Welcome to Stop OC Smart Meters
Watch the NEW Take Back Your Power for an excellent overview of the Smart Grid Fiasco:
How to Opt Out of the Smart Meter SCAM
The goals of our grassroots group are to notify our fellow Orange County residents of the:
- Smart Meter Dangers.
- How to Retain Your Analog Meter (see below).
- Current status updates on the fight against Smart Meters throughout California (see below) or via Facebook/Twitter updates.
WE DEMAND A CHOICE!
How to Opt Out of the Smart Meter SCAM
1. Call SCE at 800-810-2369 or 800-477-4455 (Spanish) immediately. You do not have to wait for SCE to send a notice. You may call to Opt Out at any time during business hours. You must call even if you got onto the other Delay Lists or Opt Out Lists in the past. Please tell your friends, neighbors and family and remind them to Opt Out. You do not need to sign or return the SCE-provided letter; only a phone call is required. Other utilities can be reached at:
PG&E: (877) 743- 7378; SDG&E: (800) 411-7343
2. No reason needed. SCE may not require a customer to explain or state why they wish to opt out as a condition of opting out.
3. Pay the initial Opt Out program fee (optional:under duress/protest). When billed for the Opt Out, you could write a separate check for the initial $75 fee ($10 for CARE customers) and clearly write in the note section “Paid Under Duress/ Paid Under Protest”. Be sure to keep a copy of the checks. Alternatively, you may request to pay the $75 over a three-month period. You have 90 days from opting out to pay the fee. Mail the two checks (one for the penalty and one for the regular bill) and pay your bill on time.
4. Each month, pay the Opt Out charge (optional: under duress/protest). Each month SCE will charge $10 ($5 for CARE customers). You may wish to write a separate check for the Opt Out charges, writing in the note section “Paid Under Duress/ Paid Under Protest”. Then, mail the two checks (one for the charge and one for the regular bill) and pay your bill on time. Be sure to keep a copy of the checks.
5. Complaints Against SCE? – Have you had a problem Opting-Out? Consumers Power Alliance attorneys need to hear from you. Please email your letters of complaint to Channing at email@example.com with the notation "CPA Support – Letter of Complaint".
6. File a complaint with the CPUC. Explain your objections with Smart Meters and demand the termination of the program. They need to hear from you! https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/ and call (800) 649-7570
7. Optional certified letter: As an alternative, mail the Opt Out penalty check along with a protest letter and send via certified mail return receipt (see sample letter at http://stopsmartmeters.org/sample-letter-to-utility/ ).
8. Option to refuse to pay. There are many customers that are refusing to pay penalties they view as extortion to maintain the health, safety, security and privacy of their families. If you choose this option, you can get some help here to Fight the Fees. You can also refer to FreedomTaker.com for more information.
9. Option to Sue in Small Claims Court. Paying a fee to protect your health, safety and privacy is a form of extortion. For those opting out for medical reasons these fees could be a form of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Public Utilities Code Section 453. To date there several successful Small Claims actions across the state have occurred. If you choose to sue, please sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Register a complaint with StopSmartMeters.org. File a Smart Meter complaint at SmartMeterhelp.com. Your complaint will be stored in a unified database that will allow grassroots groups fighting SmartMeters to accurately gauge the number of people who feel their rights to health, safety, privacy, and billing accuracy have been violated.
11. Fight the smart meter fees on the basis of discrimination - For disabled and those with medical conditions (such as pacemakers) who choose not to have the smart
meters for those reasons, you may request an accommodation. A doctor's support would be very helpful and possibly necessary. Send your letter to the utility. If you are denied, you may file a formal
complaint with the Dept. of Justice (http://www.doj.gov/). Please see www.electrosmogprevention.org for more information and keep
them in the loop if any of this is done. That way we can have a few examples to file later with the CPUC, with your permission.
