PG&E executive caught spying on critics

November 9, 2010

A senior PG&E executive, responsible for overseeing the utility’s controversial SmartMeter program, has admitted using a false name to try to join an online group opposed to the meters and secretly monitoring other online forums critical of PG&E. [Mercury News]

William Devereaux, senior director for the SmartMeter program, admitted the ruse Monday in an interview with the Bay Area News Group.

Activists caught on to Devereaux late last week, when the PG&E executive tried to join the California EMF Coalition, which maintains an online discussion group for people concerned about electromagnetic radiation.

Sandi Maurer, a Sebastopol resident, uses Google Groups to moderate the coalition’s online discussion group, and she often e-mails people before allowing them access to the small group. On Thursday, she said she received an e-mail from someone using the address “manasota99@gmail.com.”

“I live in Oakland where Smart meters have been sweeping across town and wanted to learn more about them and join the conversation to see what I can do to help out here,” wrote the person, who signed his name as “Ralph.”

But the e-mail message also revealed that the address actually belonged to Devereaux. Maurer recognized his name immediately — she met Devereaux in person at a forum last spring.

“He’s disguised himself, used a false name, said his name was Ralph and pretended to want to help our cause,” Maurer said. “It’s symbolic of what PG&E has become: deceptive and untrustworthy.”

Devereaux admitted that he used the name “Ralph” to try to join the group and said the whole thing was a mistake.

He said he acted on his own without informing other PG&E executives. It was not immediately clear how the utility would react to his disclosure. Devereaux said he had “no idea” whether he would be asked to resign.

PG&E has been blamed by state regulators and others in the growing smart-grid industry for installing the new meters without educating consumers and dismissing their complaints.

In summer 2009, scores of consumers in Bakersfield and elsewhere complained that the meters were causing wild spikes in their electric bills. An independent survey found nothing wrong with the meters, but berated PG&E for poor customer service.


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20 Comments

  1. willie says:

    How to slow kill a population
    Do it slowly in low dosage with FDA and FCC approval.
    Reason? Corporation save and make more money in the market shelves!
    But this is not enough profit, so lower the dosage, so there is enough survivors for the pharmaceutical to make money too, to ease the slow death (Note: There has been no drug in the past 50 years that cures anything, Penicillin and falls in the category of natural cures!).
    Its continuous and cumulative, big money all around.
    So add more cell phones, more Smart-Meters, more Microwave, more computers, more high powered TV, more safe(?) pesticides, more preservatives, more sweeteners (high fructose-cheaper). No industry, no government, no pharmaceutical, no hospital will ever be blamed (or caught) making a profit this way.

    Us older guys don’t take it that seriously because we already have one foot in the grave, but when you have young children and grandchildren, THEN you awaken about this cumulative exposure. One senator purpose an op-out to the Smart-meter for a fee. This is like a the punitive fee Pacific Bell charged to be unlisted (Does it take brains to be a senator?). EMF is NOT a drug but the game is played the same way, approval via dosage.
    Is it truly necessary!
    Why should we have to pay to op-out!

    (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  2. willie says:

    My hobby is electronics, I tinker with high voltage transformers for amplifiers and Ham radio transmission.
    My daughter keeps harping on me for a cell phone (guessing the transmission is approximately the same as the PGE Smart Meter), I am NOT concerned with the low microwave intensity but waht worries me is the chronic exposure.

    A Paso Robles Policewoman recently dies from breast cancer
    Not long ago, a SLO LE dispatcher was disabled from the damage caused from kemothreapy on her breast cancer.
    During WWII, Russian and German scientist discovered that many of their soldiers who adhere near microwave radars were dying of cancer.
    I know four people who dies in the past 5 years either from kemo or the cancer.
    It is difficult to know whether the kemothreapy or the cancer killed the patience in various cases.
    In a case with my neighbor, the kemothreapy destroyed his kidney before the cancer killed him.
    The hospitals and FDA will make anywhere from $400,000 to $1.2 million from each patient once the diagnosis is made with terminal cancer!
    All of us have hundreds of cancer cells in our body presently unaffecting us from exposure to radiation, EMF, ELF, and pollution.
    Additional EMF are a concern only if you have early stages of cancer, and if you do, remember this:
    Cancer cells cannot survive in an Alkali (-1 to -6 PH)(opposite of acid) environment.
    Cancer loves sugar (Corn surup, frutose, process sugar – natural fruits are okay).
    As for more EMF, avoid the use of microwave ovens for liquid or food, microwave alters the molecular structure of a substance.
    Some foreign research believe that the body will not recognized microwaved food as real natural food.
    Some domestic experiments using microwave water on plants compared to non microwave suggest that microwaved treated water kills the plants.

