Helix Water Decides New Meters Not Smart for Now

From The Mt. Helix Patch, La Mesa, CA, USA


Helix Water Decides New Meters Not Smart for Now

Budget constraints force board members to reject smart meter technology, which would come at a price of $1.38 million.

Although the Helix Water District board of directors agreed that the Smart-Meter Pilot Project was a good idea, after Wednesday’s meeting, that’s as far as the new technology will go for now.

With an estimated cost of $1.38 million to install the smart meters around town and Helix undergoing reductions to cope with budgetary issues, the board admitted it just wasn’t time to institute a drastic change.

After Lisa Irvine, director of administrative services for Helix Water District, presented draft guidelines and principles for fiscal year 2011-2012, it seemed clear the smart meters were outside the budget.

Irvine said Helix was still undergoing reduction – within a three-year period, Helix will be cutting 20 staff positions, or 12 percent of its workforce.

Irvine also discussed several other cost-cutting measures, including a freeze on any new operating programs, continuing staff reductions through attrition, using Helix vehicles until 80,000 miles rather than replacing them at 55,000, and reducing water education and conservation programs.

Shortly after Irvine’s report, Helix Field Operations and Distribution Manager Tim Ross presented an analysis of the Smart-Meter Pilot Project. Benefits, such as enhanced customer service and water conservation, were outweighed by key concerns, including cost, undetermined battery life of wireless transmitters, and high levels of staffing requirements and maintenance.

“We don’t want to spend a million-and-a-half dollars,” said John Linden, board vice president.

The project also demonstrated a lack of public participation in the smart meter web portal. Of the 28 registered users – 9 percent of pilot customer accounts – there were only three visits per week after an initial 20 visits per week.

Board member Kathleen Coates Hedberg said she was surprised at the lack of online participation. Hedberg said she utilizes smart meter access online to get an indication of her own energy consumption.

Nevertheless, Hedberg admitted the time isn’t right to do a full-scale version of the project. She added that she was interested in making the smart meters available to anyone who wanted them.

“Maybe our customers would be willing to pay for that,” Hedberg said. Indeed – the pilot program data showed smart meters resulted in up to 42 percent in water savings for customer accounts, according to Ross.

Despite the board’s decision not to go forward with the smart meters, La Mesa resident and smart meter opponent Susan Brinchman was still not satisfied.

After presenting for several minutes, she was reminded by board president De Ana Verbeke that the board had decided against the smart meters. Brinchman responded it wasn’t enough because meters were already installed as part of the pilot program.

Brinchman said exposing an unsuspecting population to radiofrequency radiation, which the smart meters emit frequently throughout the day, is “irresponsible and deplorable.”

“It is impossible to guarantee the safety of these meters,” Brinchman said. “Mark my words: The smart meters go in, the lawsuits will follow.”

Several Helix customers were interested in keeping up the pilot project.

“That program would be better to be kept on the pilot program for a while,” said Gordon Place.

La Mesa resident Dexter Levy agreed with Place and encouraged the board to keep the existing meters to gather more data.

Although the smart meter discussion was a large part of the meeting, Helix employees’ pensions also weighed heavily on customers’ minds.

“Job security in the public sector is greater than the private sector,” said Russell Buckley, who is against the employee pension plan.

Local business owner and founder of La Mesa Chamber of Commerce David Smyle asked the board to consider holding at least one of the two monthly meetings in the evening for better pubic access.

Smyle expressed fears that a pension reduction would cause the board to raise salaries to make up the difference.

In February, Buckley and Smyle formed a watchdog group to monitor East County public agencies’ spending.

Smyle also wanted to know each board member’s thoughts on the pension issue.

“You are representatives we elected in here. … I really don’t have any idea how any of you stand on the issue of pension reform,” Smyle said.

Smyle suggested the board also hold town hall meetings to solicit public input.

“You can come and inform us. …. Obviously we can’t all be here at 2 in the afternoon,” he said.

Are you in favor of smart meters? Tell us in the comments.

Comments (26)


10 California counties and 25 cities and towns have taken a position against smart meters for a very good reason: they are dangerous to the public health. Scientists who are expert in the field back this statement. Health effects can be delayed and some are immediate for thousands of Californians. One study found smart meters to emit up to 160 times the full body radiation of cell phones, and they are always on, vs. cell phones that the WHO now advises to reduce use of. Smart meters emit high levels of pulsed rf radiation, correlating to more serious biological effects in a large number of studies over the past 40+ years. The frequencies used by smart meters are problematic for living beings, humans, plants, and animals, well documented. Cancer risks (DNA-breaks and inability to repair), and leakage of blood brain barrier are on the list, with significant risk of neurological and immunological damage. We have so many families struggling with autistic children, which is a neurological disorder. Why expose the population to such a dangerous technology, waiving the health, safety and environmental testing at the state PUC level? One answer: follow the money. As a resident who is very ill from the two smart meters on my home, and a national public health activist, I ask that you inform yourselves by going to www.smartmeterdangers.org and learn why these pro-smart meter people are very naive. The Helix Water Board was not interested in hearing the dangers being made public.

