SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- In response to a
backlash and battle with anti-SmartMeter customers, Pacific
Gas and Electric Company announced on Monday that it is now
willing to allow customers to replace their wireless
SmartMeters with alternative options for recording energy
Once it's officially approved by the California Public
Utilities Commission, customers can say goodbye to their
wireless SmartMeters and revert back to traditional analog
"Some customers remain concerned about SmartMeter
technology,” said Helen Burt, PG&E’s Senior Vice President.
“They are clear that an analog meter is the option they
prefer to address their unease with wireless technology.”
This year, PG&E required all Northern and Central California
power consumers to install digital, wireless SmartMeters.
PG&E said the purpose of SmartMeters was, "to enhance
the safety, reliability, and affordability of its gas and
"Similar metering programs are now under way at utilities
throughout the country and around the world. To date, PG&E
has installed nearly nine million gas and electric
SmartMeters," PG&E said.
Independent studies repeatedly affirmed the health safety
and accuracy of SmartMeters, PG&E said.
But SmartMeter critics said they believe the wireless
devices emit radiation that is highly harmful to human
Last week, five rebellious Santa Cruz customers removed
their SmartMeters against the company's policy, and PG&E
shutoff their power for four days.
Groups like StopSmartMeters.org compared the power company
to the Grinch who stole Christmas, claiming the five
customers were not only "sickened," by the meters, but then
also had to sit in the cold and dark for days.
PG&E is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric
utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco with
20,000 employees, the company delivers energy to 15 million
people in Northern and Central California.
The CPUC is expected to issue its SmartMeter opt-out
decision soon. That decision will likely ask customers who
opt-out of having a SmartMeter to pay an initial fee and a
monthly charge to cover the costs of manual meter reading
and other associated operational and billing issues.
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