Whether or not PG&E is installing Smart Meters, its new wireless digital gas and electric meters, in Fairfax was a controversial question this week. But, the answer is: not quite yet.
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Although opponents of the wireless meters raised the alarm on Tuesday, police said there were no reports of any new Smart Meters being installed. Town Manager Michael Rock said the confusion came about over a regular PG&E service truck, which carries the digital meters in the back.
Valeri Hood, a member of Smart Warriors, said at the Fairfax Town Council meeting last week that she had heard from certain sources PG&E would begin installing the meters in Fairfax this week, despite an . According to an article in the Marin Independent Journal, Mayor Larry Bragman also said he was told by unnamed sources that PG&E would begin installation this week.
So, when opponents of the meters, who had set up a watch around town for PG&E or Wellington Energy installers, saw a PG&E truck filled with the digital meters the alarm was quickly raised.
SmartMeter opponents began posting sentries around Fairfax late last week to keep a lookout for PG&E vehicles. They took the action after several Fairfax residents reported finding cards that PG&E representatives had left at their homes.
"The cards said that PG&E is planning to install in your area," said Fairfax resident Valeri Hood, a member of Smart Warriors. "We realized it was probably time to start monitoring the streets and making sure the installers weren't coming in en masse as they have been in Santa Cruz and San Anselmo."
A press release from Hood said that Yvette Wakefield, a Fairfax resident, and Katharina Sandizell, who was , confronted a PG&E serviceman Tuesday, Aug. 23, and called for police officers to cite him.
Rock, who was also called to the incident, said that the PG&E worker was simply a serviceman who carries the digital meters in his truck in the event that a non-functioning meter has to be replaced.
"Believe me, we would know [if meters were being installed]. There would be a dramatic increase in calls to the police," said Rock.
PG&E spokesperson Jeff Smith confirmed that PG&E is not currently installing meters in Fairfax, but that servicemen sometimes have to replace non-working meters and no longer carry the old analog meters.
"We'll certainly do significant outreach" before installation in Fairfax, said Smith.
PG&E did a number of community meetings last year in Fairfax. , they voluntarily delayed installation in Fairfax.
At the Aug. 17 Town Council meeting, Bragman said he'd been attempting to get a clear answer on whether or not PG&E would hold off on the installation until after the .
"I’m concerned if there's systematic deployement, there will be breaches of the peace," said Bragman at the meeting.
The council approved Bragman sending a letter to PG&E attempting to clarify their position.
In an Aug. 8 letter to Bragman, Vallejo wrote, "And while SmartMeter upgrade plans in Fairfax are not currently scheduled for the immediate future, we anticipate they will be scheduled towards the end of this year or the beginning of next." In the same letter Vallejo also wrote, "Prior to upgrading our customers in Fairfax, PG&E will proactively communicate with them about their option to delay their meter upgrades for any reason."
The town continues to attempt to defend the legality of its ordinance, but has not yet had to come to heads with PG&E. The Marin County District Attorney said he wouldn't defend a .
An "Emergency Smart Meter Symposium will be held by Smart Meter opponents on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Women's Club. Bragman, Sandizell and StopSmartMeters Director Joshua Hart will speak.