The 42% savings was for three people with a leak. Hardly a reason to subject customers and the public to higher levels of radiation associated with harm to public health in our communities.

Helix says to look at the 42% savings as an excellent example of how smart meters can save money. Any Helix customer will say, "Wow, I can save a lot on my water bill with a smart meter!" However, that savings was derived from three people with a leak? Lying and fraud is the only way to characterize what Helix appears to be trying to do. Thanks for uncovering that, Susan B.

Check out the story of one woman who was never sensitive to wireless radiation until her electricity smart meter was installed. FYI–the water smart meters put off the same wireless radiation.


Other problems–the ability of the utility to monitor your use constantly, giving a detailed picture of what goes on in your home on a constant basis. They can disconnect your water from miles away. And they can manipulate the software in your meter to overcharge you–they might do it intentionally, accidentally, or a hacker could get in and do it.

At this point, Helix says they are not going to install, so that's good. But the radiation from those already installed is still doing physical damage to everyone exposed to it. And I suspect that this issue will come up again later since Helix seems to still love them.



And Insurance companies don't sacrifice insurance premiums ($$$) for no reason.

TV NEWS VIDEO – Insurance Companies Won't Insure Wireless Device Health Risks (3 minutes, 13 seconds)

2. WIRELESS SMART METERS TRANSMIT RADIATION APPROXIMATELY 25,000 TIMES PER DAY, 24/7, not 45 seconds per day as claimed by Utility Company.

VIDEO – Radiation Measured From Smart Meter Mounted On A Home (6 minutes, 21 seconds)

3. CELL DAMAGE, DNA BREAKS & BREACHES IN THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER observed in laboratory tests from low levels of pulsed RF signal radiation as emitted by Wireless smart meters – reported by Top Wireless radiation scientists in the world at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco Nov 18, 2010:
VIDEO – http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/cc-video/

2-page Press Release:

…AND in the U.S. and UK and other countries where Wireless smart meters are being installed, energy use is NOT decreasing, customer UTILITY BILLS ARE INCREASING, there are additional PROBLEMS and COSTS incurred from increased SECURITY & HACKING PROBLEMS and the Wireless meters are creating ELECTRICAL INTERFERENCE PROBLEMS, motion detector device interference and even starting fires in some homes.

Wireless smart meters are NOT mandated by the US Federal Energy Program, but the utility companies are pretending that they are being forced by the Federal Government.

But the Utility companies are salivating over eliminating the jobs of the full-time-with-benefit meter reader employees and replacing them with phone operators in India and the Philippines who read scripts to customers over the phone for $4 per day and NO Benefits.

The monetary transfers from customers to utility companies are huge, the problems are real, but the advertised benefits are NOT occurring.

Update: HWD decided, under public pressure and, they claim, financial disincentives to end the smart meter program (it cost a lot for the smart meter program with no benefits noted by consumers except for three notified of higher water use). At their meeting yesterday, it was obvious that hearing about the dangers of smart meters to the public health was not on their wishlist. Keeping quiet on that subject appeared to be as much a priority as raising water rates each year was. No wonder, 322 residences have the dangerous meters now on their properties. But Helix may remove those too. We hope they do, before someone with a pacemaker kneels down to pull weeds near the smart meter and doesn't ever get up again. This type of wireless can interfere with pacemakers and other implants, as well as cause many other dangerous health effects. www.smartmeterdangers.org. Have a Facebook account? Join the American Coalition Against Smart Meters at www.causes.com/acasm ; http://twitter.com/No2SmartMeters for an archive of 300 anti-smart meter news articles

Smart meters are unhealthy, and we don't need them.

I recommend anyone who can, to attend the Helix Water District meetings, to speak out against the pollution of our environment by HWD in the form of electro smog – from any future smart meter plans or cell tower rental plans. HELIX WATER DISTRICT DIRECTORS: WE DON'T LIKE YOUR PLANS FOR ELECTRO-SMOGGING OUR COMMUNITIES. I think people who would not do these things, who understand environmental protection and that radiation is undesirable, should run against these directors. Let's get some replacements who care about health and safety.


So, what do we do if these meters are already installed? How can we get rid of them? Helix probably isn't willing to come and remove my "smart"meter, right?


Actually, the Board of Directors indicated they were leaning toward removing all 322 meters at a cost of about $8000. They said it was too expensive to keep them in. I didn't see an actual vote of any kind, I guess they vote in a backroom somewhere. Very unusual meeting, certainly not the type that made me feel they are up front on things. It was mostly a horse and pony show. Decisions made behind the scenes.


