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Talk of the Town: Those controversial new smart meters

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron Davis had to defend the new smart meters at last Tuesday's Burbank City Council meeting August 30, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron Davis had to defend the new smart meters at last Tuesday’s Burbank City Council meeting August 30, 2011

A lot of complaints and grumbling about, and verbal attacks on, the new smart meters in Burbank.  Officials at Burbank Water and Power are raving about the new water and electric meters — but many of the residents aren’t buying the hype. Some of the public suspicion, disapproval, and down right hostility for the meters was heard during public comments at last Tuesday’s Burbank City Council meeting on August 30.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- An electric smart meter in Burbank

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G –An electric smart meter in Burbank

Most of the carping is about the electric smart meter and its environmental, health, and privacy issues. BWP honcho, Ron Davis, stepped to the podium at last Tuesday’s city council meeting and proclaimed the “.. meters are incredibly safe..” and “… do not pose a health concern…”

In terms of privacy, Davis says the meters “ not broadcast inside the home”… instead “..broadcast out to a data reader.”  Well, that may be the ultimate plan, but right now the newly installed electric meters are not communication with the outside data reader, according to my source at the BWP.

I’m told the new meters are working, but meter reader personnel have to go out to homes and businesses and collect the data — just like they did before the Smart Grid Program started. Installation of the smart meters began in June and is expected to be finished by the end of the year. However, the system will most likely not be fully operational until sometime in 2012.

Davis says that so far “…51 people …” have asked that their smart meter installation be “… put on hold.” He admits that part of the problem with convincing the public to get on board with the new system is a matter of trust. Well, it’s hard to trust Davis and his BWP top executives who have jacked up our utility rates, while pocketing salary raises and hefty bonuses. That sort of conduct does not build trust.

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7 Responses to Talk of the Town: Those controversial new smart meters

  1. S. Gregory Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    I attended this meeting in order to voice my concerns about the smart meters deployed by BWP and to tell the City Council about the ill effects I am suffering. I was given 5 minutes to tell the Council that I had been and continue to be unable to live in my home because of the headaches, nausea, heart palpitations, and insomnia that the meters are causing me. I told the Council that I have been going from pillar to post, essentially living out of my car, in order to get away from the irritant. For the most part, the Council seemed to be completely unaware of the fact that thousands have filed similar complaints with the CPUC. With the exception of Dr. David Gordon, the Council members showed no concern for my plight and for the cautionary statements I made. Ron Davis was given the floor for several minutes and had the full attention of the Council. He systematically refuted all that I had to say about my experience and the Council seemed to take him at his word. I would urge the Council members to engage in some independent, critical thinking. Do the research. Read why 45 municipalities in California have declared moratoriums on these dangerous devices. Rather than listening to someone with a vested interest in the profits that the smart meters will bring to him both personally and to the BWP, the Council members should remember who they were elected to serve. The citizens of Burbank should be able to expect, at the very minimum, that the Council members should educate themselves on this crucial matter and not just accept the word of those who stand to profit.

    It was suggested by one of the board members of the BWP that I should just move from Burbank, the city I have called home for 23 years, if I can’t tolerate the health effects of the meters.

    Is this Burbank? Is this America?

  2. Jerry Day Monday, September 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    The City Council has been notified of numerous mistruths presented by Ron Davis of BWP. One was mentioned in the article where Mr. Davis claimed the meters “do not broadcast inside the home.” As an executive of BWP Mr. Davis must know that Smart Meters have no capacity to “direct” radiation. They emit radiation like a light bulb and directly into homes. This is an apparently deliberate lie. Another favorite misleading comment by proponents of smart meters, repeated by Davis, is “they only broadcast 45 seconds a day.” The truth is, they transmit dangerous weapons-grade EMF pulses that last 2 milliseconds every two to four seconds, so technically, the actual duration of the pulses only adds up to a few minutes a day, but it goes on all day and the pulses have been boosted to levels that are known to damage DNA in humans, especially if exposed continually, and especially if exposed in near proximity to the source. That means birth defects that are irreparable and will be passed on for all generations to follow. Anyone who says “they only transmit a few minutes a day” is attempting to deceive.
    The Smart Meter is a cash cow worth hundreds of billions to the power industry and the personal information collected will be even more valuable, a virtual roadmap of your daily activities INSIDE YOUR HOME. We need YOU at the City Council meetings to help stop this insanity.

  3. Ms. Kiku Iwata Monday, September 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    I was also there and spoke up that evening, asking for a halt to these installations and asking City Council to find a solution, especially when 45 other cities have already taken action to oppose or ban smart meters from their communities. In addition, we informed them how the state (Calif. Public Utilities Commission) is holding opt-out hearings right now, so what is Burbank doing? We also informed them that the Federal government does NOT mandate smart meters, so what gives Burbank’s W&P the right to impose this on us? National consumer groups already have done the analysis — there are smarter, less costly, and more efficient ways to save energy costs and consumption than with smart meters. And the Time of Use Rates that they BWP now wants to impose on residential customers will lead to higher rates, especially for those who can’t shift their time of use because they live or work out of their home (seniors, disabled, unemployed, those on medical support systems, stay at home mom and dads, those who run businesses out of their homes). Ron Davis and the Mayor said our resident opposition is just a problem of trust, but how can we trust BWP when it recently installed smart meters after its reps assured a Hillside resident they were going to delay installation? BWP’s Delay Program also does not solve the problem, underscored when Ron Davis basically admitted he doesn’t have a Plan B (opt out program) because that would be “too expensive.” What price does Ron Davis and BWP and your elected City officials put on your health and privacy? Join Burbank and Glendale residents (and other residents across the state and nation) opposed to smart meters. Read up about it at,,, and Sign our Burbank ACTION Petition, speak up at City Council, and write our Mayor and CC and remind them that we have elected them to protect the public interests, not corporate big whigs who stand to profit from their toxic and costly smart meter programs. Don’t buy the hype.

