California restricts fees on smart meter opt-outs

December 19, 2014

meterCalifornia 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.


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37 Comments

  1. LameCommenter says:

    Does anyone remember that the Smart Meter installation plan was years MORE out of completion when Obama pushed BILLIONS in his ill-fated “stimulus” program towards the utilities, so they could install smart meters sooner? THAT was why PGE and others hired the big outside contractors to rush them in. YOUR government tax dollars, in action. Whether one opposes them or thinks they are benign, they were an Obama push and that is fact.

    Further, they had NOTHING to do with a “smarter grid” that would distribute juice better, withstand EMP or solar flare issues better (they are indeed MUCH more vulnerable to both than gear drive motor meters were), nor any other part of enhancement of distribution safety nor reliability. (Yes, we happen to be opted out in city and ranch, and think the ten bucks each is reasonable for a truck-read meter.)

    Further, they absolutely DO show when you are home, from the first plug in of the coffee pot, to other significant uses such as rural well users when the pressure tank pump kicks on to refill your first morning toilet flush.

    While I don’t think anybody is watching or that thieves will frequently use them, thieves the just knock on the door and test loose windows, the recording of your daily life by intimate recording of your moment-to-moment electrical use IS a unwarranted intrusion.

    Like any good guv’mint suspecting, bona fide tin-foil hat wearing conservative, I oppose on a general and liberty basis, ALL intrusion into recording my power use, daily driving habits, or ammunition purchases!

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
    • LameCommenter says:

      And as one licensed to construct, measure and operate RF devices and amplifiers by the feds (not a rare thing, ham radio operators enjoy the same privileges) , I can repeat for you that the “pulsed microwave RF” (as others awkwardly describe the radiation transmitted) is:

      -overall a LOW level and an extremely brief duty cycle, but is clearly an INVOLUNTARY exposure which Americans are entitled to object to, if they want. It decays with the square of distance so just moving away from the meter lowers the intensity to where it disappears into the background of electro magnetic hash we live in. (And less than a cell phone. Use a WIRED headset as I do, an ugly but effective way to keep the cell phone signal at max distance instead of perching a blue tooth ear bud headset transmitter a few MM from your brain tissue, if you don’t like RF.

      -and again on “smart meter” EM radiation, the little bursts are MUCH MORE FREQUENT than the “six times a day reporting” which is said to be the standard self-initiated rate because since it’s a “mesh network” they all talk to each other and cross report to move the data stream along, resulting in two or so orders of magnitude more frequent burst transmission than PGE ever told you at the start with their “six times a day” early falsehood, and

      -if their little pandemic spy network of smart meters is ever damaged by an EMP or solar flare event, the remaining ones COULD go into orders of magnitude HIGHER repetitions in an effort to move the collected data stream home via a compromised network, to Papa PGE.

      Smart metering is not end of the world stuff, just the slippery slope. If you have an old CRT television and/or computer monitor, you’ve got a small linear accelerator smoking EM radiation straight at your lead-impregnated shield screen. RF is everywhere. If you object, pay the reasonable PG&E ten bucks and wave to the nice PGE man/woman during their brief monthly visit. As an off topic aside, having lived on generators more than once in a ranch environment, I happen to ADORE PG&E’s reliable silent power. When they “hot sticked” the liquid power fuses into the partially-built-by-helicopter stub to us, we all wanted to KISS THE GROUND the outside contractor linemen and PGE guys were walking on.

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  2. Fedup says:

    Anyone who trusts the motives of PG&E or the government is a fool.

    (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down

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