On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors held a hearing on smart meters, which was attended by more than 200 people. I was one of them.

The hearing began with Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison giving their presentations. Both companies made it clear that they would proceed with the deployment of the meters, with zero regard for freedom of choice and the concerns of their customers. PG&E said it would be offering an opt-out program but seemed confused about the cost, which it finally admitted may be as high as $270 just for set up. SCE arrogantly stated it had no plans for opt-outs, ignoring its customers’ rights and knowing full well that a growing number of the people they are exposing to smart meters are becoming ill from the cumulative toxic effects.

Public comment followed. Around 45 people spoke up about the meters’ risks to safety, health, cost, security, the environment and private property issues. A distraught woman talked about a friend who was living in her car because the radiation from a smart meter in her home was making her so sick.

It was heartbreaking to hear so many stories about people in dire straits because of the “forced installation” of these meters.

Our supervisors listened and took action. They voted unanimously (5-0) to send a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission demanding that PG&E and SCE offer opt-out programs at no charge to consumers and directed staff to review other legal remedies. We are proud of them. The board backed “we the people” and defended our rights, health and safety. It was a memorable day. 

Thank you, Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

Diana Thorn