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CPUC Approves Fees for SmartMeter Opt Out

For those wishing to opt out of PG&E's SmartMeters, it will cost $75 and then $10 each month.

Over boos and hisses from opponents of PG&E's Smart Meter program, the California Public Utilities Commission voted today to of recieving the controversial wireless digital meters.

In a unanimous decision, the CPUC adopted a set of program modifications, which allow PG&E to recover costs associated with replacing Smart Meters or letting customers keep older analog devices.

The CPUC said that the Smart Meters are meant to help reduce energy consumption by wirelessly monitoring usage and allowing customers to opt-in to energy conservation programs. .

The metering systems are being installed as part of a nationwide "smart grid" in 25 states around the country, CPUC President Michael Peevey said.

Opponents of the meters argue that the meters emit harmful electromagnetic
signals and radiation, and that FCC standards don't go far enough. Critics have also raised concerns about the privacy and data security issues related to the meters, and about .

Peevey quoted studies by the Federal Communications Commission and , which concluded that potential negative health effects from SmartMeters had not been "identified or confirmed."

Customers electing to keep analog meters will be assessed an initial fee of $75 and a monthly charge of $10. Low-income customers can opt out of the Smart Meter program for an initial fee of $10 and an ongoing monthly charge of $5.

Speakers from across Northern California packed the commission CPUC auditorium in San Francisco, some demanding that the CPUC reconsider charging fees for customers who opt-out of the program, others demanding an end to wireless meters altogether.

Residents of Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Marin and San Luis Obispo counties claimed that SmartMeters were responsible for headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations.

Fairfax, along with unincorporated Marin, continue to have a . In Fairfax, however, . In unincorporated Marin, the Sheriff and District Attorney have said they have no intention of enforcing the ordinance, but in Fairfax the moratorium has more backing from the town. It is unclear, though, if PG&E begins installing the meters in Fairfax, what steps the town will take to stop the utility.

Peevey said that the CPUC was responding to the concerns raised by the public by offering an avenue to opt out of the SmartMeter program.

"For those of you who want to opt out, you now have the option," Peevey said.

Do you think the paid opt-out goes far enough?

-- Bay City News contributed to this article

Linda Donaghue February 02, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I am still amazed after following the SFChron on-going investigation into PGE and how little is true about the company, that if PGE hasn't been truthful about the pipelines, record keeping, spending monies from rate increases, etc, why would they be truthful about smart meters?
Rico February 02, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Linda, PG&E does lie. They force the new meters on people and then say that they can pay to opt out ?. The truth is, the people never given given the chance to opt in , so how can PG&E call this an opt out ? It's a sham, the sole purpose of the automated wireless meters is to eliminate decent paying union meter reading jobs with cheap wireless electronics made in China. The new meters only report total usage of each meter to the utility over a radio network, and there is no possible way that tPG&E will ever be able to discern what the customer is using the electricity for, even if the customer purchases a Home Area Networks system and large appliances fitted with monitoring chips, that individual appliance use is not transmitted to the utility, it is for customer use only. And the meters do not transmit any total usage data to the customer, if a customer wants to see monthly usage, they must set up an account online, and price alerts and billing data is sent over broadband internet or mobile phone networks, not from the meter at all. But customers beware, the radio networks that send total usage do so in data packets once every 4 hours, in bursts that last a few seconds. Nobody could ever get any information from those bursts, it just sounds like noise on the radio. But if a customer sets up an online account using a password and phone number, that sensitive information will be sent on the internet and stored on the customers personal computer or mobile phone, hackable.
RobertWilliams February 03, 2012 at 04:47 AM
HARD TO BELIEVE IN THE US 1. Customers who opt-out are still paying about $300 on their bill for a smart meter. If they don't want the smart meter they are already paying for, then PG$E gets them to pay an additional $75 + $10 per month. 2. Radiation Laboratories in the U.S. and Europe consistently observe (1) Cell Damage (2) DNA Chain Breaks (3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier from the non-ionizing radiation emitted by smart meters. These damages cause many types of moderate and serious illnesses including cancers. 3. There is no PROOF of anything on this Earth if proof requires 100% certainty, but there is OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE of damage from these meters. Overwhelming evidence is used in our court systems and for most scientific decisions. PG$E and the PUC fool the public by saying "no proof." 4. Most illnesses from so-called smart meters take some years to occur and show symptoms. I don't feel anything from the meters now but it is quite certain that I, you and our children will have moderate & serious health problems during our lives due to these absolutely inappropriate meters attached to our homes. 5. Those with Electrical hypersensitivity (EHS) typically take extreme measures to avoid the radiation emitted by the meters up to 190,000 times per day, as finally admitted by PG$E. The rest of us, not with EHS, will be sitting ducks as our exposures accumulate and many illnesses and brain damage cannot be repaired after it is recognized.
RobertWilliams February 03, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Ricardo, Inbetween the data packets sent every four hours, PG$E recently admitted the smart meters transmit radiation between tens of thousands of times and 190,000 times every day between each other to keep the wireless "Mesh network" amongst the meters on people's homes active and ready to receive and transmit those data packets. The data packets themselves are less than 1% of the total radiation that people are exposed to from smart meters within this mesh network that the meters create.
Rico February 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Thanks Robert, I am well aware of the fact that the new meters are transmitting 24/7, that was disclosed by PG&E and Silver Springs executives last Sept 15 at the public grilling in San Francisco. I read the whole report. It was interesting to find out that the billing data for each meter is sent over the radio networks (not the power grid) to PG&E central servers once every 4 hours, and then that data is compiled for the customers monthly bill. And that the data is reviewed days, weeks and sometimes months later in the office for load use trends and pricing changes. The revenue collection"smart grid" really has nothing at all to do with the operation of the power grid, but PG&E forced the sale of an expensive revenue collection system that needs meters that transmit RF 24/7 just to keep in sync with the mesh network, and only really need to transmit usage data only a small fraction of the time. A lot of people made a whole lot of money off off of this "smart meter grid" scam.

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