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Santa Barbara Forum on Smart Meters Set for Thursday

Learn about the risks and costs of the meters, and SCE's plans to install them by 2012

As consumers’ rage accelerates over being forced to pay for replacement of their reliable analog utility meters with wireless smart meters without being informed of risks and costs, Santa Barbara’s GET SMART Townhall Forum will offer answers to audience questions, along with eco-safe and consumer-friendly options.

The nonpartisan event — organized by a coalition of community advocated and facilitated by the Santa Barbara Tea Party — will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.

The cost is free with an optional $5 donation for parking. RSVP to 805.967.7520 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The forum comes in the wake of 38 California communities and the state of Connecticut (among others) halting smart meter installation, in tune with mounting nationwide concern over citizen complaints and scientific research.

The topic is timely for Santa Barbara because Southern California Edison has indicated that it plans to install the increasingly controversial smart meters throughout the area the first of 2012 or sooner.

Basically, old electric meters with a spinning wheel that are read every month will be replaced by a high-tech meter. Edison calls it smart because the meter can record the electricity being used by the minute and hour because of its technology. That translates to billing every hour. Customers will be charged at a higher rate on an hourly basis during “peak times” — that is, when more people in the grid are using electricity.

The forum, the first of its kind in Southern California, will feature a distinguished panel of national experts who will reveal up-to-the-minute information about the meters that critics purport to be rationing devices and a threat to health, prosperity, constitutional rights, the environment, property values, privacy and national security.

Panelists will include Lake County Supervisor Anthony Farrrington; Dr. Mark Toney of The Utility Reform Network (TURN); Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen in Washington, D.C.; Cindy Sage of Sage Associates; Orlean Koehle, author and speaker; Kenneth Devore of Edison International; and Joshua Hart of Stop Smart Meters. Radio talk-show host Andy Caldwell will emcee.

— Heather Bryden represents the Santa Barbara Tea Party.

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