PG&E Suggested “Prozac” for Those Injured by Smart Meters– SCE Schemed Higher Fees to Force Smart Meters on the Poor

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New e‑mails brought to light between Pacif­ic Gas and Elec­tric (PG&E), South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son (SCE), and the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion (CPUC) reveal the extent of cor­rup­tion and back­room deal­ing that have char­ac­ter­ized the state’s smart meter pro­gram.  E‑mails reveal that for­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Michael Peev­ey was aware of health prob­lems caused by smart meters ear­ly on in the pro­gram.   Com­mis­sion­ers and staff expe­ri­enced over­charg­ing and elec­tron­ic inter­fer­ence issues with smart meters on their homes.  Mean­while, util­i­ties schemed with reg­u­la­tors behind the scenes to raise opt-out fees to force peo­ple in pover­ty to stick with the unpop­u­lar meters and prop up the fail­ing mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar smart grid pro­gram in Cal­i­for­nia.

For­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Michael Peev­ey, who retired in Decem­ber and is cur­rent­ly the sub­ject of a crim­i­nal probe by the U.S. Attor­ney and State Attor­ney Gen­er­al who are inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions of bribery and cor­rup­tion, assured the pub­lic that the meters were accu­rate, were no fire haz­ard, and no threat to health. A dif­fer­ent pic­ture has emerged from ini­tial research into more than 65,000 e‑mails and mem­os between CPUC and PG&E. Peev­ey wrote to PG&E in Sep­tem­ber of 2010 (empha­sis ours):

The press cov­er­age was very good and helps PG&E big time, over­all, as well as oth­er com­pa­nies, etc. One thought for the com­pa­ny: If it were my deci­sion I would let any­one who wants to keep their old meter keep it, if they claim they suf­fer from EMF and/or relat­ed elec­tron­ic-relat­ed ill­ness­es… I would insti­tute such a pol­i­cy qui­et­ly and sole­ly on an indi­vid­ual basis. There real­ly are peo­ple who feel pain, etc., relat­ed to EMF,etc., and rather than have them become hys­ter­i­cal, etc., I would qui­et­ly leave them alone. Kick it around. And, it sounds like the com­pa­ny may already have tak­en this step, based on a cou­ple of the com­ments at yesterday’s pub­lic hearing.”

Wellington Energy was one of the companies who profited handsomely from CPUC Corruption

Welling­ton Ener­gy was one of the com­pa­nies who prof­it­ed hand­some­ly from CPUC Corruption

Peev­ey says to PG&E, “if it were my deci­sion.”  As San­di Mau­r­er of the EMF Safe­ty Net­work has point­ed out, being the Com­mis­sion­er in charge of the smart meter opt out pro­ceed­ing, tech­ni­cal­ly it was his deci­sion.  But that does not appear to be where the true pow­er lies accord­ing to this e‑mail exchange.  Appar­ent­ly the “Com­pa­ny” calls the shots and Com­mis­sion­ers obey. The “oth­er com­pa­nies” Peev­ey refers to include GE, Lan­dis & Gyr, Sil­ver Spring Net­works, Welling­ton Ener­gy, Ver­i­zon, Edel­man and others.

In anoth­er e‑mail from 2010, Peevey’s Chief of Staff Car­ol Brown writes to PG&E:

…so far I have done OK just lis­ten­ing to the sad tales of EMF poi­son­ing – and telling them thank you for bring­ing it to our atten­tion – and then not offer­ing them any solu­tion!!! I just want­ed to have a resource in case!”

PG&E’s Brian Cherry

PG&E’s Bri­an Cherry

Bri­an Cher­ry, VP of Reg­u­la­to­ry Rela­tions at PG&E replies:

Prozac might be a solution!”

PG&E’s solution to health problems caused by their smart meters: Prozac

PG&E’s solu­tion to health prob­lems caused by their smart meters: Prozac

Sug­gest­ing that peo­ple take phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to treat health prob­lems caused by the company’s meters is unspeak­ably arro­gant, dan­ger­ous, and cor­rupt. The only thing that has con­sis­tent­ly helped peo­ple suf­fer­ing health effects from EMF has been the removal of smart meters and oth­er near­by wire­less trans­mit­ters.  And the util­i­ties knew it. But to offi­cial­ly have smart meters removed, the CPUC under Peev­ey, required Cal­i­for­ni­ans to pay an upfront fee and month­ly charge start­ing in May 2012.

Marzia Zafar, CPUC’s Head of Policy and Planning

Marzia Zafar, CPUC’s Head of Pol­i­cy and Planning

In pub­lic, the util­i­ties and CPUC have jus­ti­fied the $75 ini­tial­ly and $10/ month fees for ana­log meters (to have the same thing that cus­tomers have always had) by argu­ing that indi­vid­u­als should pay for the costs they cre­ate.  In pri­vate how­ev­er, a dif­fer­ent sto­ry emerges. In e‑mails between Cal­i­for­nia util­i­ties and Marzia Zafar, CPUC’s cur­rent Direc­tor of Pol­i­cy and Plan­ning, a 15 year util­i­ty indus­try employ­ee includ­ing 4 years as a So Cal Gas lob­by­ist who was involved in the Bill Dev­ereaux Spy Scan­dal, Zafar tells her util­i­ty col­leagues:

I think if there is not an ini­tial fee your esti­mate of 2% opt out goes out the door and you’ll have more like 20% or 50% opt out which will then make the whole project that we spent over $7 bil­lion on a com­plete and total waste.”