Additional Opt Out Information
1. Removing the Smart Meter. SCE will come out and install a replacement analog meter. You need to insist that the meter is the type you had before (i.e., analog or non-communicating digital). Many customers are getting a Landis & Gyr type MX electromechanical meter as a replacement. This meter is not like the analog you had before. It is a Trojan Horse designed to be easily retrofitted with a wireless transmitting device. SCE must provide a meter form that you had previously.
2. Still have your old meter? SCE will come out and install an orange Opt Out sticker on the old meter. Do not allow them to replace the meter.
3. Enroll at any time, but only once per year. A customer shall not be allowed to request to participate in the Opt Out at the same residence more than once during any 12-month period.
4. No TOU rates. When we called SCE they informed us that we were not eligible to participate in the Time of Use (TOU) rates. They said that we had to agree that we understand our ineligibility. This is an extra step that SCE is using to harass those opting out. This is NOT a condition of the program and should not have been asked.
5. Delay List customers have at least 30 days. If on the Delay List, you should have received a letter from SCE. You have at least 30 days to call to Opt Out or your meter will be replaced with a Smart Meter.
6. Blocking your analog. If you prevent the installation of a Smart Meter (i.e., denying access to the property or blocking access to the analog meter) you will be deemed to have elected the opt-out option...but you should call SCE to Opt Out just in case.
7. Changing out the Smart Meter yourself. If you removed the Smart Meter from your home and replaced it with your own analog meter SCE has deemed you an Opt Out customer.
8. Who can opt out? The “customer of record” (i.e., your name is on the bill) is the party allowed to Opt Out.
9. FEES – Statistics & How to Lower
Them - Current SCE interim fees are based on at least 61,000 SCE ratepayers opting-out. To get the fees lowered, it means more customers must opt-out. If you
want to help lower fees, you can encourage everyone to opt-out of this Lemon of the Century. Feel free to distribute this fact sheet
from Consumers Power Alliance.
Information above from the Application 11-07-020 DECISION MODIFYING DECISION 08-09-039 AND ADOPTING AN OPT-OUT PROGRAM FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON COMPANY’S EDISON SMARTCONNECT PROGRAM and SCE Advice letter 2726-E.
More Actions to Retain Your Analog Meter:
- File a complaint with the CPUC and tell them you donʼt want the Smart Meter and you want viable “opt-out” options. They need to hear from you! at https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/ and call (800) 649-7570
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
- Contact your City Council and County and demand they pass a moratorium on the installation of any more Smart Meters (just like 11 Counties and 44 Cities in California as well as many other states have already done)
- Get the word out to your friends and neighbors. We have flyers and action items you can do in our Get The Word Out! section.
Immediate Action Items:
1. Immediately call SCE Customer Service to request to be placed on the smart meter opt-out list. Even if you have already called, already have a Smart Meter or have an analog or digital meter, please be sure to CONTACT SCE NOW AND BE PLACED ON THEIR SMART METER OPT-OUT LIST! BE SURE TELL SCE THAT YOU WANT AN ANALOG (ELECTROMECHANICAL) METER ONLY. CALL (800) 810-2369 (English) or (800) 477-4455 (Spanish).
2. Email Calif. Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey email@example.com and Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa firstname.lastname@example.org. See sample letter is below.
3. Call the CPUC at 1-800-649-7570 to "demand a permanent, no-cost opt-out for all SCE customers (residential and commercial), with dismantling of all wireless infrastructure of the "smart" grid." Statistics are kept on of the number of calls received - reporting and decisions are made based on these numbers - it's very important to call!
4. To help defer attorney fees and assist in administrative costs, please donate $25 (or more) in an annual membership to CEP. When you join CEP, please note that you are a member of Stop OC Smart Meters with their donation. CEP has spent countless hours in fighting this monstrosity by filing legal briefs, making phone calls and keeping us all informed on CPUC proceedings. We hope you find their website helpful and resourceful.
