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Santa Cruz Joins the Battle Against PG&E SmartMeters

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -- The Santa Cruz City Council voted this week to join a petition protest at the State Public Utilities Commission against PG&E's controversial SmartMeters.

The petition, filed by Santa Cruz County, Marin County and the cities of Capitola, Seaside, Marina, Ross and Fairfax, wants both individuals and entire communities to have the right to opt out of the program.

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

For months SmartMeters opponents have packed state PUC meetings to complain about the wireless devices. Josh Hart of the group Stop SmartMeters said the public is worried about health risks.

"Homeowners have a right to refuse installations to have the SmartMeters removed if there are serious health effects which are increasingly being reported throughout Santa Cruz County," said Hart.

Attorney Jim Tobin who represents the communities that are for the moratorium said people in these communities are very angry.

"We believe that the opt out should be able to be exercised by a local government jurisdiction like a town or a city or a county," Tobin said in the people's defense.

Similar petitions have been filed against San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison and the PUC has scheduled a workshop September 14 to consider the protests.

Meanwhile, PG&E continues to insist that not only are SmartMeters safe, but they give consumers an easy way to monitor their energy use and practice conservation.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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