Good grief… I've never heard such mumbo jumbo. The reality is Helix staff quoted the non-profit tasked by the state to study the technology, and they say the raidation generated is equivalent to an FM radio! I think this most ironic part of all these postings is that you're faced with radiation using your home computer, if the testimony presented by Susan at Wednesday's meeting is correct. I heard she was quoting everything from a wireless printer network to a cell phone to a cell tower is just as dangerous as a smart meter. Sorry, I don't buy it. I guess you better steer clear of Santee since Padre Dam has fully implemented smart meters in its service area. I don't think anyone is getting sick there… I heard Helix used the same company.
Again, all I can say is wow… and I'm convinced you can pay a scientists to say anything you want. I don't buy the research quoted. Sorry….

Anyone who would be FOR the smart meter would have to be:
a) living under a rock (as they haven't followed the news about 35 municipalities saying no to smart meters due to dire health effects, including 10 counties in CA)
b) a shill for the utility companies (and they do hire these to comment, I think I smell one here)
c) naive (believing whatever gov't and industry tell them)



Oh and by the way… I heard Susan spoke for 14+ minutes at Wednesday's Board meeting. Wish I were there so I could have encouraged the Board to keep the comments to 3 minutes like everyone else is!


Actually, glad you brought that up. Everyone else got to speak as long as they wanted, and I checked ahead of time about how long one could speak for. I was told by HWD there is no limit, they want to hear what you have to say. That rule went out the window as soon as I mentioned that the smart meters at Mt. Helix were dangerous. Then suddenly the three minute rule applied. New directors are needed. Not a single one of them stood up for the people, not with rate increase discussions (as if rate increases were a given), not with their own high salaries and benefits for part-time, not for changing their good ole boy meetings from 2 PM to a later time for public participation, not for protection of the public and wildlife from rf radiation. I was VERY disappointed in what I saw. I encourage the public to attend the meetings and give strong input on very important topics like these. Shills need not apply.


Chad seems unaware that the smart meters were tested by PG & E and a group that gets money for promoting smart meters. Hardly, unbiased people! Companies only want these things to put people out of work when we can't afford anymore unemployed in California.

There is NO EVIDENCE that these things help reduce consumption but they do make people ill and many people don't know what is making them ill.

Companies don't want these facts out and I have to wonder about Chad's motives in not considering the evidence being presented by non-biased groups who believe there are red flags regarding smart meters.

No one is testing the interactions between all of these wireless devices. One may not hurt you but in reality we don't have one device and when do we hit the breaking point?

Wireless devices are tested with strong, young, healthy men weighing 180 pounds and 6 feet tall. Does this mean they are safe for your baby sleeping around a smart meter? Is it safe for grandpa and his pacemaker.

Everything wireless should be evaluated for the weakest amongst us not the strongest. I for one think Chad should consider the children, the old, and the weak before he pipes up about how everything is safe.

Currently, cell phones are not recommended for children. Smart meters are a danger to children and until an UNBIASED TEAM can prove WITH 100% CERTAINTY, I don't want to take the chance that our precious children could be PERMANENTLY DAMAGED BY SMART METERS!


I can smell a troll a mile away..


Susan is a great example of why the rest of the country thinks California is full of whackos. She has let her emotions get in the way of logic. The smart grid radios that operate under part 15 of the FCC transmit at one watt or less. There are literally million of devices that transmit in this same frequency range and power output. Garage door openers, cordless phones, wifi routers, remote controls, and thousands of other devices. By contrast most cell phones have output power at two watts or higher, and are held against you ear. Logic would say that a lower power device, one watt or less, several yards away, that comes on serveral times an hour for milliseconds at a time CAN'T have the impact of devices like cellphones. If Susan were to use an RF scanner she would find an existing level of RF noise all around her that would probably send her over the edge.

Wow, I wonder how much the industry is paying the PR people to come on here and spread the lies about smart meters.

The people of California are absolute heroes. No other state has so many people coming together in such well-researched, effective groups to fight these meters.

Here in Texas, you can count the fighters on one hand. As much as I'd like to fault Texans as being lazy, stupid, or cowardly, that wouldn't be fair. Because no one has even heard of these meters. That's by design. Because there is overwhelming evidence that once people learn about the meters, they don't want them. So all utilities all over the WORLD are trying to install them as fast and quietly as possible before anybody can find out about them and object.

Regarding the radiation claims: take a look at this video of a guy with a radiation (RF) detector. It shows that the meter is bursting large amounts of radiation every 2-5 seconds, all day, every day. He also shows that the radiation is penetrating well into the house onto which it is installed. A video is truly worth a million words.


