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.


And NO, I do not work for PG&E! I am just a well informed engineer type person who understands (through research) how these things work.

I just don’t understand why some people would prefer to spout misinformation and emotions instead of facts and logic? And then continue in denial when presented by actual facts.

If anyone who does not want to buy electricity from PG&E under their terms, can install their own PV Solar system and then call PG&E to remove the meter and drop from their house – that is easy.

There are 2 CCN article links under this article, read them! And then look for others if you think that CCN is in cahoots with PG&E


Do you understand that some people are more sensitive to pulsed microwave radiation than others and cannot stand to be subjected to the output.

Here’s a video seminar given at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco by Dr. Karl Maret, a medical doctor and engineer explaining the many problems people encounter with smart meters. You may understand why the problems since you have been reading the research.

By the way, facts are one thing, human pain is another. Where is the compassion?


I was two cheap to pay the $42 to read the paper Maret references, what was the methodology, how large the group tested? Anyone know? That paper was cited only twice, not a promising sign.

3% of the work’s scientist don’t believe in climate change.

No doubt some suffer, and that is sad, but WHY is the question; it can’t be settled with one scientific paper.


The problem with smart meters is that they know when you are home and what appliances you are using, they also know when you are gone, easy to call a friend and say “rob this house”. PG&E also charges different rates at different times of the day. Not so bad here on the coast but in Bakersfield in the summer the highest rates are charged between 2PM and 6PM, (summertime air conditioning prime time).

With the Gas Company the smart meters are coming next year so they can get rid of all the meter readers, saves a lot of money.



1) No one can tell if you are home or not just by looking at electrical usage. You know that your fridge is running when you are away, right? You know that many appliances and devices continually draw power when you are gone right? Like your Internet modem, the router it is connected to, your TV when it is off etc.

2) No one can tell what appliances are being used. Electrical meters just reflect kWh usage.

3) It does not matter what method PG&E charges you on, they are going to get paid for their service one way or another.

4) Time of Use rates are actually useful for saving electricity. You can curtail heavy usage at expensive time and wait till cheaper times. Program your AC to go off (or higher temp) at 2pm and come back on at 6pm!

5) No one else can see your info but you and some people at PG&E. No one can tell when you are gone so they can rob you. If someone wanted to do that, they park down at the corner of the block and wait for you to leave.

I challenge you to show any legit new articles that contradict any of the above.


he knows when you are sleeping he knows when you are awake he knows when you been good or bad so good for goodness sake


1) Oh yes you can tell when someone’s home. I looked at my account last winter and could see the spike from a 1300w bathroom heater in the a.m and lights, computer, etc. in the p.m. I also noticed an a.m-type spike at evening at 6 pm on one day as I had shaved and showered to go out. Use of other attended high power appliances like microwave and toaster ovens were clear. A fridge is 300w intermittently, I have 2 and could not “see” them. A 3 day absence from home was very evident on the PG&E website.


I checked to make sure the cat wasn’t turning on a bunch of s**t while I was away.


Your cat gave me your address and password to your PG&E account. I am just waiting for you to leave and for the cat to stop using the hot tub.



So you think there are a pack of thieves at PG & E waiting for you to leave? Is this something based in knowledge or in fear.

If fear, there might be a few more things higher on the list to be paranoid about! The newspaper delivery guy probably knows and cares more about you than PG & E. Ditto the postman. Also, your neighbors. And there is probably a grocery store cashier theft ring from all the markets that chalks up how much you buy and when you stop buying stuff?


And a moderately-skilled hacker couldn’t get the same info. PG&E does from the meters?


Wow, you really drink the cool aid don’t you?


I won’t have a smart meter because of PG$E being able to shut my electric off without setting foot on the property,what spooks me about that is that some dork could hit the wrong key and my elec goes off when its not susposed to,and I don’t want them to know whats going on in my house as far as elec use minutely or daily,I don’t want intursion.


Myself, show me a legit link showing that someone’s electricity was shut off accidentally. Just one.


Really, you don’t think its happened already,and that it hasn’t been published, with PG$E being able to turn off the elec to a home with out leaving the office is one thing but to hit the wrong address,key or what ever and turn off the wrong home doesn’t set well,sheez my grow lites might go off and I’d loose my crop.


I am willing to accept the fact that it might happen. But to determine if it is a REAL likelihood, you still need to show me a credible account of it happening. In today’s media blitz environment, if it is as big a problem as you think it is, then there would be hundreds of accounts. You can’t show me one.

