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Landlord Looks to Outsmart Smart Meters
By Mark Anderson
An owner of southern California apartments says digital smart meters for monitoring utilities were forcibly reinstalled by police and utility personnel on two of her apartment complexes after she had removed these meters amid serious concerns that smart meters expand the surveillance state while emitting an energy field that may cause health problems for occupants. AFP first addressed this issue in its Aug. 1, 2011 edition. Since then, these meters have been proliferating around the country.
Deborah Tavares told AMERICAN FREE PRESS that her situation took place after she removed 19 of these new meters at her expense in order to put normal, analog meters back on her apartments affecting 12 living units in Covina, and five units in nearby San Gabriel.
Ms. Tavares is challenging a widespread national effort to usher in these smart meters. People familiar with these meters see them as a major step to form a
seamless grid, wherein minute details of one's energy usage and associated lifestyle can be remotely logged. Meter readers are no longer needed for visiting properties because the new meters allow for remote access of energy-usage data. In addition, according to
presentations given by engineers such as Rob States, speaking before the San Francisco Tesla Society, the meters carry secret software that can recognize the electric signature of different appliances, making it possible to record precisely when consumers use computers, hair dryers or anything else.
Ms. Tavares recalled in a Dec. 26 interview with AFP
that she went back to using analog meters on her apartments by the fall of 2011 because several of her ten- ants began to complain of bad headaches, nausea, insomnia, lethargy and other ailments, and the electromagnetic field emitted by the new smart meters was thought to be the cause. She also put protective metal cages around the analog meters she installed.
Not to be denied their monopoly, some 15 employees from the Southern California Edison utility, backed up by five police officers, showed up at 9 a.m. Dec. 12 and used cutting tools to remove Ms. Tavares's cages and analog meters and reinstall the smart meters. The tenants were horrified, said Ms. Tavares.
Ms. Tavares has set up the website RefuseSmart- that offers legal information and other practical means for getting rid of smart meters, and how to stop their installation on one's home or business.
Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. He and his wife Angie provide photographs and video of the events they cover for AFP. Listen to Mark's radio show at, weekdays at 8 p.m. central. Email him at at