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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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