scored another victory Tuesday, when the Santa Cruz County Board Of Supervisors reinstated a moratorium on installations in unincorporated areas.
The vote came after a report by County Health Officer Dr. Poki Namkung, who cited possible links between negative health impacts including headaches, nausea and other symptoms that the meters transmit.
"If everyone in Santa Cruz could read this they would come to the same conclusion that our county health officers came to," said Jeff Nordahl of Stop SmartMeters!.
More than a dozen county residents spoke in favor of the moratorium and said the report confirms what they have experienced.
"I have had migraines since October, when 74 of these were installed on the building I live in," said Caille Allen, 74. "I also went to my eye doctor because my vision was going. He said that the migraine was causing everything to be chalked up."
Also, a letter sent to the California Public Utilities Commisison (CPUC) from the American Academy Of Environmental Medicine calls continuing installations of SmartMeters "irresponsible" because of the number of studies pointing to health risks. The letter also calls for a moratorium on installations everywhere until more is known about the impacts on communities.
The board let a previous moratorium expire several months ago because they have no direct authority over the statewide energy grid. However, they are trying to give it teeth this time. Board Of Supervisors Chairperson John Leopold said attorney James Tobin and other counties are now working together to give customers the choice of what type of meter goes on their homes.
"We have come a long way in the last year," Leopold said. "I just signed a petition that is going with James Tobin to the CPUC today calling for community wide opt-out options."
Taking the issue to PG&E and the CPUC is the right move, said International Brotherhood of Electricians Business Representative Hunter Stern. He asked that the moratorium no longer call for Wellington Energy Inc. workers to be ticketed or arrested for installing meters.
John Leopold asked County Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello whether any Wellington employees had been charged with a crime.
"No one has been arrested for installing a SmartMeter," she said. "No one has been cited for installing a SmartMeter."
Stern said, however, that they have “been tracked, stalked and threatened by protesters.” He engaged in a spirited debate with StopSmartMeters! representatives and some common ground was found.
"No one has more issues with PG&E than the people that work for them," said Stern. "They didn't let people know how to respond [to the installations]. Just leave our guys alone. That's all we ask."
The new one-year moratorium will go into effect after a final vote by the board on Feb. 7.
"I really appreciate the report from Dr. Namkung," said Supervisor Ellen Pirie. "I don't know where all this is going to lead, but I think it's important that we take the staff recommendation and take this wherever it is going to go."