PG&E To Allow SmartMeter Opt Outs

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – In a major concession to SmartMeter opponents, the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has proposed allowing customers to keep their old analog meters, and not switch to a SmartMeter, for a fee.

PG&E floated the idea in a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission on Monday. A company spokesman says customers would pay about $270 up front and $14 a month to keep the old analog meters.

PG&E had previously proposed turning off wireless transmitters on its SmartMeters. But the utility would not let customers keep their old analog meters.

Smart Meter opponents say radio frequencies and radiation from the wireless electricity and gas meters are a health risk.

“Of course I will say that the meters are safe,” said PG&E spokesman Blair Jones.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

However, he said that the fact that some people have had issues with the program, either with their bills, or with concerns over their health, has been enough for the utility to respond.

“We want to make sure they have the meter of choice on their homes.”

Critics said that it’s about time.

“They should have stopped when they realized customers were having problems, and gone back to the drawing board,” said Mindy Spatt with the Utility Reform Network.

The company’s revised proposal could be voted on by the utilities commission as early as Jan. 12.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Mark Seelig
  • Cliff Flores

    If you’re like me and didn’t allow installation of PG&E’s “SmartMeter”, they now have a plan to “Blackmail” you into getting one! $270 startup fee + $14/month just to keep your old meter is outrageous!

    • Doug

      I totally agree with you, I was never asked if I wanted one of them things installed, They just came unannounced and installed it and the same with my neighbor’s. That’s when I caught them, I asked the installers and they acted like assh… you know the rest.
      I am retired and my bill went from $29 to about $43 in the summertime.
      Of course I live in a small apt and disconnect most of my appliances from the wall outlets.
      What a ripoff!! and on top of that the so called Smart Meters make you sick.
      Disgusting, Outrageous!!!

  • paul

    how about a smart phone app that lets customers take a pic of their meter (could even be geo-tagged) and send it in once a month?

  • M. Rivas

    GREAT DEAL!!! KEEP THE OLD METER FOR A $638.00 A YEAR!!! How can the Utility Commission allow such a rip off?!?!?!?!
    I hope it does not get the approval!!
    PG&E should eliminate the wireless transmitter and create jobs by sending people to read the meters like they’ve done!! AMERICAN NEEDS JOBS!!

  • mike

    “the fact that some people have had issues with the program, either with their bills, or with concerns over their health, has been enough for the utility to respond”….right, pg&e saw a way of making money out of it….$240 upfront and then $14 a month….wow! even if only 10,000 people went along with this, pg&e would make over $4 million in the first year and then almost $2 million per year thereafter…pg&e always looking to f–k you in the a-s

  • Robert Williams


    Concepts and theory sounds great, but upon closer inspection:

    A. Utility bills are increasing where smart meters are installed, not decreasing.

    B. Customer information from smart meters is NOT formatted for customers and does NOT change customer behavior towards conservation.

    C. Increased utility rates may decrease energy usage, but that can be done with inexpensive time-of-use meters, NOT requiring expensive smart meters.

    D. The cost – benefit of smart meters is horrendous and is being promoted to profit the utility companies and their suppliers, not customers or our society or our environment.

    E. The Smart Grid does NOT use or require a smart meter on each home. The necessary smart information can be gathered much more efficiently and timely and inexpensively at energy distribution points. (The smart grid does not care how much power any one home uses.)

    F. The vast amount of unnecessary and nearly useless information to be handled and stored may actually end up raising energy usage.

    G. This massive Billions-of-dollars smart meter program will leave NO funds for programs that would truly bring energy saving solutions and the public will not be receptive to real solutions after being burned by these Smart meters.

    Must-See 4-minute youtube video on Smart meters

  • Robert Williams


    2. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless smart meters (& some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B Carcinogen List.

    3. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH Feb 2011 found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

    4. LABORATORY SCIENTISTS have observed

    (1) Human Cell Damage

    (2) DNA Chain Breaks
(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier

    from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters.

    5. INSURANCE COMPANIES Hired Independent Laboratory Scientists and they also observed Cell Damage and DNA Chain Breaks. Now Insurance Companies will NOT Insure Liability damage from Wireless Smart meters and other wireless devices.
 TV Video (3 minutes)

    Cell Phone use and other devices are Voluntary and can be shut off at the user’s discretion, but Smart meters mounted on homes are emitting radiation 24/7 and can not be shut off.

 Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes)

Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes)

 2-page Press Release

    9. RADIATION MEASURED FROM SMART METER MOUNTED ON A HOME (once active in the utility system) SHOWS RADIATION TRANSMISSION PULSES APPROXIMATELY ONCE EVERY FOUR SECONDS 24 HOURS PER DAY traveling through the bodies and brains of the inhabitants of that home. 
Youtube Video (6 minutes, 1st minute is sufficient)

    PG$E, California’s Utility Monopoly, recently admitted that each smart meter mounted on a home transmits radiation between 10,000 and 190,000 times each day.

    This admission corrected previous false statements repeated often by many utility companies across the country.

  • Mr. Widemouth

    Smart Meters – something to be afraid of?

  • Rosinante

    I know its a big can of worms but there is one way to beat them at there own game. Just as we did with the Debit Card Fee and BofA.

    Take care of your own power and heat yourself. Go off grid. Its cheaper that ever now and not at all hard to do….

    I’m putting you on notice PG & E. Don’t push me to far or your FIRED.

  • xyzzy

    I got a better idea. “Smart” meters save money by eliminating the need to have someone read them, right?
    PAY $270 upfront and $14/month to anyone who agrees to let you install a smart meter.

    Charging an upfront fee to not change the meter is especially silly. It doesn’t cost PG&E money to not do something!
    As for the monthly reading – just let the customer report the reading each month. Then, no need for a fee to have someone read it.

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