In a front-page story about the smart meter forum in the April 29 edition of the Santa Barbara News-Press, one of the panelists is quoted as stating she was the reason that Southern California Edison, the international utility company that serves as the monopoly assigned to our area, backed out at the last minute. The statement reflected only the tip of a corporate-driven tsunami.

Edison agreed in writing to participate in the forum in late January. During the four months that followed, the company communicated its continued commitment. Suddenly, 13 days before the forum, Edison backed out, on the grounds that it wanted to “do (its) own event at UCSB with students.”

In response, Dr. Mark Toney, one of the panelists, contacted the president of Edison, who countermanded the midlevel management decision and ordered a representative, Ken Devore, to participate. Then, 51 hours before the forum, Edison pulled out for a second and final time.

Its spokesman, Zanku Armenian, said the monopoly was not comfortable with the panelists and felt “outnumbered.” He also said the forum was “premature since installation is not scheduled until at least February 2012.”

Incredibly and unfortunately, Edison is already installing smart meters in the city and the county of Santa Barbara without notifying householders before or after installation, which means many residents may have no idea they have a potentially dangerous and definitely intrusive meter on their property.   

The question arises: How can we trust Edison?

Mike Lambe