A Sept. 2011 demonstration outside the CPUC in San Francisco

A Sept. 2011 demon­stra­tion out­side the CPUC in San Francisco

Zafar is say­ing if they elim­i­nate the ini­tial opt out charge for ana­log meters, up to half of California’s elec­tric cus­tomers may refuse smart meters, giv­en all the pub­lic­i­ty around safe­ty and inac­cu­ra­cy prob­lems, and that needs to be avoid­ed at all costs – by ensur­ing fees remain unaf­ford­able.  This e‑mail demon­strates clear­ly that the opt out fee is intend­ed not to “cov­er costs” but to sup­press choice, prop up a fail­ing and dan­ger­ous smart grid and penal­ize peo­ple for dis­obey­ing a forced, cor­po­rate and unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic deployment.

Mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for those in pover­ty to opt out seemed to be a par­tic­u­lar pri­or­i­ty for South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son, Peevey’s for­mer employ­er. Many low-income cus­tomers live in apart­ment build­ings where banks of smart meters expose res­i­dents to high lev­els of pulsed RF radi­a­tion that the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion con­sid­ers a Class 2B Car­cino­gen.  “CARE” is a reduced util­i­ty rate pro­gram for fam­i­lies liv­ing below the fed­er­al pover­ty line. In Jan­u­ary 2012, Michael Hoover of SCE wrote to Zafar of CPUC and Cher­ry of PG&E:

We need an up front fee that is sig­nif­i­cant, or a path to achieve that. This is espe­cial­ly true for CARE cus­tomers. This is a big deal for us and I think the poten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant increas­es in opt out is rather large if the fee is set too low.  Are we all on the same page?”

Could using finan­cial screws to force haz­ardous meters on those in pover­ty be too tox­ic even for Bri­an Cher­ry, who replies:


Then Zafar, like a bul­ly in the play­ground, chides Cher­ry for being soft:

That’s because PG&E’s judg­ment is suspect…”

In Sept. 2011, CPUC’s Marzia Zafar was angry at PG&E for removing smart meters that were making a woman sick.

In Sept. 2011, CPUC’s Marzia Zafar was angry at PG&E for remov­ing smart meters that were mak­ing a woman sick.

In Novem­ber of 2011, CPUC offi­cials inter­nal­ly cir­cu­lat­ed a press release from Stop Smart Meters! that made ref­er­ence to the fact that PG&E had recent­ly replaced a smart meter with an ana­log on a woman’s house in San­ta Cruz whose fam­i­ly was suf­fer­ing health impacts from the new microwave-emit­ting meter.  Zafar rebukes PG&E and orders them to keep smart meters on homes, even after res­i­dents have demand­ed and giv­en legal notice that they be removed, and even for those with physician’s let­ters or those suf­fer­ing so bad­ly they could no longer occu­py their homes  (“this blog” is

See below. Please do not replace smart meters with ana­log meters; I’m assum­ing this blog is delu­sion­al and they’re lying. The Com­mis­sion will issue a (Pro­posed Deci­sion) some­time this month or ear­ly next month to con­sid­er an opt-out pro­gram; until such time you have the delay list.”

Smart meters were interfering with electronic equipment at the homes of CPUC staff we now know (and the homes of many others like this woman from Marin County, CA)

Smart meters were inter­fer­ing with elec­tron­ic equip­ment at the homes of CPUC staff we now know (and the homes of many oth­ers like this woman from Marin Coun­ty, CA)

Despite Zafar’s hard line stance, it turns out she knew from per­son­al expe­ri­ence that there were seri­ous prob­lems with the meters. She wrote in Jan­u­ary 2011 to PG&E:

I’m also copy­ing Cliff to this e‑mail as I spoke with him this morn­ing; he came to my house :-). I have a smart meter and a motion light inter­fer­ence that is hope­ful­ly now resolved.”

Accord­ing to the LA Times, when a smart meter was installed on for­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Michael Peevey’s 3118 sq. foot sec­ond home in Sea Ranch on the Sono­ma Coun­ty coast (where Peev­ey and PG&E’s VP of Reg­u­la­to­ry Rela­tions Bri­an Cher­ry shared bot­tles of John­ny Walk­er Blue Label accord­ing to e‑mails) Peevey’s bills went through the roof and he com­plained to PG&E in Novem­ber 2011:

Please check some­thing out for me. Just had a “smart meter” installed at Sea Ranch. And, now I have the bill for the first month. Some­thing is screwy. The bill says we used 973 KWH ver­sus 438 for the same time peri­od one year ago. Yet, there was no one at the house dur­ing the most recent 30 day peri­od.  Nor was there any­one there one year ago. Obvi­ous­ly some­thing is wrong. I would like an explanation.”