    Back to EMF
    If you have early stages of cancer (recommend you buy food grade hydrogen per oxide at New Frontier and put a few drops of it in everything you drink to bring your PH level down), notify PGE formally and have them remove the damn Smart Meter propery if placed inside your home, cc copy to your attorney!

    I know, Nuff said, nuff said

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. willie says:

    Politicians and CEOs are all a bunch of “legal” crooks

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  4. ds_gray says:

    The so-called ‘smart meters’ are just another way to charge more money for the same product. It allows PG&E to monitor when power is being used and not just how much. I for one see several issues with these smart meters;
    1) The meters will be streaming this data to collectors nearby, which means that any 2-bit hacker will be able to intercept it, and probably be able to alter the data,
    2) It will allow PG&E (and the hackers) to know when someone is in the home, based on (1) above,
    3) It means PG&E can now charge you ridiculous rates for using power in the middle of the day, instead of the current tiered method,
    4) The meters make it harder to get ‘grid intertie’ equipment, so that you can use solar panels and PG&E together.
    Its a win-win-win for PG&E, but a lose-lose for the consumer. So I’m going full-on solar and dumping ’em for good!

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
    • R.Hodin says:

      It goes well beyond smart meters. The new meters are the interface between the utility and all of the power-consuming devices in your home or business. Eventually all devices will be able to communicate to the smart meters through the home wireless network. The energy consumption of each device will be monitored by the utility, and the utility will have the capability to remotely control all of these devices in your home, putting your TV or computer in sleep mode, for example. It’s called the smart grid.

      (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
      • Paul Anthony says:

        Got a reference for that, Russ? I’d like to read it.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  5. R.Hodin says:

    PG&E will be firing all of their meter reader employees once the smart meters are installed. Think that’ll show up as a rate reduction on your bill? Think again.

    What will happen to all of those old mechanical meters which have been removed. Think they’ll be re-sold and you’ll see a rate reduction on your bill? Think again.

    Concerned about radiation levels? Think you have a choice as to whether or not a smart meter will be installed on your home or business, or a collector box on the utility pole next door? Think again.

    Think that all the smart meter does is monitor your energy usage? Think again.

    (7) 17 Total Votes - 12 up - 5 down
    • Cindy says:

      They came and put one of those new meters on my house today. They told me that it sends out a signal every 60 minutes and that I will eventually be able to monitor the activity readout on my computer.
      What is this stuff about magnetic radiation?

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        It’s the same people scared to death running around saying how bad it is, as they are talking on their cell phone which would be just the same. So when they put down their cell phone for good, I’ll listen.

        The smart meters work like a cell area does in gathering information from one to the next, to the next meter etc. in a neighborhood. It goes to a central point in that area and into the phone system to be relayed on to them. Hmm sounds a lot like cell technology and how cell towers work if you ask me.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
        • R.Hodin says:

          apparently you feel there is no risk with cell phone use?

          (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
          • BeenThereDoneThat says:

            Where did I state no risk of cell phone? My point (which you obiviously missed) was that I bet a good majority of these people complaining about meters, use cell phones. If they are concerned about the meters then WHY not cell phones also???? Because they can see benefit in cell phone used to gab on but can’t see imediate benefit to meter.

            Like willie posted below there is also radiation from t.v.s, smoke detectors. There is t.v., sattelite, radio waves, etc. bombarding us every day. Not making case one way or the other on that but WHY in the hell is everybody Johnny one note on this?? If they think that they are being monitored then fine make that arguement but PLEASE spare me the b.s. of I am afraid of this technology but none of the other that I use.

            (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
            • R.Hodin says:

              No one is making the point that we should only be concerned about this particular technology. You are the one who built that straw man.

              (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down
              • BeenThereDoneThat says:

                Missed it again my man. Do you believe that any of these people in this EMF group don’t use any of the products I mentioned??? Wanna bet they all at LEAST have one or more t.v.s in their home? How about computers? Nuff said.

