Resistance Proves Fertile
In a decision that seems likely to raise eyebrows throughout the U.S. ‘smart meter’-obsessed, privately-owned utility industry, California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), under its new CEO Anthony Earley, has taken a step to defuse their disastrous public relations nightmare.
The brave Santa Cruz rebels and our collective input appears to be beginning to have an impact. EON was among the other ‘parties’ in the PG&E proceeding on the ‘smart’ meter opt-out issue. The CPUC decision may be as early as mid-January.
Last week PG&E shut off electricity to multiple regularly paying customers who, because of being sickened by ‘smart’ meters, had electricians remove them and install analog meters. Families, young children and and an elderly woman were left in the cold of winter with no heat, lights or appliances.
Widely accused of being Scrooge and the Grinch that stole Christmas, PG&E is trying to appease the public and a growing customer rebellion against ‘smart’ meters and entered a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in which it offers customers the option of an analog meter.
However, PG&E is still insisting on a hefty up front and monthly fee for those trying to avoid being made sick. (Extortion anyone?) It is not clear whether the PG&E offer of a choice of an analog extends to those who already have a smart meter installed and they insist on closing the opt out process in mid January. PG&E is still ignoring the severe threat to those close to multiple meters on apartments, etc. and makes clear that solar customers can’t have analog meters.
No mention was made of customer demands that existing local government ordinances and moratoriums be honored so communities can have whole areas free from ‘smart’ meters’ dangerous levels of radiation.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, ‘”We need to listen to our customers,” PG&E CEO said Anthony Earley in an interview. “Why should we be fighting with our own customers over something like this?”
Pursuant to Rule 14.3 of the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC or Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) hereby responds to other parties’ comments on Commission President Peevey’s Proposed Decision Modifying PG&E’s SmartMeter Program to Include an Opt-Out Option (Proposed Decision or PD).
A. Consistent With Many Parties’ Opening Comments, PG&E Supports Offering Customers an Analog Meter Opt-Out Alternative in Addition to the Radio-Off Alternative Set Forth in the Proposed Decision
PG&E supports approval of an analog meter option, in addition to the non- communicating radio-off option, in response to customers’ and parties’ continued requests for an analog meter alternative in Opening Comments, as well as in customers’ direct communications to PG&E and the Commission. PG&E took note that in Opening Comments many parties assert that the only acceptable alternative to communicating SmartMetersTM is an analog meter opt-out alternative.
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 use.
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 mechanical meters.
“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.”
PG&E Supports Analog Meters for Customers who Opt Out of SmartMeters
By David Kligman
Supplementing its original opt-out proposal to offer customers radio-off SmartMeters
“I personally have talked to customers who choose not to use wireless technology,” said Helen Burt, PG&E senior vice president and chief customer officer. “And for those customers, analog meters are the choice they support, which is why we’re asking the CPUC to consider it.”
Independent studies repeatedly have affirmed the safety and accuracy of the SmartMeters. However, in response to comments from some customers, PG&E earlier this year proposed offering them a choice to turn off radios in the SmartMeters. The utility also provided customers with the option to delay the installation of new SmartMeters until the CPUC approves a way to opt out of the program.
Monday’s request to the CPUC is another proposed option for customers who don’t want a SmartMeter.
After months of protests by consumers worried that PG&E SmartMeters are negatively impacting their health, PG&E extended a big olive branch Monday, saying for the first time that customers should be able to keep their traditional analog meters.
“We need to listen to our customers,” PG&E CEO said Anthony Earley in an interview. “Why should we be fighting with our own customers over something like this?”
PG&E’s new proposal will now go to the California Public Utilities Commission, which could vote on it as early as next month. Read more
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