Appar­ent­ly Peev­ey wasn’t the only Com­mis­sion­er who report­ed sig­nif­i­cant over­charg­ing.  PG&E wrote in an e‑mail that two com­mis­sion­ers in one night com­plained about inac­cu­ra­cies on their  bills after smart meters were installed.

In Sep­tem­ber 2011, after a fire start­ed in a smart metered elec­tri­cal pan­el in a San­ta Rosa Mall, Cher­ry wrote to CPUC Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Paul Clanon.  There was not the slight­est con­cern about whether the smart meters were actu­al­ly start­ing fires, or whether and how the CPUC and/ or PG&E should inves­ti­gate this poten­tial­ly seri­ous pub­lic safe­ty haz­ard.  Instead the focus was on spin­ning the sto­ry in the media:

We have also con­tact­ed sev­er­al fire chiefs who are sym­pa­thet­ic and may com­ment on the most recent meter issue.”

What exact­ly is meant by “sym­pa­thet­ic” giv­en that hun­dreds of thou­sands of smart meters have now been recalled due to fire risk and peo­ple have lost their lives?

In Novem­ber 2013, PG&E was again scold­ed by Zafar after their call cen­ter staff advised a cus­tomer who had prob­lems with smart meters to (gasp!) con­tact the CPUCSid­ney Dietz of PG&E responds:

We found the call, and indeed our cus­tomer-ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive (CSR) advised, in error, the cus­tomer to call the CPUC. One of the man­agers con­tact­ed this par­tic­u­lar CSR and her super­vi­sor and made sure she under­stands the prob­lem, and we will be updat­ing the script to make it absolute­ly clear that we should not pass the prob­lem to the CPUC.  This same man­ag­er is one of the train­ers for the CSRs (they train con­stant­ly), and will main­tain an empha­sis on not pass­ing the buck. As you know, the group at PG&E that works on com­plaints and speaks reg­u­lar­ly with the CPUC com­plaints group under­stand that this is not the right way to han­dle cus­tomers, and works to get this kind of thing correct.”

Former CPUC President Loretta Lynch: “CPUC is a rogue agency”

For­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Loret­ta Lynch: “CPUC is a rogue agency”

The task of the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Commission’s Con­sumer Affairs Branch — accord­ing to the CPUC’s web­site - is to: “assist con­sumers in resolv­ing dis­putes with their util­i­ty com­pa­ny.” Yet, Ms. Zafar chid­ed PG&E for “pass­ing the prob­lem” when cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives sug­gest­ed that peo­ple with smart meter prob­lems con­tact the CPUC.  These e‑mails con­firm what watch­dog groups have been claim­ing for years—that the CPUC lit­er­al­ly has become a satel­lite office for the investor owned util­i­ty and tele­com cor­po­ra­tions - a “rogue agency” as for­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Loret­ta Lynch now refers to the agency she once led.

While CPUC offi­cials pri­vate­ly grap­pled with prob­lems caused by smart meters at their own homes, pub­licly they denied these prob­lems exist­ed despite thou­sands of com­plaints to the con­trary con­firm­ing these were sys­temic prob­lems. An unfair and extor­tion­ate opt out pol­i­cy was approved in vio­la­tion of the CA Pub­lic Util­i­ty Code, charg­ing cus­tomers hun­dreds of dol­lars a year to pro­tect their safe­ty.  Thou­sands still refuse to pay this extortion.

Those respon­si­ble for this crim­i­nal activ­i­ty should be pros­e­cut­ed to the fullest extent of the law, and the Cal­i­for­nia leg­is­la­ture needs to do its job and hold hear­ings to get to the bot­tom of these crim­i­nal rela­tion­ships that have cost Cal­i­for­ni­ans their lives.  All redact­ed e‑mails must imme­di­ate­ly be made public.

Peev­ey and com­pa­ny should be put behind bars.

Giv­en the lies, reck­less­ness and betray­al of trust that has char­ac­ter­ized the forced smart meter deploy­ment, the extor­tion­ate opt out fee pol­i­cy should imme­di­ate­ly be elim­i­nat­ed and past fees that have been paid by ratepay­ers refund­ed with an apol­o­gy. Exces­sive charges paid by util­i­ty cus­tomers based on inac­cu­rate smart meter read­ings must like­wise be refund­ed.   A tru­ly inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into fires, health haz­ards, and the cal­i­bra­tion and accu­ra­cy of smart meters must be car­ried out.  Smart meters must be recalled and replaced with safe, electro­mechan­i­cal ana­log meters NOW. At the end of the day, human life is more impor­tant than pro­tect­ing this cor­rupt pow­er struc­ture and the egos of PG&E and CPUC executives.

We mean it literally.

We mean it literally.

Spe­cial Thanks to the fol­low­ing groups for ongo­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive research efforts that have led to the dis­cov­ery of these e‑mails.  There will be more to come!

EMF Safe­ty Net­work, Sebastopol, CA
Cen­ter for Elec­tros­mog Pre­ven­tion, La Mesa, CA
Eco­log­i­cal Options Net­work, Boli­nas, CA

Take a look at the slimy e‑mails for your­self- it ain’t pret­ty.  Drop us a line if you find some­thing juicy or incriminating.