California restricts fees on smart meter opt-outs
December 19, 2014
California utility companies now have limits on their ability to charge customers who wish to remove smart meters from their property. [Union Tribune]
After a unanimous vote by the California Public Utilities Commission, utility companies are now restricted to charging a one-time $75 fee coupled with a $10 monthly charge for a maximum of three years.
The monthly charge covers upkeep and monitoring of analog meters. Low-income customers can get the payments reduced to a one-time $10 fee and a $5 monthly fee, following the CPUC decision.
Pacific Gas & Electric workers began installing smart meters in San Luis Obispo County in 2010, upsetting many customers with concerns about health and privacy, and prompting some to opt-out of the installation process. Smart meters emit radiation, however the extent of the risk posed to human health remains disputed.
The meters also provide real-time updates about customers’ utility usage.
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors initially took a stance against smart meter installation but opted not to battle PG&E or the CPUC on the issue. Smart meters became prevalent throughout the county by 2012.