, they grill a PG&E pawn, and school her on her company's indefensible and non-sensical actions. They wanted answers and wouldn't accept her vague ramblings. They wanted to know exactly who to contact that could actually make a decision for the residents with no power. NOW -- not six weeks from now when some opt-out or delay decision made it down the ladder.
This board meeting is a must-see! Local government at its finest -- actually stepping in to protect individual liberty.
In one memorable part, a board member compares this corporation's actions to bankers pretending to help homeowners with mortgage questions, but systematically making sure they never talk to the same rep, sending them all over the place, and never actually helping their paying customers.
“We're having a Dickens moment here,” says one member. “You can choose to be Scrooge or you can say 'Let's get into the spirit of the holidays and help someone in need.'” A someone, who, by the way, is paying for this service! Another member wanted a different situation corrected: a resident said “No” to the Smart Meter, but it was installed anyway.
PG&E has since restored power -- for those few families, but what about others? Strangely, they restored power to the homes without any meters at all.