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OPINION
June 5, 2011
You don't have to be a tinfoil-hat-wearing paranoiac to be worried that the electromagnetic radiation from modern wireless devices may be harmful to your health. But are the "smart meters" being installed by utilities throughout the state frying homeowners' brains, as many consumers and even municipal governments fear? The risks are vanishingly small, while the economic and environmental benefits of smart meters are wide and obvious. In fact, we wish L.A.'s municipal utility would get busy installing the devices, though that isn't likely to happen any time soon.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
November 12, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Jon was notified recently that SoCalGas would be installing "smart meters" in his neighborhood. He's got some questions about that. What sort of info will these things gather? Is the wireless technology safe to be around? ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Can you opt out? Good questions. I put them to the utility. For the answers, check out today's Ask Laz video. If you have a consumer question, email me at asklaz@latimes.com or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz .
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 29, 2011 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s plan to install 'smart meters' in this affluent Bay Area community of eco-friendly homes, yoga studios and organic restaurants has unleashed a torrent of anger among customers who fear the devices will expose them to hazardous pulses of electromagnetic radiation. Hundreds of Fairfax residents have posted red-and-white "Smart meter not here" signs beside their mechanical meters as a warning to PG&E technicians. A few have secured their spinning-dial meters with gates, cages and padlocks.
BUSINESS
January 18, 2012 | By Nancy Rivera Brooks, This post has been corrected, as indicated below
Three big California power utilities are launching a Web-based tool to help their customers save energy - and money. Called “Green Button,” the online tool unveiled Wednesday by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric will allow consumers and businesses to see how much electricity they're using and to download the data so that they can figure out how to use less. Edison, SDG&E and PG&E are in the process of rolling out the energy-information program for the about 10 million customers, the companies said.
BUSINESS
March 10, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher
Natural gas consumers could pay more than $1 billion to put radio-controlled smart meters on their homes, even though an agency judge has ruled that the proposal by Southern California Gas Co. is a money loser. The Los Angeles company, which serves 20.5 million people from south of Fresno to the Mexican border, says it needs the meters so customers can get up-to-the-minute information about how much natural gas they use to run furnaces, water heaters and stoves. "That gives customers a chance to adjust usage . . . such as putting on a sweater and tightly closing windows," said Michelle Mueller, vice president for customer operations at SoCalGas, a unit of Sempra Energy of San Diego.
OPINION
June 4, 2011
Politics and religion Re "Romney's religious 'test,' " Opinion, June 1 In reading Tim Rutten's Op-Ed column concerning Mitt Romney's Mormonism, I was struck by the quote from Warren Cole Smith: "I believe a candidate who either by intent or effect promotes a false and dangerous religion is unfit to serve. " I understand I am in a minority here, but I believe that anyone who thinks there is an immortal, all-powerful being sitting somewhere listening to their mumblings is not totally sane and almost certain to be dangerous.
BUSINESS
April 20, 2008 | DAVID LAZARUS
California's three biggest utilities are charging customers nearly $4.6 billion to install millions of "smart meters" at homes and businesses. These newfangled meters, the utilities promise, will revolutionize energy usage by giving consumers far greater control over how much they pay for power. Unfortunately, the meters could be outdated before they're even operational.
HOME & GARDEN
February 27, 2010 | Ilsa Setziol
Some power companies are pulling the plug on old-fashioned mechanical electric meters, and to the likely disappointment of growl-happy dogs, fewer meter-readers will be invading yards across Southern California. Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric and San Diego Gas and Electric are upgrading customers to digital "smart meters" that can transmit real-time data about electricity use back to the utility company wirelessly. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is updating meters too, but primarily for larger businesses.
BUSINESS
August 1, 2007 | Elizabeth Douglass, Times Staff Writer
The allure of the air conditioner on a hot summer afternoon soon could become less attractive because of high-tech household meters that would keep customers and their utility apprised of fluctuating power usage and prices. Those souped-up meters moved a step closer to reality Tuesday as Southern California Edison told regulators that the devices would save its customers $109 million more than the program's estimated 20-year cost of $1.97 billion.
NEWS
May 20, 2000 | MATTHEW EBNET, TIMES STAFF WRITER
This time, parking hogs, there will be witnesses. And they will make sure you never again keep that parking spot for more than the two hours allotted by the meter. You also lose that last freebie still occasionally granted to the common motorist: 15 measly minutes left on the parking meter, courtesy of those who parked before you.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 5, 2011 | By Brittany Levine, Los Angeles Times
A week ago, Jim Sepe began playing around with his appliances - turning up the air conditioner, setting the Jacuzzi at a lower temperature and running the microwave to watch numbers tick up and down on a digital photo frame he keeps on his kitchen countertop. "It's really fun," Sepe said. "I learned that if I did this or that, or turned my Jacuzzi down a few degrees, I was saving money. " Sepe is a guinea pig for a new project, cooked up by a Burbank businessman, Glendale Water & Power and Ceiva, a digital frame maker, that displays electricity and water usage on a small frame to get people to engage with the smart-grid technology the city has spent $20 million on. Glendale was the first city in the nation to get federal stimulus money for installing smart-grid technology in March.