Logic isn't what is needed, with something so technical. Read the research and testing on smart meters, it is all collected for those who are truly interested, in the Research section of Smart Meter Dangers. As a veteran teacher, I know that science is the answer. People interested could learn. People with conflicts of interest won't. This is about all our lives. With 9/11, three thousand people were killed, in a tragic attack. With smart meters, millions stand to be injured and fatalities are absolutely possible, according to the warnings of expert scientists. I think it is worth our time to get the scientific reasons out front for dismantling the smart meter program in America and beyond. Harming the public isn't what we elect anyone to do, whether accidental or deliberate. Once informed, it is deliberate. PR people are paid to mislead the public. Don't forget, the HWD Directors are elected, and highly criticized for making close to $100K a year, with fancy benefits, for a part-time job. They don't want public sentiment to go against them. Neither does HWD want to assume liability for any injuries. One misled person on the board said, "You can't go wrong with new technology", the other day. I know you can – and this one is a whopper of a mistake. They didn't truly do their homework. Now, the rest of us need to concentrate on SDG&E meters that are on our homes and businesses. For starters, watch YouTube's The Dark Side of Smart Meters. Public beware, much money involved.


Who's against smart meters?

Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party-ers
Consumer Advocates

Below are links to a very fact-filled and informative presentation by the National Consumer Law Center and AARP about the financial dangers to the poor, especially including seniors, of smart meters. But they also discuss the ability to remotely disconnect power (shut off service from a long ways away), the health dangers, and other issues surrounding the smart meters.


When you go to the page linked above, look for the smart utility meters presentation on March 30, 2011. There you will see links to "Presentation" (only the powerpoint part of the presentation), "Recording" (the video of the powerpoint presentation with the audio). If you have time, go to the "Recording" for the most information.

To be fair, if there was a National Association of Stalkers, they would be FOR smart meters. Whether you have a smart meter measuring your water or measuring your electricity use, it's measuring constantly. Anyone who wants to know whether you're home, what time you get up, what time you go to bed, when you're on vacation, etc., can just look at your electricity or water usage data (in many places you will have both meters) and find out. A camera inside your house is cheaper.


Matthew isn't looking into the science of wireless technologies with unbiased eyes. There is evidence that wireless technologies interfer with the blood brain barrier. Maybe he doesn't care if he damages some of his brain cells and destroys some of his DNA.

Somehow, I think for the rest of us destroying our DNA and Brain is a big concern.

By the way, companies with profit to gain often call Californians crazy for objecting to toxins.

Funny thing is after the truth gets out everyone follows California's example of offering the public more protections. They called Galileo a wacko too for bringing to light the facts.

A good rule of thumb is to follow the money. Who's making money on smart meters and putting people out of work. These smart meters will make it possible to turn off or overcharge you for your water, power, and gas with no recourse. It's all about money and some folks don't mind hurting you to get it.


Your readers should know that smart meters, in the manner installed and operated in California CAN violate FCC public safety limits. They CAN produce excessively high RF exposures. Sage Associates conducted computer modeling of smart meter wireless emissions. Using the FCC OET Bulletin 65 formulas, we demonstrated they can produce RF exposures within the living space of homes that are out of compliance with FCC regulations. It is not simply about the watts (the person commenting does not understand anything about pulsed RF). Smart meters have not been proven to provide ANY energy conservation benefits. They were sold to the public and CPUC as some kind of new 'green' technology. But, its not 'green' if it is bad for your health. And the final insult is that utilities double-dip us on the costs, first to pay for their failed corporate strategy and to clean up their economic mess by charging ratepayers to opt-out. The smart meter program is being rejected by consumers. It will not work. It is expensive. It harms health.

Really SMART MOVE by the Helix Water District Board to abandon plans for wireless water meters, which are not just like FM radio- they are a radio system which transmits microwaves, which is very different than just receiving FM signals. the Key word here is TRANSMITS, sends out data, not just receives.

Congratulations to the Board for making the right choice, and saving their financial resources. Time will prove it to be a very very SMART DECISION!

Sandi Maurer

Barbara S.

I have researched extensively the dangers of both pulsed and non ionizing radiation. Both are emmissions from wireless smart meters. The evidence is overwhelming that this is a health hazard to all. Hearing in Congress have had testimony by main stream physicians that are warning the public that there is a tsunami of tragic health consequences here already and more coming. Simplly read the Bio-initiative or google medical journal articles in peer reviewed publications and you will see this is a health tragedy of a magnitude the human race has not seen to date. The failure to do envirnomental studies, fully inform the pubic of dangers, and the deceit and speed with which this program has been deployed is reprehensible. Wake up and read. Your government is not protecting you it is protecting corporate profits unfortunately…..Attacking the messenger is not useful. Ms. Brinchman is educated, articulate and has a lot of courage to stand up and speak the truth. As time goes by you who are hostile and critical will be scurrying to apologize to her and thank her for having the courage to warn you of the dangers to which you are exposing yourself.

L.R. very well said!!!!!


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