5. Forward this email on to your friends and neighbors.
Our Main Concerns:
1. Forcing someone to pay fees to not be harmed and to not have their private data collected is a form of extortion. One should not have to pay a tax for maintaining their Constitutional rights and upholding public health. SCE clearly understands that if customers are offered a free (or low) opt out fee it would cause "unrestrained access to the opt out program".
2. Privacy infringement is completely ignored and not even addressed. Copious amounts of customer personal data are still being collected, stored, analyzed and sold to the highest bidder. It's like a robber that breaks into your house, steals your jewels and tells you that he will keep them safe for you.
3. The utility companies have been ordered to determine the actual cost of Opting out with an analog meter. Further, this analysis should include a corresponding analysis regarding the savings that an analog will provide. As non-participants in the expensive Smart Grid, opt out participants should expect a credit to their account.
CURRENT STATUS FOR SCE CUSTOMERS
On March 15th, a CPUC judge issued a proposed decision regarding a Smart Meter "Opt Out" Choice for Southern California Edison (SCE) customers. We only have a few more days of public comment
time to submit our thoughts back to the judge. Also, after her final ruling comes down it will be much more difficult to "opt out". Whether you still have your analog meter (and even if
you got a Smart Meter installed) be sure to call SCE again and make sure you are on the Opt Out list.
It is said that there is no free choice where coercion, pressure or force is used.
As a group, Stop OC Smart Meters joined with the non-profit organization Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP) in response to SCE Opt Out proceedings.
Keep in mind....there is absolutely no, zip, zero, nada benefit to the customer of having a Smart Meter on their home.
Opt-Out Proposal (March 15, 2012) Summary:
Below is a quick and dirty summary of what they are proposing and why it is inadequate.
Customers that choose to retain an analog meter will be double-charged for their electrical metering services. SCE wants to charge customers additional fees of $75 up front and $10 per month thereafter. These fees are on top of the costs that we all will bear for the new Smart Grid. For example, an additional monthly fee of $1.60 per $100 (i.e., almost $5 on a $300 electric bill) will be charged to all customers (both analog and "smart") for the Smart Meter.
The CPUC has allowed SCE to pass on the cost of the new Smart Metering program to ALL customers in the form of increased fees and rates. It is inequitable for those exercising their choice to retain the current analog metering system to bear the financial burden of paying for both metering systems. If we choose one method of metering over the other then our monthly metering fees should reflect that choice.
Customers should not be charged for exercising their Federally mandated choice(1). Nor should they have to pay extra to protect their families from illegal (unconstitutional) personal data collection, cyber insecurity, privacy violations (2), unreliability, lack of billing transparency and discrepancies, fire danger, and negative health impacts(3).
These "Opt Out" fee amounts are only temporary. The CPUC has ordered SCE to recompute how much it really costs to have the Opt Out program. We suspect that higher fees will be proposed with no offsets provided for NOT using the Smart Meters.
SCE specifically designed the Opt Out fees to discourage customers from retaining their analog meters (4).
There is no guarantee that our current analog fee structure of monthly graduated (tiered) rates based on kilowatts used will remain the same.
Smart Meter participants will eventually be moved over to Time Of Use (TOU) pricing which sets rates hourly based on the time of day with the 2pm to 6pm slot penalized with the highest rate.
Analog Meter participants currently are billed using a monthly 5-tier graduated rate structure. (For example, currently tiered winter rates on my bill start at $0.13 per kWh for the first tier up to $0.31 per kWh for the fifth and final tier.) We understand that there is talk of removing the 5 tiers down to only one level and then imposing a penalizing rate set at the highest level.
The proposal states that customers that choose to opt out will have their previous type meter returned to them whether it was an analog or a digital meter. We believe that if a customer wants an analog meter then they should have the right to have one regardless of what type of meter was previously on their homes.
Both Residential and Businesses:
Currently, only residential customers have the option to opt out of the Smart Meter program. We believe this choice should be available for non-residential customers as well.