OPINION
June 5, 2011
You don't have to be a tinfoil-hat-wearing paranoiac to be worried that the electromagnetic radiation from modern wireless devices may be harmful to your health. But are the "smart meters" being installed by utilities throughout the state frying homeowners' brains, as many consumers and even municipal governments fear? The risks are vanishingly small, while the economic and environmental benefits of smart meters are wide and obvious. In fact, we wish L.A.'s municipal utility would get busy installing the devices, though that isn't likely to happen any time soon.
OPINION
June 4, 2011
Politics and religion Re "Romney's religious 'test,' " Opinion, June 1 In reading Tim Rutten's Op-Ed column concerning Mitt Romney's Mormonism, I was struck by the quote from Warren Cole Smith: "I believe a candidate who either by intent or effect promotes a false and dangerous religion is unfit to serve. " I understand I am in a minority here, but I believe that anyone who thinks there is an immortal, all-powerful being sitting somewhere listening to their mumblings is not totally sane and almost certain to be dangerous.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 29, 2011 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s plan to install 'smart meters' in this affluent Bay Area community of eco-friendly homes, yoga studios and organic restaurants has unleashed a torrent of anger among customers who fear the devices will expose them to hazardous pulses of electromagnetic radiation. Hundreds of Fairfax residents have posted red-and-white "Smart meter not here" signs beside their mechanical meters as a warning to PG&E technicians. A few have secured their spinning-dial meters with gates, cages and padlocks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 17, 2011 | By Melanie Hicken, Los Angeles Times
Glendale and Burbank officials are touting their new "smart meters" project as an exciting technological advancement that will help the utilities and customers track real-time water and electrical use. But a small group of residents is resisting, saying they're worried about the health effects of the radio waves emitted by the meters. They also say the utilities' ability to view electricity and water usage as it occurs is intrusive and could change the rate structure. When a contractor arrived to install a smart meter at Erik Bottema's residence, the technician was ordered off his property.
BUSINESS
April 8, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher
A divided Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved a request from Southern California Gas Co. to charge customers $1.05 billion to install radio-controlled smart meters on 6 million homes from Fresno to the Mexican border -- overriding criticism that the technology simply isn't needed. On a 3-2 vote, the regulatory panel backed a proposal by Commissioner Dian Grueneich to provide 20.5 million SoCalGas users with more real-time information about how much natural gas they are using to run furnaces, water heaters and stoves.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 2000 | MATTHEW EBNET, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Meter readers are tired of explaining them and so are shopkeepers, but partway through the test period for Newport Beach's smart meters, beachgoers slowly are growing accustomed to them and many businesspeople are delighted, despite some meter quirks. The point of the meters, which were installed for a three-month trial period in June, was to give everybody a fair share of parking time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 17, 2011 | By Melanie Hicken, Los Angeles Times
Glendale and Burbank officials are touting their new "smart meters" project as an exciting technological advancement that will help the utilities and customers track real-time water and electrical use. But a small group of residents is resisting, saying they're worried about the health effects of the radio waves emitted by the meters. They also say the utilities' ability to view electricity and water usage as it occurs is intrusive and could change the rate structure. When a contractor arrived to install a smart meter at Erik Bottema's residence, the technician was ordered off his property.
BUSINESS
April 1, 2010 | By Troy Wolverton
You probably have a mobile phone with a Bluetooth radio in it, and you may have a Wi-Fi network as well. Soon, you could be using a third wireless networking technology in your house. It's called ZigBee, and it eventually might find its way into more devices than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combined. In the near term, you're likely to see it show up in the smart meters that utilities have begun to use and in the remote controls of high-end televisions. In the not-too-distant future, you could be using ZigBee networking to control the lights in your home, monitor your elderly parent's health or turn off your air conditioner during periods of peak energy use when no one's home.
BUSINESS
March 10, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher
Natural gas consumers could pay more than $1 billion to put radio-controlled smart meters on their homes, even though an agency judge has ruled that the proposal by Southern California Gas Co. is a money loser. The Los Angeles company, which serves 20.5 million people from south of Fresno to the Mexican border, says it needs the meters so customers can get up-to-the-minute information about how much natural gas they use to run furnaces, water heaters and stoves. "That gives customers a chance to adjust usage . . . such as putting on a sweater and tightly closing windows," said Michelle Mueller, vice president for customer operations at SoCalGas, a unit of Sempra Energy of San Diego.
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