2012-10-18 "Utility Monster Out of Control: In Rampage, PG&E Vandalizes San Anselmo Landlord’s Security Locks" by J Hart
Linda and David Brauner, landlords from San Anselmo, CA say that they have not refused to pay PG&E’s fee. They say they “opted out” via their tenants, and protected their meters from unwanted smart meter installation with bands of steel and locks, both of which were destroyed by PG$E yesterday. Following is Linda’s account:
Today, this morning, one of our tenants was shocked by noise behind her unit, as two PGE workers were destroying the bands of steel and locks that we had installed, without calling us in advance, without notifying any tenant in the building. They apparently arrived in a huge truck with paraphernalia on it. It was clearly a “show of force”, intended to bully and intimidate. Our tenant told my husband David, that they looked very pleased with themselves (smiling) and remarked, “He doesn’t have a right to cover up our meters” The girl then asked them if they were going to install smart meters and they replied, “No”. Whatever that is worth.
By the time my husband arrived, the PGE had done their trespass, vandalism, invasion of privacy and violated our tenant’s right to private enjoyment, and left the scene.
While my husband was on the way to San Anselmo, I called the Independent Journal (daily newspaper in Marin County), spoke to the City Editor, Robert Sterling, who sent both a reporter and photographer to the building. David said they took over a hundred pics and interviewed him and asked for our tenants contact info.
We called the police, waited 45 minutes and finally went to the station, two houses away from the building. Although they did file an “incident report”, which entailed documenting David’s report, in their opinion, “It is a civil matter, between PGE and you.”
Astounding that these men, nothing more than a couple of thugs/bullies, are allowed to create an atmosphere of terror in our lives and the lives of our tenants, leaving a wake of destruction of our personal property behind them.
Meanwhile David has called the police to file a police report on defacing property and vandalism, trespass.
PG&E has an easement to service meters not to destroy property.
Marin Independent Journal Mainstream Coverage: [http://www.marinij.com/sananselmo/ci_21795800/brouhaha-over-smartmeters-san-anselmo]
See pic provided by property owners
"Photo of PG&E Destruction" by J Hart:
2012-10-17 "Brouhaha over SmartMeters in San Anselmo" by Mark Prado from "Marin Independent Journal"
The owner of a San Anselmo apartment complex was surprised this week when one of his tenants alerted him that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews were busily grinding locks off steel bars he had erected around gas meters to prevent SmartMeters from being installed.
David Brauner, of Mill Valley, rushed to the eight-unit complex at 15 San Rafael Ave. to find a pile of steel cast aside and the locks holding them in place shorn off.
"They acted like thugs," Brauner said of the Tuesday morning incident.
Brauner acknowledged he initially placed metal bars around the old meters in 2010 to prevent PG&E from replacing them with SmartMeters, the wireless meters that have sparked controversy among some residents concerned about the health impact of radio waves that transmit data from homes. He has since opted his property out of the SmartMeter program to prevent PG&E from installing the new meters.
Still, Brauner believes it was wrong of the utility to remove the steel bars. He said nobody asked permission to do so.
"It becomes an issue of personal rights and property rights," said Brauner, who is among opponents who believe the meters can cause health problems. Brauner said he would like to see the California Public Utilities Commission approve a community-wide opt-out provision.
A PG&E representative said the bars prevented workers from accessing or removing the meters in case of an emergency.
"It is a safety concern," said Brittany McKannay, a PG&E spokeswoman, adding that during an emergency a police or fire agency also might require access. "We have to make sure they are not blocked so staff can get to them."
She also noted the meters are the property of PG&E.
The friction illustrates the ongoing concern about the utility's SmartMeter program.
Brauner and other critics have raised questions about the health risk from the wireless meters, which use wireless radio signals to transmit data on power usage from individual homes.
SmartMeters continuously measure the electricity and natural gas use at households and businesses and relay data to the utility; the goal is to enable power companies to better understand patterns of power consumption throughout the day and adjust power generation accordingly.
In 2011 the California Council on Science and Technology found that when installed and properly maintained, wireless smart meters result in much lower levels of radio frequency exposure than many common household electronic devices, particularly cellphones and microwave ovens.
The council added, however: "Ongoing scientific study is being conducted to understand nonthermal effects from long-term exposure to mobile phones and smart meters, etc., especially the cumulative impact from all radio frequency emitting devices including that of a network of smart meters operating throughout a community."
The council is a not-for-profit corporation established by a state Assembly resolution in 1988 to advise state government on science and technology-related policy issues.
Brauner and his wife, Linda, remain concerned.
"People do not trust PG&E," Linda Brauner said.
PG&E's McKannay said no health risks have been shown to be associated with the meters.
"Several studies have shown them to be safe," she said.
David Brauner stands by the gas meters at his apartment building in San Anselmo, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. He claims PG&E cut locks and removed metal barriers he had installed on his old analog meters in order to prevent installation of Smart Meters. The old meters were still in place. (IJ photo/Frankie Frost) Frankie Frost
David Brauner holds a mangled lock as he stands by the gas meters at his apartment building in San Anselmo, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. He claims PG&E cut the lock and removed metal barriers he had installed on his old analog meters in order to prevent installation of Smart Meters. The old meters were still in place. (IJ photo/Frankie Frost) Frankie Frost
David Brauner demonstrates a former metal barrier on the gas meters at his apartment building in San Anselmo, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. He claims PG&E cut the lock and removed the metal barriers he had installed on his old analog meters in order to prevent installation of Smart Meters. The old meters were still in place. (IJ photo/Frankie Frost) Frankie Frost