SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — California regulators approved a plan Thursday allowing Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to charge its customers slightly more for electricity to make up for profits lost when SmartMeters were installed.

Three of four members of the California Public Utilities Commission approved the proposal, which will give PG&E shareholders a 6.3 percent rate of return on their original investment in the company’s old, analog electricity meters over the next six years.

The company’s shareholders needed to be compensated because the old meters were pulled out of homes and businesses years before their useful life was up, PG&E President Michael Peevey said.

Residential customers with an average monthly bill of $90 will see about a 9 cent increase as a result, and the total cost for ratepayers will be about $104 million, commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said.

Dozens of people and advocacy groups testified at the commission meeting saying exposure to radio frequencies and radiation from the wireless devices is harming people’s health.

SmartMeters are safe and will bring down the company’s costs for meter reading, PG&E spokeswoman Christine Cordner said Thursday. In the long term the utility plans to offer customers pricing plans that could help them lower their electricity bills, she said.

Commissioner Mike Florio, who abstained from the vote, reiterated some of consumers’ questions about whether the SmartMeters take an accurate read of their electricity usage and result in correct bills.

The plan approved Thursday is part of a broader settlement that also will require PG&E to update officials on crucial safety work done on its natural gas pipelines in the wake of the deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

PG&E will be required to file semi-annual reports over the next three years showing which pipelines the company is replacing and which lines are most high risk, and also will have to spell out its justifications for its annual budgets and strategic plans.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments (16)
  1. Monster says:

    PG&E…..the same company that tiried to change the California State Constitution to be the one and only utility company. Why are they allowed to continue this behavior? Also, what is the FCC ID for these meters??? All devices in your home must comply with Part 15 of the FCC rules. These meters actually do cause harmful interference so they cannot be FCC compliant, therefore are illegal.

  2. squealy says:

    I read that the households that are cutting back and using less electricity will be charged more per unit, while the huge houses that use more electricity will be charged less per unit. Once again, punished for trying to be good!

    1. Monster says:

      With smart meters PG&E can change the rate “on the fly.” Isin’t that conveninent? This applies to your gas meter as well.

  3. Mark says:

    “…Three of four members of the California Public Utilities Commission approved”

    Hmmm,,,How do I apply for one of those 3 seats on the Commission? I would have GLADLY kept my old meter until its useful left it.

    Weren’t we fold that the new meters would SAVE PG&E $$? Where did that go in the equation?

  4. MK says:

    Wait, wait! PG&E will charge people for the installation of meters which the people did not want to begin with??

    This is why people are leaving California.

    1. jon says:

      Yep…I left 8 years ago.

      Paid my last PGE bill then.

      PG&E equals Pigs, Greed & Extortion.

  5. A Local SFer says:

    Is the PUC made up of morons??? If a produce company has to recall lettuce because people are getting sick, if Toyata has to recall cars because of some mechnical failure, the companies don’t pass THEIR OWN FAULT EXPENSES on to the customers. Why does the PUC ALWAYS agree to whatever PGE wants–they keep allowing PGE to increase their rates for anything and everything. I might be wrong (sure feels that way) but maybe it’s time for the PUC to be replaced with a citizens’-who-live-and-pay-for-the-services committee.

  6. John Forrett says:

    This is BS! The PUC is now sleeping with PG&E! They had to back-off the 36 Million Dollar severance package for their CEO because of public outcry. Now those idiots at the stupid PUC are allowing PG&E to back-door the exoense with a new systems that save them money and makes them more profit!

  7. Thomas Clifford says:

    Let me get this straight PG&E pulls out it old meters to save money and then wants the ratepayers to pony up a penalty rate increase because the old meter still had some useful life in them, and the PUC went along with that line of thinking. Governor Brown we need a whole new PUC NOW!!!

  8. Mario Mancarti says:

    Not only we need a whole new PUC now, we also need a new governor Brown.
    And, we also need the constitutional right to have our gas connection disconnected at our request. I think propane is a lot safer.

  9. fredo b says:

    California regulatorsprobably get paid by PG&E

  10. B. Barrie says:

    A study by the federal government showed that citizens of the states that did not deregulate their utilities pay less for their gas and electricity than the citizens of the states that did. It is time to use eminent domain and have the state reclaim and run the utilities and quit allowing these greedy corporations to fleece us. If the shareholders need to be reimbursed, then all the top executives should cut their salaries for making the decision to pull the meters before their full use was realized.

  11. Anita says:

    Don’t understand why customers are responsible for PG&E action of taking out analog meters that were working fine, seems there’s been a lot of talk in the news for many months of customers not wanting smart meters and they were forced on us and now we must pay for a mistake made on their part for taking out useful machines and replacing them, I think maybe 10% cut of PG&E employee paycheck sounds better so maybe next time they put the horse in front the cart and think through the consequences of their action, I’m tired of paying for other people’s actions.

  12. Susan says:

    All those who are against smart meters: please join American Coalition Against Smart Meters and visit for the science that explains why smart meters are deadly. The CPUC is behind the entire fiasco, lying to the public and orchestrating chaos by harming us. TURN and UCAN, groups which are supposed to protect the consumers are not impressed with thousands of complaints of health effects. No, they want a peer-reviewed study showing harm. Well, I have assembled 6,000 peer-reviewed studies on the Smart Meter Dangers Research page – those don’t seem to be enough. Environmental Defense Fund has smart grid projects – they don’t seem to be impressed by the terrible accounts of harm by smart meters either. Follow the money for these nonprofits and utilities. I am harmed by smart meters in Southern CA and angry about it. Don’t let them install these. Fence up and lock up your analogues, if you still have them.

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