SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — State utility regulators are considering a plan that would allow Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Northern California to pay to switch off the wireless signals on their so-called “smart meters.”

California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey proposed the opt-out fees Tuesday in response to critics who say the devices PG&E started installing in 2007 to eliminate the need for meter readers can cause headaches.

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Under Peevey’s proposal, customers would be charged an initial opt-out fee of $90 and an ongoing monthly charge of $15 to have the radio signals on their meters turned off or to have a digital meter without a radio transmitter installed.

PG&E suggested a similar payment plan in March after resistance to smart meters led several communities to place moratoriums on the devices.

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The commission could vote on the recommendation as early as January.


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