Decision based on cost, but a local resident who started a national movement to ban smart meters claims they can harm health in some individuals



April 7, 2011 (La Mesa)—Helix Water District customers won’t be getting smart water meters anytime soon. The Board of Directors opted against the change.

“We don’t want to spend a million and a half dollars,” board vice president John Linden stated. The board also noted that among 322 pilot project customers who do have the smart meters, only 9 percent accessed the smart meter website to check their energy usage.


Members of the public presented arguments for and against the smart meters. Susan Brinchman, a La Mesa resident who started the website www.smartmeterdangers.org, presented evidence raising concerns over potential health risks. Brinchman has provided ECM with a letter from her doctor to SDG&E, in which the physician states that  Brinchman has suffered harm to her health from an SDG&E smart meter on her home.

Brinchman had previously been diagnosed with sick building syndrome but says she had been feeling better until SDG&E installed two smart meters, one for gas and one for electric, on her home–including one right outside her bedroom.

According to her physician, Dan O. Harper M.D., the wi-fi frequenty generated by the SDG&E smart meter “has escalated her symptoms and is causing fatigue, insomnia and cognitive dysfunction. I am hereby requiring that the unit be removed from her home as soon as physically possible. This is covered under the American Disability Act of 1990 under the invisibilities section.” Brinchman says she also believes ear pain and a ringing in her ears are related to her smart meter and says some symptoms improved after she moved out of her bedroom, located near the meter.

SDG&E has denied the request from Brinchman’s doctor in a letter which states that the utility has “carefully reviewed available factual information” and that “the Americans with Disabilities Act…does not require SDG&E to remove your smart meter.”

Brinchman’s website contains links to articles and studies linking radiation levels associated with Smart Meters to various health impacts, fires caused by smart meters, and a study which claims measurements at some smart meters exceeded those claimed by utility companies. Legislation, AB 37 by Assemblyman Jerod Huffman, would impose a moratorium on smart meters and give customers a choice to opt out. The California Public Utilities Commission, after receiving numerous complaints from consumers alleging health problems from smart meters, is considering an “opt out” option for PG&E customers that would force ratepayers to pay $500 if they wish to opt out of having a smart meter.

Helix Water District’s Tim Ross, in a letter to Brinchman, says the district is unaware of any health problems and has relied on reports by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, World Health Organization, and California Council on Science and Technology in reaching that conclusion.

Dexter Levy, a La Mesa resident, encouraged the Board to keep its pilot meters and gather more data, a view shared by Gordon Place, La Mesa Patch.com reported.

As for the potential for smart meters to cause fires, San Miguel Fire Department spokesman Leonard Villareal sent ECM an e-mail which states, "We did some checking and in a survey of Fire agencies and SDG&E, there have been no reported smart meter fire starts in our county." He added, "Looked like they had a problem in Texas with a couple of homes."

Elder Abuse

I consider it elder abuse that I am sick with a medical condition that my doctor says is made worse by the measurable emissions from these two smart meters on my home that are 8-350+ times higher than the natural background levels. The 350+ high surge of rf radiation, measured by a professional handheld rf radiation meter, occurs every 15 minutes or so. The bedroom that the meter is on has 30 times the normal levels, due to mirrored closet doors that intensify the rf radiation. This is a particular type of frequency that is associated with just such health effects as I have in many hundreds of peer-reviewed research studies, not the insider reports of the utility companies. I am a senior citizen who should not have to sleep on my couch because going near my bedroom gives me a splitting headache and ringing ears, due to the smart meter. I should not have had hearing loss from the shrill ringing in the ears. I cannot even use the room at all, or occupy that side of the yard, where the electric meter is. This is loss of use of my property. I did not plan to spend my retirement in my home abused by the state of CA's Public Utility Commission and a SDG&E meter that callous corporate supervisors refuse to remove. What do you think? Would you want this for yourself? How many of you out there will also end up like this? or worse? Would you want your own mother treated like this? What kind of sick place are we living in where people are treated like this by SDG&E and our other utility companies in California, with no mercy at all for people who need these meters removed due to severe health problems? For shame. This is why a monopoly is absolutely wrong. If this is an example of where the country is headed, then I am glad I am older. The best years are truly behind us, with terrible abuse for everyone ahead if they get away with this.

For an informational packet

For an informational packet that may be used to learn more and to educate groups about smart meters, go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/52614951/Reasons-to-Say-No-to-Smart-Meters. Let all your family, friends, neighbors, and organizations know that the new utility meters have been heavily criticized by scientists and experts for their emissions. Minimized risk statements come from utility company insider reports and obsolete standards. Since only 29 people even looked up their water bills online and only 3 people saved water (they left hoses on and received door hanger signs and calls as reminders), it appears smart meters were a major failure that ate up an enormous amount of money for Helix Water District. Further, the risky meters are still in the 322 residences in Mt. Helix area. I never heard a vote taken to end the program, nor a vote to remove the existing meters. Call Helix Water District and demand that yours be removed, if you have one. They emit rf radiation that scientists say is dangerous. 35 California municipalities have researched these problems and established ordinances banning them, and even criminalizing their installation. We now need to work on getting SDG&E to remove the ones they forced on us all. The La Mesa City Council and Mayor Madrid were all informed of the problems in December, 2010, but chose to do NOTHING. Let them know, too, that you want no electro smog in your homes from smart meters. Visit www.smartmeterdangers.org to see those city and county resolutions and join American Coalition Against Smart Meters www.causes.com/acasm. Thanks to East County Magazine for its help in bringing out the truth to its readers, helping HWD to decide, undoubtedly, to "can" the smart meter idea. Keep the pressure on…NO SMART METERS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY FROM SDG&E. If anyone in San Diego County wants to help work on the Smart Meter problems from an environmental activism approach, please contact me at sbrinchman@aol.com. What we do now will benefit our children, grandchildren and all future generations. We cannot let our homes be filled with electro smog. It is a ticking time bomb, according to scientists. Nothing can be more important! The people in Northern California are taking their time and resources to educate the public and fight the smart meters there. Let's join them here.
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