Oct. 25, 2012
Tiobe Barron, OVN correspondent
Attempts to garner information from Southern California Edison (SCE) regarding its installation of Smart Meters in Ojai has proved largely unsuccessful, the Ojai City Council learned Tuesday night.
In a letter dated Oct. 3, Ojai City Manager Rob Clark wrote to SCE and requested information related to the utilities’ placement of the disputed equipment within the city limits.
In his letter, He asked for maps of the placement and deployment status of every meter placed within the city limits, including individual meters, collector meters and banks of meters, wiring and power lines and all other equipment.
He also sought information about the manufacturer of each piece of equipment, model numbers of all equipment and proof of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certification of each piece of equipment;
The request also asked for the frequency ranges that each piece of equipment emits and uses in its operation, including projected and actual, and how those align with worldwide standards in light of the full spectrum of the latest research on the health effects of EMFs.
Also requested were deployment schedules for each component with information about what has been installed to date and what is scheduled to be installed in the future.
Clark asked for full disclosure of federal and state laws and regulations governing and guiding installation of the Smart Grid and proof of how the company has met all federal and State technical specs, process guidelines, and requirements for giving the cities and unincorporated areas in its service district full disclosure of its plans;
Finally, he asked for a demonstration of the expertise of installers as assurance that each installer is qualified to install the meters according to codes and standards.
“The response that we got, it really wasn’t complete, in that it didn’t reveal the location of their various items, citing both security and confidentiality reasons,” Clark informed Council members.
These are the latest communications in a series of correspondence that began when the Ojai City Council passed a largely-symbolic ban on the installation of Smart Meters effective May 29. Mayor Betsy Clapp wrote to both SCE and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requesting an option for a community-wide opt-out of the Smart Meter installation, after numerous Ojai residents came forward expressing concerns ranging from privacy to possible health effects from the wireless devices.
One such resident, Rae Amey, also spoke at the meeting.
“I’m very glad to hear the letter went out,” Amey said. She told council members that she and a group of concerned residents plan to meet with a group of Topanga residents who have allegedly experienced negative effects since the installation of Smart Meters in their community.
“Do we know whether or not there has been an impact at the state level because of citizen concern on this issue?” asked Councilwoman Carlon Strobel. Clark responded that the CPUC is currently conducting hearings on the matter, so it is an active issue at the state level. The CPUC also has written to the Council, informing them CPUC views the city’s recent Smart Meter ban as illegal and unenforceable.
Clark said he has heard from gas companies, who say they plan to deploy their own wireless meters between March 2016 and June 2017.
At the same meeting, the acting director of the Ojai Recreation Department, Sophocles Cotsis, requested a one-time exemption to the exchange of services policy for the department. The policy allows nonprofit groups to do work (usually repair-based) for the department free of charge, in exchange for waiving the park use fees. Local resident Bob Hill wants to rent Sarzotti Park Nov. 10 for corporate “Olympic games style events,” in exchange for repairing the horseshoe pit area, picnic area No. 1, assembling seven new picnic tables, and other work estimated at a value of $2,000 in lieu of the approximately $1,000 park use fee.
“We are asking just for this one-time exception, and then we are going to revisit the exchange of services policy to maybe make it a little broader than what it currently is,” Cotsis said. Council granted the request.
Council members also took the opportunity to laud the efforts of Ojai Day planners Lynda Killingsworth, Paul Casanta and Amber Young.
“Given the circumstances that surrounded Ojai Day this year, I want to thank staff and all the members of the Parks and Recreation Department that were actively involved in the organization of that,” said Mayor Pro Tem Paul Blatz. “It was the Council’s wish that Ojai Day continue as it had. There were some circumstances that developed that made it somewhat stressful. When we directed Mr. Clark to do it, it was done, and I appreciate that.”
Council will hold a meeting Nov. 27 to examine extending the moratorium banning Smart Meter installation. Visit www.ci.ojai.ca.us to view the correspondence between Council, SCE and the CPUC.