So the smart meter process moves forward here on the Left
Coast and PG&E and other utilities are enduring the fate of
all proponents of change in the endless second guessing.
After all the hassles over powerline electromagnetic fields
and the endless research to discover whether there were real
health and safety problems researchers found nothing, the
complaints over EMF have largely gone away.
Yes, there are also those who fear their cell phones will
give them brain cancer and maybe if you talked nonstop for
47 years you might have a problem, but few people are giving
up their cell phones are they?
My advice to these protesters is forget these health and
safety issues as an excuse to stop smart meters and focus on
the real problem—ratepayers are being charged for this
investment when the benefits accruing to ratepayers are far
into the future.
In any ratemaking proceeding the burden is on the utility to
prudently show that the cost and benefits of the proposal
add up and are being fairly allocated to shareholders and
ratepayers. In the case of smart meters, the benefits accrue
largely to the utilities at this stage of the transition and
thus the costs should also largely be born there too. That’s
what regulators in Maryland, and Hawaii recently ruled.
The lack of any business experience by the California
protestors is hurting their cause since they are protesting
the stuff that does not matter and missing the stuff that
does. Then again, they could be climbing trees on the UC-Berkeley
campus like previous protests and staying up there for a
year until they get their way. Oh forget that—not even iPod
batteries last that long!
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