SoCal Gas Advanced Meters

6/12/12 Update

SoCalGas submits opt out plan which would would require S0Cal ratepayers (who are SCE and SoCalGas customers)  to pay fees to both utilities (doubling the opt out costs) . In addition SoCalGas’ proposed opt out fee is grossly out of proportion to its services.  Its monthly opt out fee  would increase monthly bills by 27.3 percent(!). See BurbankAction website for more information.

Update 2. SoCalGas informed us that their Advanced Meter device would be made by “Aclara.”   Amy O’Hair of StopSmartMeters.org wrote

“The Aclara Star system is what PGE uses—in the 400MHz range, with each unit reporting to an antenna within a mile. Usually there are 2 antennas a unit can connect with. They are one-way only with no remote shut-off possible. PG&E’s pulse 4x a day (or thereabouts). The transmitting unit is placed onto an existing gas metering unit. They remove the dial portion, affix it to the grey “smart” unit, then replace it onto the gas unit (baffle, I think it’s called).”

Amy sent this picture:

***

Mindy Spatt,  from Turn.org said that the gas meters are “the dumbest meters yet.” She said that there is no need for “advanced meters,” which also emit RF radiation, because people’s gas usage is very stable. She thinks there is still time to have “impact” on these as they haven’t been installed in  our area.  They have been installed , however, by San Diego Gas and Electric, and some people have reported serious health issues as bad or worse than the Edison meters.

This page will be used to gather info and pass on contacts and also provide info about what actions we need to take to stop the advance of  “Advanced Meters.”

***

Update 12/9/11
The SoCalGas web site says  that “Advanced Meters” are “not an optional service upgrade.”  They are not offering an “opt out” program.  The installation involves attaching a wireless, radiation emitting device to existing gas meters.

They received approval from the CPUC to do this in April, 2010, according to a SoCalGas representative.  They say the radiation will be emitted a half second every six hours.

I told the SoCalGas rep that this may not be complete information as with the electric meters we later found out it was emitted in tens of thousands of milliseconds.  However, according to their fact sheet, not only are “advanced meters” completely safe but they say the FCC has said that even banks of Smart Meters are within FCC limits, which has also not turned out to be true.

From their fact sheet:
“According to studies by the FCC, the Electric Power Research Institute, and
the WHO, no adverse short- or long-term effects have been shown to occur from the radio frequency signals produced by advanced meter technologies or other such wireless networks.”

That statement is also not accurate.  I wonder what “health” studies they are talking about that they say the FCC conducted. (Does the FCC conduct “studies?”)  The Electric Power Research Institute is closely aligned with the utility industry.  WHO just declared the RF to be a possible class 2b carcinogen because of increased gliomas (brain cancers) from this radiation.

Here is a link to an article about SoCalGas Advanced meters.

***

12/10/11

See this page regarding maps  and SoCalGas’s plans. It also has contact information (Lizette: 213-244-4427) and an e-mail.

They are going to attach a wireless RF device to our existing gas meters–but they do not say in their document what it is exactly.  They don’t say who the manufacturer of this device is.

For example, here is one manufacturer of such an RF device which looks like it’s for water meter reading.  Itron also makes such devices.

15 Responses to SoCal Gas Advanced Meters

  1. John says:

    The manufacturer is Aclara (http://www.aclaratech.com/Pages/default.aspx).

    The meters that will be installed for SoCalGas are different than the meters used by PG&E (although they’re both manufactured by Aclara).

    My understanding is that the meters used by PG&E communicate directly with Data Collection Units (DCUs), which are basically like mini cell phone towers that are installed on telephone poles, in parks, on the roofs of fire stations, and other government owned property. The individual meters talk to the DCUs and the DCUs communicate back to PG&E through a cellular data connection.

    The difference with the meters that will be used by SoCalGas is that the individual meters will create a form of mesh network (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_mesh_network). In other words, the meters will talk to each other. The main benefit of doing this is cost. Less DCUs will be required since usage data can be effectively relayed from house to house. Eventually, a meter in range of a DCU sends along the collective usage data.

