Apr 17

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The Latest and Hot Off the Press!

Thank you for meeting with us and taking the time to review the numerous egregious issues related to smart meter deployment that warrants committee hearings on bill HB 3421-Dennis Bonnen and SB 1044-Bob Hall.  Attached is the eight page brief we discussed and supporting documentation regarding ongoing investigations in California and recently released emails between CPUC officials and CA utilities.  These emails highlight the same smart meter issues reported in Texas: adverse health effects, higher bills, utilities’ intent to deter individuals from opting out due to excessive opt-out fees, and utilities’ failure to disclose factual information regarding smart meter radio frequency transmissions. 

The attached information is relevant because millions of homes in Texas use the same California Silver Springs Network.   During the 2012 and 2013 Texas Senate Business and Commerce and PUCT interim charge hearings, the PUCT received over 700 comments regarding smart meter issues.   Numerous Texas citizens testified in these hearings to similar problems revealed in emails between the CPUC chairman and PG&E executives. 

On April 16, 2014, a California Judge Rules Electric Utility’s Smart Meter Opt Out Fees Violate State Law; PSREC Refuses to Reconnect.  This case highlights the abusive practices of utilities when the fail to accommodate individuals with disabilities, violating ADA laws.

Regarding our discussion about the initial opt-out fees, given that all ratepayers are paying for the deployment of the smart meter infrastructure through their services fees, the aspect that the PUC allowed utilities to assess these exorbitant initial fees is in fact double billing and a violation of Sec. 17.004.  CUSTOMER PROTECTION STANDARDS of the PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATORY ACT which should protect customers from fraudulent, unfair, misleading, deceptive practices.

We would like to see committee hearings on smart meters similar to the December 2, 2014 Michigan hearing which took place on the same day our PUC of Texas scheduled a hearingThe Texas PUC abruptly cancelled the December 2, 2014 hearing with no explanation.  which they cancelled.  Pertinent information from the Michigan hearings begins at 3:52 minute mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q12IbEtTrwk regarding the numerous places where smart meter opt-outs with analog meters are allowed.  Listen at minute mark 7:20 regarding smart meters, which are in fact surveillance devices being placed on our homes without informed consent.  As we discussed, smart meters provide an activity log of the utility usage in the home without consent or knowledge of the home owner which equates to unwarranted surveillance and violates our 4th Amendment rights to privacy. 

Below are references regarding violations of Texas state law.
From the PUC of Texas…


Texas and Federal laws smart meters violate…

18 USC 2510 (12)…definitions of electronic communication

18 USC 2511…interception and disclosure of data

18 USC 2550…interception of data

Texas Penal Code 16.02(b)(1)…interception of data

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 18.20, Sec. 15  

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 18.20, Sec. 16

Issues of “conversion” (which is theft)…found at



Texas Utilities Code §39.107(b)

Below is a link to the news article about the fire that took the life of 74 year old James Humphrey Jr. from Fair Park, South Dallas. His cousin, Alfreda Johnson, lives next door and she too had a house fire a couple of years ago which she believes was due to her smart meter and caused her to rewire her entire home, something most people can’t afford.   http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/dallas-county/2015/02/03/fatal-dallas-fire-puts-scrutiny-on-smart-meters/22821335/  When these fires happen, it’s never the smart meters fault – it’s always the home owners meter box or house wiring and all cost of repairs fall on the home owner. 

Here is a link to the recent smart grid failure in Stockton, CA where a power surge caused over 5,800 to be without power, with hundreds of smart meters exploding on homes.  People said it sounded like car bombs going off.  http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/03/30/stockton-smart-meters-explode-after-truck-causes-power-surge/

The advanced meter infrastructure was sold to utilities as being so intelligent that an event like this would have contained the surge if the system had performed as vendors promised the utility providers.  Not only did the surge protection fail, but residents were told by reporters to call PG&E if they didn’t have power, further revealing another “promised benefit” of smart meters failing to perform.  Furthermore our grid is vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a solar flare or an atmospheric nuclear bomb explosion, which would cause the electronic circuit boards on all smart meters to fry, making every home’s meter a point of failure needing replacement to restore power.  Analog meters do not contain electronic circuit boards.

The attached information outlines how the biggest complaint against smart meters is that of higher bills.  For low-income or people living on a fixed income this is a huge problem.  If people who live in HUD housing have their utilities cut off due to non-payment, they may lose their HUD voucher.

There are two no-cost, smart meter opt-out bills, HB 3421 by Dennis Bonnen pending in State Affairs chaired by Byron Cook and SB 1044 by Bob Hall pending in Natural Resources chaired by Troy Frasier. 

We urge you to watch this award-winning documentary about smart meter issues: https://takebackyourpower.vhx.tv/buy/take-back-your-power

Private citizens, the AARP, the ACLU, Texas Eagle Forum, Ban Texas Smart Meters, Texans Against Smart Meters, LULAC of San Antonio, Home Owner Taxpayer Association of Bexar County, Home Owners for Better Building, Coalition for Safe Meters, San Antonio Smart Meter Awareness, Austin Smart Meters, and other groups across the state have been actively educating the public regarding the safety, health, privacy and cost issues related to smart meters. 

Here is a list to U.S. groups opposed to the deployment of smart meter technology.

Thank you for serving and protecting Texas residents.   


Sheila Hemphill                  

Brady, TX                                                   




Susan Straus

San Antonio, TX



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