You base your fear on YOUR supposition that there is some careless person sitting at a terminal that could do this. Truth is you don’t what the procedure is to do a disconnect. You don’t know if it consists of software safety procedures (confirms non payment etc), human resource procedures (needs manager to sign off before it goes into effect).

You have just made it all up! Just like all of the other reasons against digital meters here, your objection is just irrational hysteria.

Sure, I don’t know what the disconnect procedure is either, but then, I am not jumping to conclusions and then demanding others(PG&E) to bend to my opinion.


My electric bill went up $15 month after they installed the smart meter. You can bet I’m going to make them remove it. I will be way ahead. Hope everyone does, they are thugs.


Smiley, when did they change your meter? In July?


It is a fact that digital (Smart) meters are more accurate that analog meters. If you have an old analog meter, it is statistically likely that it is charging you for too much electricity as it is for not charging enough. It could possibly be that you could save money by getting a more accurate digital meter.


This is good.

There is no, and will never be a “Smart Meter” on my home.


Same here; I opted out while I still had my original meter still on my house. My bill ranges from $50 to $70 a month. Smart meter? No thanks.


Serious question. You cite your PG&E bill. Is that because you think a smart meter will show more usage?


I have a couple of different issues with smart meters; the pulsed microwave is something I would rather do without. It is a choice that I made to not have a smart meter attached to my house. Quote all the scientific studies you want citing how safe they are, I really just don’t want one.

I do not want PG&E knowing exactly when I am using the bulk of my electrical usage; being able to charge people more for using electricity during peak demand times smacks of a penalty for having a regular time schedule.

I do want an electrical meter communicating with any of my appliances; I am using “X” amount of electricity, charge me for that, a private corporation does not access to any other information about my usage.

There have been several documented cases of customers having huge increases in charges for electrical usage after having a smart meter installed; I would rather not take the chance that mine will go up.


Oops: I do NOT want an electrical meter communicating ….


OK, I respect your decision to not have a digital meter, when that is possible. But a coupla questions:

1) You understand Time of Use rates are about conserving electricity during peak demands. Without conservation of existing resources, then more plants will need to be built to avoid brown outs. Are you OK with brownouts? Are you OK with building new plants?

2) Smart meters do NOT communicate with ANY of your appliances.

3) Read the article above about accuracy. You say you do not want to take the chance yours will go up (meaning the new meter is accurate and the old was under reporting your usage). So you don’t want to take the chance that you will have to pay the CORRECT amount for what you use. If you are not paying for what you use, then WE are paying for your use. You think that is fair?


I would be willing to be that the majority of the complaints came from people using a cell phone, held tightly against their skull.


Don’t confuse people with FACTS it hurts their brain. Popular Mechanics had an article a few years ago showing different items that emit rad. on a scale. Guess what came in higher than a Smart Meter…………………..yep cell phone.


Here is one to really think about. You hold a cell phone to your head. Your meter is OUTSIDE and away from you at good distance on average. So I would think unless you are standing outside with you head against your meter, why are people all wigged out!?


Excellent point; that moron, Judy Vick, ignores the fact that a smart meter is a low power cell phone that is not near your head. Still PG&E has to capitulate and will now not allow a new electrical meter (new house or electrical service upgrade) to be on the outside of the wall of sleeping rooms unless you sign a waiver. This applies even if you are replacing an existing panel in the same location (almost always the case). And if your serious about avoiding EMF radiation you need to move far, far, away and never use a cell phone or or any other radio transmitter such as a walkie talkie. A cell phone is less than 1 watt. KSBY has a 120,000 watt transmitter 4 miles from SLO. Police car and other long-range vehicle radios can be up to 100 watts.


I agree that the radiation issue is idiotic. However the privacy issue has some merit to it. The data collected by the smart meters is more refined than the old meters. They can broadcast not only total usage but times of usage which can give clues to when you are home, when you are asleep, etc. These aren’t major invasions of privacy in and of themselves but combined with all the others, they are an unwelcome one. I thought hard about rejecting the new one but decided that the cost was too high. I think that the option for “low-income” customers should be available to everyone.


Merriam-Webster’s word of the day….

Oxymoron \ahk-sih-MOR-ahn\

: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words; broadly

: something (such as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements

See Smart Meter


“Board of Supervisors initially took a stance against smart meter installation”…

Are smart meters within their ‘PURVIEW’?


the airwaves are public


“Board of Supervisors initially took a stance against smart meter installation but opted not to battle PG&E or the CPUC” we now have proof that would have been just one battle since PG&E and the CPUC work together.

They say just wrap you meter in metal mesh to keep control of the evil radio waves in case your tin foil hat springs a leak.