    With this method, not only is money saved by installing less DCUs but money is also saved because it means that the utility company has less reoccurring monthly cellular data charges (remember that each DCU is outfitted with a cell phone).

  2. Hi John,
    Thank you for this information. SoCalGas had told me that Aclara was involved, but they haven’t given the specs of the exact wireless device they are using. I don’t like the sound of a “mesh” network with meters “talking” to each other–because it means more RF in the neighborhood.

    Melissa

  3. Mia Nony says:

    As I understand it, it is illegal for smart meters to share mined data from one households with other households.
    The frequencies contravene Building Codes (section concerned with vibration), Electrical Codes (section concerned with harmonics).
    Vibrations for 900 MHz is 1.8 billion times a second. For 2.4 Gigahertz, 4.8 billion times a second. Buildings are built to certain specifications. If vibrations loosen contacts, if that voids specs, and if that voids occupancy permits and insurance, what then? Just how long will developers and/or investors be willing to wait indefinitely for occupancy permits.
    Harmonics corrode, beginning with metal.
    Andrew Michrowski discusses this corrosion in detail.
    Imagine for a moment just how many structural components are metal.
    In Canada the frequencies appear to violate the Weights and Measures Act by billing a customer for the energy generated at source and then dissipated along the transmission lines, instead of billing the customer for usage, which is what analog meters do.
    Modernization?
    Or demolition?

  4. Redi Kilowatt says:

    Calling a gas meter advanced is a misnomer and a joke. The gas meters are Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters. There is no such thing as an Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) for gas.
    An advanced electric meter is a different story, but the electric SmartMeters being deployed are not AMI meters, they are simple AMR meters.
    A real advanced electric meter is paid for by the customers ($5000+ each), and is of value to the commercial and industrial customers that have been using them for years, but the SmartMeters are of value to no customer, only the utility to eliminate the meter reading department.
    But guess what ?, the AMR SmartMeters are not capable of monitoring or recording current flowing bi-directionally, so the analog, TOU and demand response meters must still be read by meter readers. The utility corporations really shot themselves in the foot this time, they will never eliminate the meter reading department with the current SmartMeters that they chose for deployment. And they are stuck with these simple meters until the next round comes, which may be never !. Considering the cost to replace all the residential AMR meters with AMI meters, there is no possible way that will ever happen.
    Since PG&E charged the ratepayers $2.2 billion for 10 million AMR meters, then they would have to charge the ratepayers $230 billion for advanced electric meters And PG&E has other problems that need attention.. Right now, PG&E has not even started upgrading the electrical power grid, which will cost $300 million and take 10 years to complete, once they get started in one or two years.

  5. Cynthia says:

    You can Opt-Out of Advance Meter by calling SoCalGas. A monthly fee will be added your account so that a meter reader can continue to come and read your meter every month. The Advance Meter is powered by something you already use a “battery.” Your data is encrypted and your account information such as name and address is well protected. For outlining areas that are furthest away from a central billing center data travels from one tower to the next to reach its final destination. The data is sent within seconds. Tampering with your gas meter can possibly result in legal action. You have a choice to not receive Gas at all. There’s always electric appliances you can use. Natural Gas is one of the cheapest utilities around. The gas monitoring is meant to help you manage your gas usage. If you have kids or a pool you can find out ways to lower your gas bills by having everyone use hot water at the same time instead of running it throughout the day. You can set a lower thermostat on your pool or even catch a squatter at your vacation home. Most people are at work all day you won’t even have time to think about an Advance Meter transmitting information. There are so many other things on your mind that you should be focusing on.