                It’s like the oil fight. If I don’t drive a car I am a great person not using oil. Of course they always forget about plastics, fertilizer, medicines etc, which all use oil products.

                Same here. They are attacking one thing, looking sanctimonious in their arguement ignoring the other goods that they use for their daily convience. You know it’s true.

                The genie (these technologies) is out of the bottle. I say go forward and manage in an appropreiate manner.

                (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
          • pasowino says:

            I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not planning to hold the smart meter up to my head for 20 minutes a day. On the other hand, I carry my cell phone in my pocket all day and hold it up to my head for at least 20 minutes a day. It seems odd that everyone is all wigged out about the new electric meter.

            (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • willie says:

        Electromagnetic radiation (EMF) This electromagnetic emission is from overhead power line transformers, heavy electrical machinery, or electronic equipment such as high power radio transmitters.

        Your real concerns such be on Extremely low frequency (ELF) which has potentials for health hazards. It is hazardous if close to any cathode ray tubes or CRT (old TV or old computer moniters), transformers in florescent light fixtures, electric heaters (recommended to stand at least 4 feet from it).

        Heres a short list of of research:
        1972 Soviet researchers link electromagnetic fields to health problems such as fatigue and headaches.
        1977 USA Robert Becker (MD) and Anthony Marino (biophysicist) testified before the NYS Public Service Comission about their experimental resultsshowing negative effects due to ELF fields.
        1979 USA Nancy Wertheimer and Ed Leeper (Epidermiologist and physicist) published a study which statistically shows linkage between childhood cancers and the proximity of certain types of high curent power lines to the homes.
        1982 USA Washington State study examined data of 438,000 workers occuring between 1950 to 1979, the results of study found that Leukemia deaths were elevated in 10 out of 11 occupations where workers were exposed to ELF fields.
        1986 Sweden Dr. Bernard Tribukait, professor of radiology, Karolinska Institudte in Stockholm reported that fetuses of mice exposed to EMF pulsed (CTR type) fields had greater incidents of congenital malformation than unexposed mice.
        1988 USA Maryland Department of Health and Hygene found an unusual high rate of fatal brain cancer among men employed in electrical occupations.
        1989 USA John Hopkins University found elevated risk of “all types” of cancers among N.Y. Telephone Company cable splicers.
        1990 USA David Savitz, epidemiologist, University of North Carolina determined through study tath preganant women who use electric blankets have children who have 30% increase risk of cancer compared to children who did not.
        Some controlled EFL fields when appropriately applied (specific frequency, amplitude, and dosage) can promote healing.

        If this smart meter is located outside your home, don’t worry other than it being a monitoring device (in more ways than one)!
        If the smart meter is located inside your house, then you need to find out how much radiation is being emitted and at what proximity especially if you have a weak immune system.
        Too much or chronic EMR ELR exposure is not good (period).

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  6. ThomasPaine says:

    Who needs regulation, PGE and other corporations will only do what’s best for us all.

    (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
  7. standup says:

    PGE is so full of crap it just stinks. Lie, cheat, deceive is their M.O. Once that proposition that would have made PGE a monopoly didn’t pass, they turned around THE NEXT DAY and asked the PUC for a rate increase. Screw PGE and all the employees that work for them. Nothing but a bunch of crooks.

    (6) 26 Total Votes - 16 up - 10 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      Denigrate the CEO, the Board of Directors, upper and middle management all you want, I am with you there, but leave out the line employees, the ones that actually interact with the customers, the ones who go up on the power poles in the middle of the night in any weather to make sure we are getting our electricity; they do not need to be demonized for doing their job. Yes, PG & E as an entity makes a lot of really awful decisions and apparently some of their corporate “do anything necessary to keep the profits rolling in” has trickled down into the mindset of a particular senior executive based on the evidence uncovered by this article, but leave out the rank and file employees, please. I am now, nor have I ever been employed by P G & E, I just think that most of the lowest of the employees try to do a good job.

      (13) 15 Total Votes - 14 up - 1 down
      • standup says:

        Sorry Bob. All the unionized employees can jump off of bridge. I have contracted for PGE and have seen the lazy baffoons first hand. They are overpaid and underworked all at the expense of us rate payers during the majority of the time they work. Yes they do work during storms but that is what they are paid to do and usually it is overtime. I have never seen one employee complaining about the wage. The IBEW is quite powerful and will send a hit man after you if cross them and their ee’s pay and benefits.

        (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down

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