Smart Meter Activist Arrested for Blockage

Smart Meter Activist Arrested for Blockage


Alameda police officers arrested an Alameda resident after he allegedly tried blocking the installation of Alameda Municipal Power’s (AMP) new smart meters at an apartment building Thursday, March 29.

Alameda resident Christopher Rabe was arrested at 10:30 a.m., according to Alameda Police Department (APD) reports. The incident took place at the apartment building on the 2200 block of Pacific Avenue where Rabe, 39, is a tenant. 

Workers from Professional Meters, Inc., which AMP hired to conduct the smart electric meter installations, were attempting to install AMP’s new meters at the apartment building. At the residence the workers noticed Rabe was blocking the grid where the meters would be installed. He had also wrapped a chain around his meter. 

Even though Rabe opted out of the program, restricting access to the electric meter is against the law. Per the terms of AMP’s Rules & Regulations, customers may not obstruct access to metering equipment and the utility has the right to remove any obstructions. Rabe was taken to an Oakland jail and released after posting bond.

The workers were to install five meters at the building, four to residences and one for a commercial meter for the common areas in the building. Some of the other residents chose to opt out of the new smart meter program and continue with their old meters. 

Rabe has been in an ongoing battle with AMP over its new smart meters (“New Smart Meters Raise Radiation Concerns,” Nov. 23, 2017). He believes the radio-frequency (RF) levels of the new meters are higher than AMP suggests. He expressed his concerns to AMP in a letter he sent them last year. He also posted a video to Youtube where he used his own RF meter to monitor RF wave transmissions from several smart meters around Alameda last year. In the videos, Rabe stands in front of a smart meter and analyzes how many times his RF meter picks up pulsed microbursts of RF radiation. In the video Rabe believes one smart meter transmits more than 9,000 times per day. 

However, according to AMP’s website, the smart meters, which are manufactured by Landis & Gyr, a worldwide smart meter and smart grid manufacturing company, emit about 83 seconds of RF frequency waves per day. This comes from 270 maintenance and 1,440 sync transmissions per day.

Calls to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office to determine what charges Rabe will face were not returned as of Tuesday.