  4. Fronnie Monday, September 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Thank you all for your valuable comments. I believe what the Burbank City Council needs to do is set up an independent committee –one not control by Burbank Water and Power — to collect data and research on these smart meters. I agree, the council members should not just take the word of BWP honcho, Ron Davis. This committee should have some regular Burbank citizens on it.

    Once the committee has collect this smart meter information it should be released to the city council and the public. Then the council members can make a decision on whether these meters are safe or not from information gathered by an impartial source.

    This committee should have been formed to do this study BEFORE the BWP started installing the smart meters. However, it’s better late than never.

  5. Susan B Monday, September 12, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    EVERYONE should refuse these meters. EVERYONE should prevent the meters from being placed on their homes by all means possible. They are a menace to your health and the community. I have lived with one of these terrible devices for a year and a quarter. I suffer every day, it is like being tortured. Once on, they won’t remove them. Fight them like you’d fight an assault. Read these articles about people who are sick, including me, and visit to view the science and scientists statements on why these are so dangerous.
    Living Nightmare: How SDG&E Smart Meter Led to Headaches, Hearing Loss
    Smart Meter Nightmare #2: San Diego man sick from bank of smart meters
    Smart Meter Nightmare #3: East County Woman and Pet Sick, Begging for Help
    Smart Meter Nightmare #4: SoCal Landlord Says Meters Hurting Her Tenants
    Smart Meter Nightmare #5: Senior Citizen Replaces Smart Meter With Analog
    Guard your analog meter with chains, locks, build housing around them, fence them off with dogs, whatever it takes. And fight for protection from our corrupt local and state gov’ts that cozy up to the money of the utilities.

  6. RobertWilliams Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    1. Must-See 4-minute youtube video on Smart meters:


    2. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION on May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless smart meters (and some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B Carcinogen List.

    3. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH months ago (Feb 2011) found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

    4. LABORATORY SCIENTISTS have observed
(1) Human Cell Damage
(2) DNA Chain Breaks
(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier
 from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters.

    5. INSURANCE COMPANIES Hired Independent Laboratory Scientists and these scientists also observed Cell Damage and DNA Chain Breaks and now the Insurance Companies will NOT Insure Liability damage from Wireless Smart meters and other wireless devices.
 TV Video (3 minutes)

So shouldn’t installation of Wireless smart meters on people’s homes Stop?

    Cell Phone use and other devices are Voluntary and can be shut off at the user’s discretion, but Smart meters are emitting radiation 24/7 and can not be shut off.

 Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes)

Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes)

 2-page Press Release

    9. RADIATION MEASURED FROM SMART METER MOUNTED ON A HOME (once active in the utility system) SHOWS RADIATION TRANSMISSION PULSES APPROXIMATELY ONCE EVERY FOUR SECONDS 24 HOURS PER DAY traveling through the bodies and brains of the inhabitants of that home. 
Youtube Video (6 minutes, 1st minute is sufficient)

    NOTE: many of the tests on non-ionizing radiation (the type of radiation emitted by smart meters) have been done using instruments other than smart meters because smart meters have only been in people’s homes for a very short time.

    But as a Wireless smart meter emits 100 times more radiation than a cell phone, it is not difficult to project. If a machine gun (smart meter) fires 100 bullets in the same time that a pistol (cell phone) fires one bullet, it is not difficult to project the harm that the machine gun can inflict, even if the tests were done with the pistol.


    10. Skyrocketing Utility Bills after installation
    TV News Video (3 minutes)

    11. Systemic Smart Meter Billing Errors Over 200% Uncovered in Australia
    TV News Video (7 minutes) – video


    11. CIA Director James Woolsey calls Smart grid “Stupid” due to National Security problems caused by so-called smart meters.
    News Video (1 minute)

  7. Burbank Resident Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    I have heard that Burbank is in a mad rush to install these meters before any evidence comes forward to show their cumulative effects on the public. Also there is word that up in Sacramento the legislature is moving toward a real opt out measure and Burbank believes if they can get them installed prior to that bills passage we will just be stuck with the smart meters.

    What really outrages me about these meters is that they are being partially funded with money from the American Recovery Act. In the end American Recovery Act Money is being used to replace meters that work fine. Causing us to spend millions of dollars on new meters that are foreign made and manufactured and then Davis tells us that the long range savings are partially through the elimination of 9 meter reader postitions. So in other words we are spening 60 million on unproven technology to eliminate American jobs – some recovery.

    I wonder how many years we could pay meter readers before it would equal 60 million dollars and in this economy why would we spend stimulus money to eliminate any jobs ? Just overall stupid in my opinion.

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