  6. Richard says:

    Cynthia, thanks for alerting me to pay attention to all the other more important things in my life, since polluting myself with RF radiation shouldn’t be of any interest to me at all. This is all about money. It’s about greased pockets from vested interests and the hell with public health and individual concerns. It’s about money for someone, when things were working just fine with human beings making a living coming around and reading a dial. Now we have to have RF radiation-emitting devices, got to be modern, it’s all for our own good, flouride in the water is all for our own good, chemtrails make us happy, and vaccines never hurt a single child that developed a sudden case of heart failure immediately afterward. Yes I guess you’re right, so many other things I should be focusing on, rather than propaganda from a SoCalGas sales agent.

  7. Valerie says:

    I agree with Richard. Cynthia should identify herself as a SoCalGas employee, or else admit that she doesn’t know Thing 1 about RF radiation. This is another flip decision by a huge corporation on behalf of unknowing consumers. When those of us who are not complete sheep speak up, we’re supposed to be pacified by some pseudo-authority assuring our fluffy little heads that it’s all fine and dandy — just move on with your lives– no harmful EMF or RF here, folks! The sum total of all the “harmless” chemicals and frequencies we’re subjected to as consumers is completely unknown, as is the long term effect of just one of them, let alone the conglomeration. This is another case of the consumer getting stuck with the effort and expense of opting out of something that should instead default to NO, while another huge corp. makes more money, folds up more jobs, and jeopardizes the health of the mindless masses by glossing over the truth and misleading.Caveat emptor!!!

    • Christopher C. says:

      Care to cite any scientific studies about the effects of RF technology? I mean, studies you actually read and didn’t just hear on some episode of “Coast-to-Coast?”

      • Valerie says:

        What division of So Cal Gas do you work for, Christopher? ;)
        Sorry to debunk your theory, but I’ve never even heard of a show named “Coast to Coast”.
        All one has to do is google “harm caused by rf” to see countless examples of harm to humans by repeated and long-term exposure to RF. Some people are more susceptible, just like any other biological exposure, but it’s real and it’s there.

  8. Cynthia says:

    Valerie I am an employee. The module is powered by 1 AA battery. The module has already been installed in my home and is 8 feet from where I sleep. I’d also like to add that I sleep next to my laptop and cell phone which is on my night stand. I’m sure those emit radiation and that I’m receiving a healthy dose daily. I work in an area deemed nice by my colleagues where only 1 in 20 or so homeowners have dogs. There are some neighborhoods where dog ownership is much greater. Some people have multiple dogs that are not suitable for their living space (4+ dogs medium to large breed in a 10 x 10 ft yard). For the majority of people out there they are really nice and put their dogs away so we can safely inspect the meter and get the read for billing. But unfortunately there are some bad apples out their that make me do my work in fear. I don’t want to be bit, injured or die on the job. There are people who let their dogs out while we are in the yard and they’re not nice dogs either. They are not small dogs who are cute and cuddly these are big pitts, rotts and shepherds. I often ask myself “Why is this happening to me. Is my life worth nothing, why would you let your dog out when you know I’m still here. This makes no sense.” We are humans we speak a relatively common language English for the most part a little Spanish here and there, but mines pretty broken I can’t remember everything from a book 10 years ago. None the less even if I encounter a person who doesn’t understand me a simple hand gesture or nod of the head gets me to where I need to be and what I need to do. When it comes to a dog they bark. I wouldn’t even know where to begin on determining whether or not that was a nice bark or a bad bark to me its all bad. If a dog is relentlessly barking at me for 5 minutes and hasn’t let up I can only imagine how painful it would be to be bit by that dog. I also hear “My dog doesn’t bite or my dogs really nice.” For some reason I’m most afraid when I hear people that say that. Dogs are protective and territorial any episode of Dog Whisperer can fill you in on that. Dogs bite humans, other dogs and even themselves. I don’t want to be a victim or a statistic.

