People who have become intolerant to electromagnetic fields (EMF) should be allowed to keep their electromechanical (analog) meter rather than be imposed a “smart” electronic (digital) meter emitting radiofrequencies (RFs), the former President of the the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) admitted in a 2010 email recently seized by authorities thanks to a search warrant. Michael Peevey’s email was sent to none other than Brian Cherry, Vice President of the big energy supplier Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), based in San Francisco. In January 2015, investigators from the Office of the California Attorney General seized their computers as part of a criminal investigation on possible collusion and corruption in the appointment of a judge favorable to a rate increase request generating PG&E $1.3 billion in extra revenues.
Since the beginning of their deployment in 2006 around the world, governments and water, gas and electric utilities have always claimed that smart meters posed no danger to public health. This despite thousands of complaints from users and doctors who reported a host of symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) which appeared or were aggravated after installation of these emitters of pulsed microwaves (read here testimonials submitted by Quebecers to the Régie de l’énergie). However, on 6 September 2010, Peevey wrote to Cherry : “There really are people who feel pain, etc., related to EMF, etc., and rather than have them becoming hysterical, etc., I would quietly leave them alone.”
At the beginning of his message, Peevey confided: “If it were my decision I would let anyone who wants to keep their old analog meter keep it, if they claim they suffer from EMF and/or related electronic-related illnesses and they can produce a doctor’s letter saying so (or expressing concern about the likelihood of suffering same). I would institute such a policy quitely and solely on an individual basis.”
Told about this confession, the President of the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (Quebec Association Against Air Pollution or AQLPA), André Bélisle, “insistently demands once again that an independent public health inquiry be launched based on these new facts and revelations”.
But at the office of the Quebec Minister responsible for Public Health, Lucie Charlebois, nothing has changed. “Our position on smart meters remains the same,” said spokesperson Alexandra Bernier. She said the opt-out program offered by Hydro-Québec (featuring a non-communicating digital meter) is enough. Yet it does not help people living in apartment buildings close to several smart meters because they have to convince their neighbors to pay removal fees.
WHO partnership with electric utilities
Peevey’s admission about electrohypersensitivity was probably based on a well-informed source: an email dated September 15 2010 shows that the CPUC was advised by epidemiologist Leeka Kheifets, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health in Los Angeles who serves on several international and national committees that advise governments on environmental policy, including the Scientific Expert Group of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)”, according to her UCLA Web page. Dr Kheifets is most familiar with research on effects of EMFs on human health. “Prior to her professorship at UCLA, she was Head of the Radiation Studies Program at the World Health Organization and was a Technical Executive at the Electric Power Research Institute, where she directed a multi-disciplinary electric and magnetic fields (EMF) research program”, her UCLA profile adds. Her public opinions, which minimize the health risks of EMFs, are responsible for most national public health advisories on EMFs, which parrot the arguments of electric utilities and wireless industries. “Of all the people I know, Leeka Kheifets has done more to subvert EMF research than anyone,” says American epidemiologist Samuel Milham, the first scientist to discover an increased risk of leukemia among electrical workers overexposed to EMFs. “In my book Dirty Electricity, on page 80 I describe how she prevented me from filtering a Palm Springs elementary school, and on p 91 how she prevented me from filtering the library building at University of California at San Diego. Both places had female breast cancer clusters. Lou Slesin has covered activity in great detail.” Dr. Kheifets did not respond to our emails and phone messages, nor did CPUC and PG&E officials.
While Dr Kheifets worked at WHO, her boss Mike Repacholi worked hand in hand with power companies, according to the editor of the highly regarded newsletter Microwave News, as was revealed in October 2005. Repacholi invited six of their representatives to assist Kheifets in drafting and editing WHO’s Monograph No. 238 Environmental Health Criteria on residential (60-Hertz) EMFs, published in 2007. Among the six international ‘observers’ invited was a Canadian, Dr. Michel Plante of Hydro-Québec. Since 1983, this family doctor is responsible for protecting public health as well as that of the electric utility’s employees. In recent years, he has also become a consultant for cellphone companies, for whom he has organized public talks on the safety of cell towers and also on the safety of smart meters and smart grids, in collaboration with Quebec’s Public Health authorities.