PG&E considers compromise on SmartMeters
November 20, 2010
PG&E may be open to compromise in response to growing public concern over the installation of SmartMeters in homes and businesses throughout the state. [SF Chronicle]
The new wireless meter reading system, currently being deployed in northern San Luis Obispo County, has come under attack for health concerns. PG&E officials indicated Friday that they might be open to making other options available to customers.
“We want those customers to understand that we take their concerns seriously,” said PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith. “We’re still in a preliminary stage of review, including weighing the costs of any options. We will make this information public in the coming months as we develop it.”
Customers who say they are sensitive to radiation from cell phones, laptop computers and other wireless devices have demanded a moratorium on the $2.2 billion SmartMeter program, only to be rebuffed by the company and state regulators. PG&E has always insisted that the technology offers no health risk.
The idea that wireless devices can cause cancer and other illnesses remains hotly disputed. But in an interview Friday, PG&E Chief Executive Officer Peter Darbee said the company is looking for a “compromise solution” for people who consider the devices a health risk. He didn’t elaborate.
PG&E critics have suggested two main alternatives: allowing customers to opt out of the SmartMeter program and keep their old electricity and gas meters, or using SmartMeters that transmit their data through wires.