- Politics and Social Issues
Sebastopol, CA. Bans PGE SmartMeters
The town of Sebastopol, Calif., is a haven for those close to the earth issues, being Green, one might call it a hippy-type town about 12 miles west of Santa Rosa. There are many rich people there hiding in the backwoods away from prying eyes. From the roads, you would never know.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE) services the entire Northern California area supplying electricity and gas to homes. They recently created a new gas\electric "SmartMeter" that is electronic and said to be very accurate and allows for readings from remote sites, instead of having a person visit the home and read the meter for billing. The controversial aspect has those fearful of many things like privacy invasion and electromagnetic frequency (EMF) dangers emitted from these meters. Many think and claim the EMF is a hazard to the health in some way, like how a microwave might be a danger to humans. Studies are inconclusive at best. Still, there 21,000 meters in the town, of which, 7,100 have upgraded to the SmartMeter, while 1,100 have refused. Now, the town plans to ban them period. The State of California must decide whether a whole town can "opt" out of being forced to install the new PGE meters.
This town is not the only one in the state, there have been 50 others that have done the same thing. The ban makes it a misdemeanor to install the meter and fines would be the punished much like in traffic violations. But, it is unclear if the installation would be a criminal or civil offense.
In any case, PGE has refused to discuss the issue.