Even if you're not a Marin homeowner yourself, you've likely heard tell about the battles being waged in communities around the Bay Area over PG&E's SmartMeters — electronic power meters which transmit data back to the mothership by wireless signals. The same ilk of folk who get worked up about cell phone towers and the allegedly but disputably harmful affects of minimal microwave radiation get themselves in a lather over SmartMeters being forced upon them as well, and one of those folks, 59-year-old Dianna Glidden of Santa Cruz, blames her SmartMeter for giving her "pressure in her head and buzzing under her skin."

Glidden is one many who have tried opting out of SmartMeters, although rather than go through proper channels — PG&E will come and install a non-transmitting digital meter, for a price — she decided to disconnect the thing herself, with the help of an electrician. PG&E responded by shutting off her power. So she went to the Chronicle to explain that her alleged SmartMeter-related symptoms have gone away since she disconnected her meter, and she likens PG&E's actions to extortion. PG&E contends that disconnecting one's own SmartMeter could be dangerous, and they're trying to discourage the precedent by shutting off power to anyone who tries.

PG&E has previously estimated that SmartMeters only cause your household to be beamed with low-frequency radio waves for a total of 45 seconds every 24 hours, which is certainly less than your average cell phone call — and exponentially less than than the exposure one gets on a single transcontinental flight.

Obviously, people have reason not to want to trust PG&E, given, you know, Erin Brockovich and San Bruno and all that. So the war over SmartMeters is not likely to fade anytime soon.

PREVIOUSLY: Radiation-Free PG&E Service Will Cost You Twenty Bucks a Month
All previous SmartMeter coverage