No Limits on Opting Out:
No limit on opting out should be placed on customers, who have many factors that could influence their opt-out situation, throughout the calendar year. This is
especially important for those who develop medical and/or other conditions that cannot wait a year for relief.
Solar customers should be eligible for the opt-out, with analog meters provided that are two-way.
Bank of Meters Not Addressed:
Those customers who live in multi-family housing (1/3 of all Orange County residents), such as apartments, condos and townhomes where there are banks of meters should be afforded special provisions. Even if only one customer requests an analog meter, the bank of meters should be dismantled and changed to analog,
Collector Meters and Wireless Infrastucture:
All citizens and customers should be informed about the location and radiation levels of the large collector meters as well as the other wireless infrastructure that SCE has erected. Collector meters should be removed from homes and businesses.
Establishment of Safe Zones:
A safe zone of at least 2,000 feet should be established around a customer's home where he/she is requesting an analog meter. The safe zone would protect against RF radiation from neighboring smart meters or other wireless utility infrastructure. converted to non-wireless infrastructure or moved outside the safe zone.
(1) The choice whether to enroll in the Smart Meter program is properly left to the customer, per the Energy Policy Act of 2005, under Title Xll, Subtitle E, Section 1252, (a), (14),
(C). It states: "Each electric utility subject to subparagraph (A) shall provide each customer requesting a time-based rate with a time-based meter capable of enabling the utility and customer
to offer and receive such rate, respectively."
(2) Fourth Amendment ensures that the "...right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...". A government may not intrude into an area in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. In our modern age, society views electricity as not just a mere convenience, but a basic human need. There is only one source from which we can receive our electricity and that is from our governmental controlled and regulated electrical company, or SCE. We should not have to expect that as part of our customer/company agreement to receive electricity that we would have to give up all rights to privacy. We do not give my consent to copious amounts of data being collected, permanently stored and sold to the highest bidder.
(3) The vast and growing consensus supported by independent researchers, including the May 31, 2011 World Health Organization, conclude that microwave radio frequency radiation emitted by wireless products, including Smart Meters operating in conjunction with a Smart Grid, pose a serious and unwarranted public health hazard.
(4) SCE's market research performed in September 2011 provided that 41 percent of residential customers expressed interest in an opt-out program given no information on fees. The participation rate decreased to 2.4 percent assuming a monthly charge of $20. Those rates decreased even lower to 1.4 percent assuming a monthly charge of either $25 or $30.
The SCE DO NOT REPLACE Yellow Tag is NO LONGER VALID
As a Southern California Edison customer, if you called to be placed on the Delay List you received this yellow tag from an SCE employee. When the CPUC passed the Opt Out in April 2012 they cancelled the Delay List. Now there is the Opt Out for those customers that do not want a Smart Meter.
Are you having problems with SCE?
It will be up to you to lawfully secure your meter. Make sure to call SCE, Corix and the CPUC to complain. They need to hear from you or they will do nothing.
Contact this representative (they are discouraging and patronizing) at SCE:
Ms. Pat Buttress, Southern California Edison
Public Affairs Region Manager
Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, Orange
Placentia, Tustin, Villa Park, Yorba Linda
1325 S. Grand Ave. Bldg. B
Santa Ana, CA. 95705
P.O. Box 11982
Santa Ana, CA 92711-1982
Are Smart Meters "Mandatory"?
There are scholars on the other side of the aisle that say the Smart Metering program was initially established as an option that was to
be made available for the customer to chose it as an option. For a thorough analysis take a look at this
What does a leading health expert say about Smart Meters?
Dr. David Carpenter, Harvard Medical School-trained physician who headed up the New York State Dept. of Public Health for 18 years before becoming Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Albany, where he currently directs the Institute for Health and the Environment is an expert in EMR. “An informed person should demand that they be able to keep their analog meter,” says Dr. Carpenter.