jueves, marzo 23, 2023

PG&E customers who don’t want ‘smart meters’ can now ‘opt out’

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved modifications to Pacific Gas and Electric Companys «smart metering» program which provides for an option for customers who do not want to have wireless smart meters in their homes to remain in or switch back to analog meters.

PG&E’s «SmartMeter» program aims to install advanced meters throughout Northern and Central California that it says will allow customers to save on their utility bills by offering them more information and control over their energy usage, which the technology offers.

Smart meters are emerging as important components to grid modernization and the «smart grid» effort, especially in parts of the globe already capable of doing it.

The commission approved PG&E’s SmartMeter program in July 2006, authorizing the utility to spend $1.7 billion to deploy advanced metering infrastructure throughout its territory and upgrade 5 million electric meters and 4 million gas meters over the next five years.

But in 2009, customers expressed concern over high energy bills associated with the installation of PG& amp;E’s meters.

Last year, PG&E said it identified a number of defective meters, and the customers of roughly 1,600 units of the wireless devices will receive an average refund of $40 for the overcharge.

The utility said the defective meters only made up less than 0.08 percent of the 2 million meters which were provided by device supplier Landis+Gyr.


Customers electing the «opt-out» option will be responsible for the costs associated with switching back to or remaining in analog meters to defray added costs that PG&E will reportedly incur making the option available.

Customers electing to retain or return to an analog meter will be assessed an initial fee of $75 and a monthly charge of $10. This will reportedly cover the costs of manual meter-reading and other operational and billing issues.

Customers enrolled in the C.P.U.C.’s low-income program electing to opt-out will be assessed an initial fee of $10 and a monthly charge of $5.

«The standard for metering has been transitioning worldwide from the older technology of analog meters to today’s Smart Meter technology. We are not reversing that transition by allowing for an analog opt-out, but we are recognizing that certain customers prefer an analog meter,» said C.P.U.C. president Michael R. Peevey.

PG&E yesterday said it welcomes the final decision. «Independent studies repeatedly have affirmed the safety and accuracy of SmartMeters,» the company said in a statement.

«However, in response to comments from some customers, PG&E in March 2011 proposed offering them a choice to turn off the radios in their SmartMeters, and then provided customers with the option to delay the installation of new SmartMeters pending the C.P.U.C’s final decision. In December 2011, PG&E asked the C.P.U.C. to approve analog meters as another alternative to receiving a SmartMeter, which was the central element of the C.P.U.C.’s decision today.

PG&E said it plans to remove the gas and electric SmartMeters from the homes of those opt-out customers who already have SmartMeters; those customers who still have analog meters will be able to keep them.

PG&E customers who want to opt-out of the SmartMeter program can submit their request online at or call 1-866-743-0263. (Eric Dorente) –



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