Woman arrested for allegedly blocking SmartMeter installation

A Glen Park woman was arrested Saturday morning after she was sitting on a utility truck in protest of SmartMeter installation in the neighborhood, according to Joshua Hart, the director of activist group Stopsmartmeters.org.

Amy O’Hair was detained by police after obstructing the vehicle of a Wellington Energy worker, who was installing smart meters on behalf of PG&E. O’Hair was taken to a jail located at the Hall of Justice on Bryant Street, where protestors are planning to gather and demand her release.

SmartMeters have faced strong opposition by some who believe low-frequency radiation from the devices causes health problems. PG&E, which touts the meters as “smart” because they transmit information wirelessly and provide more detailed information on individual energy use, began major installation efforts in San Francisco in March.

“This is a peaceful woman asserting her rights to protect the health of her neighborhood,” Hart said. “We expect this is just the beginning … of this type of civil disobedience.”

O’Hair wrote an online article in May detailing her independent radiation testing and was outraged at the results. The objective health impacts of SmartMeters is a point of contention between the utility and activists, who say the radiation is especially dangerous for those suffering from “electrosensitivity.”

A similar protest in the Marina district in March also had activists blocking utility workers, but no arrests resulted. Hart said a video of the Glen Park incident will appear on Stopsmartmeters.org.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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