    I work part time pay check to pay check so do all the other meter readers in my office and across the entire company. This job is not full time and has no job security. On on hand it sucks to know that once this project is complete we will no longer have jobs, some of us will be able to move onto other positions and some of us will be out of a job possibly on unemployment or otherwise. At least I’ll be out of harms way for a while. But I do think about the customers I serve. I am a customer too. I think about the person who lights up their cigarette next to the gas meter and say thank god I did my job and made sure that those pipes aren’t leaking or that person may have potentially injured himself or countless others by doing something they do everyday which is smoke a cig on their work break. I also think about all the bikes that get chained to gas piping and all it takes is one sparkly bike a thief wants and them being as bright as they are they go and cut the gas meter piping to steal a bike putting other peoples lives at risk. I also think about all the countless number or people I meet asking me where their gas meter is located and what do I they do case of an earthquake. Not all meters are outside and visible. Most where I work are underneath homes, in basements, on rooftops and along the street in curbs. I also think about all the elderly people who perk up when they see me. I see them once a month thats twelve times a year maybe even less sometimes and ask them how their day is going, if their staying hydrated and keeping active. Most people stop and talk a bit after I say, Hi How’s it going? Something as simple as this will cease, soon. It’s not something I want to go away its my only way of communicating with my customers.

    Back to the main reason of the post. Its plain and simple radiation surrounds us all. A business stays in business because it has more profits than expenses. You, I and everyone contributes to corporate greed directly and indirectly. 6 degrees of separation it exists. If you want the exact amount of radiation that is emitted your going to have to ask a nuclear or radiation engineer or something they can explain that rate to you. They can tell you if the levels increase or decrease over time. I didn’t earn my degree in science so I don’t have an answer for you. Your absolutely right we should all live in fear. We should die from natural causes and things like controllable radiation shouldn’t take our lives before old age hits. Heck I’d like to move to a farm be off the grid and live the simple life, but for now I don’t have very much money and am forced to live a suburban life. We live in a society where survival of the fittest exist otherwise crime wouldn’t exist and we’d live in a bland utopia. What exactly do you do when mom and dad lay out the rules and you live under their roof. You either follow or move out right. Working for any company or for anyone is the same. You either work and use the product or service or you can refuse. I wasn’t there when they voted to use Smart Meters I have no push or pull in the matter. You may not like my stance in all of this, but I understand yours. It’s all a part of big business. You don’t have to feel sorry for me, I’m pretty good at doing that myself. We can argue until the cows come home and no one will win the argument. Let me apologize for all the things that has happen, is happening and will happen. You and I may never meet in real life, but I already serve you. Your concerns are valid and I agree.

    Cynthia

    mutantur omnia nos et mutamur in illis (all things are changing, and we are changing with them) the good and the bad

  9. Valerie says:

    Cynthia, thank you for responding. I apologize if I came across as blaming you personally. It sounded like you were defending the gas company’s meter plans, and I, like so many other consumers, am tired of mega-corporations making decisions for me about my health. Sadly, the human interface (that would be you!) usually gets the brunt of the anger because the consumer can never identify or access the head corporate villain who makes the profit over health decisions. I can appreciate that you have a difficult job and that not all customers are nice. It’s sad that utility companies are replacing their field workers with computers, especially when they are caring employees, like you sound. I hope you find meaningful work if this contract is not renewed. Thank you again for responding.

  10. jjanes says:

    wow Cynthia. Thanks for the perspective!

  11. Pingback: BioEffects of RF Radiation (from B. Blake Levitt)

  12. Ryan H. says:

    Something to note… there are primarily two different kinds of radiation. Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. When we talk about things like mobile phones, wireless internet, “smart meters”, television, and radios — we are talking about non-ionizing radiation. The wavelengths are so short, and the intensity — even with thousands of these things around us — they have no ability to harm us at a molecular level.

    Look at this chart for a moment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EM_Spectrum_Properties_edit.svg

    Then read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation

    After reading that, ask yourself — are we getting exposed to gamma rays, or 400 Mhz radios? (And yes, wifi is up to 5Ghz — and the same applies.)

    It’s far more likely the sunlight coming in from your windows is more harmful. I could be wrong though — in which case you should remove all window from your home, get rid of all your CFL lights, and never go outside.

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