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Those who opt out of PG&E's 'SmartMeter' program will pay fees

Original post made on Feb 2, 2012

Over boos and hisses from opponents of PG&E's SmartMeters, the California Public Utilities Commission Wednesday voted to impose fees on PG&E
customers who choose to opt out of the utility's SmartMeter program.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 2, 2012, 7:17 AM

Comments (18)

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Posted by winemanjmr
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Feb 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

Wow! It's great that the techno-phobes have to further compound their stupidity by paying a fee to continue to use an outdated, inaccurate device that doesn't enable a smart grid. Entirely appropriate, CPUC--extract a cost from those who reduce potential benefits for all of us.

More seriously, I have consulted with a variety of PG&E customers on their electrical meters, and it is my experience that the ant-smart meter/gridders are people who either had analog meters that didn't measure high enough and are now shocked that they actually have to pay for what they use, RF pseudo-scientists who believe that everything causes cancer, or pot-growers who don't want their illegal hook-ups found/corrected. As to the last point, a graphic last night on TV showed that Humboldt and Santa Cruz are the only two counties with double digit percentage requests to keep the analog meters.

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Posted by dknute
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 2, 2012 at 8:23 am

The ususal suspects continue to show up for these demonstrations. And these could be the same invironmentalist that insist we have cars that won't emit smog, but burn more gas in the process, electric automobiles that cost more energy to make, don't go anywhere (guess if you don't work, that's not a problem)and now an energy saving devise that is an upgrade over a devise that may not be providing proper information is just "all wrong"....Oh, when will it end?

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 2, 2012 at 8:26 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Our smart meter was removed when we switched to solar panels. While the solar is helping, we miss being able to track when our usage is up and looking for ways to address it.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 2, 2012 at 8:35 am

I am *not* an environmentalist whacko, and I do NOT want a "smart meter". What does PG&E mean when they talk about the old "analog" meters?? I had a PG&E sub-contractor visit my home either last year or the year before, and they replaced my analog meter with a new one that has a digital readout. I was told that this was the new meter. Are they saying that this almost brand new meter is now outdated, and I will have to switch to one of those boxes that I see connected to air conditioners? If so, I DO NOT want one! I don't want PG&E to control when I can turn my a/c on and off. After all, doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a/c in the first place (if PG&E is going to shut it down on the super hot days??).

Maybe I'm misunderstanding this, and maybe the digital meter I have IS the new "smart meter", but I was under the impression that a smart meter was one of those boxes with a green light that attaches to air conditioners?? Is there someone with knowledge who can explain this?

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Posted by L.G.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

I live alone and work all day and my PGE bills have tripled, or quadrupled. $437 + dollars is way too much. Something's not right that's for sure. My PGE bills were manageable at one time, but now, it's totally out of line.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Kathleen - what reason was given by PG&E to remove the Smart Meter?

I believe the utility company has to be the last in the chain of installation. They have to give an okay in order for the PV (solar panel) converter to utility service box connection to be switched ON.

They would also be responsible for changing the utility meter from a standard issue to a PV compatible one. Are you saying that there is no PV compatible meters that come with the Smart Meter option?

Seems like an oversight since PV users would definitely want to see both the PV and Utility power generation/usage real time.

Heard on the news last night that Smart Meters only transmit 45 seconds a day. Hardly an earth shattering amount of RF energy.

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Posted by SmartSmitten
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

So people who do not want SmartMeters use a cell phone or not?

Cellphones generate more radiation than most other things.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Bill, The meter for the solar is somehow different--maybe smart meters can't run backwards? I have to admit my spouse handled it, so I didn't pay enough attention. We also only get billed once a year, I believe, which ought to be interesting.

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Posted by SCUBAMom
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I think the fee's are to pay the meter readers who don't get paid minimum wage. They also use a company vehicle to get to the neighborhoods where they are working. Smart meters have been used in European countries for years and I don't know why this never came up before, but it would have help calm the hysteria. And thank you Bill from Amberwood for pointing out that the smart meters only transmit a radio frequency for 45 seconds per day.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Many years ago, we saw John Stossel speak at a conference when he was still part of 20/20. He noted that under the newer regulations at that time, you wouldn't have a gas powered water heater or furnace or stove in your home or allow cars and trucks and buses to race along at 45 mph next to sidewalks full of pedestrians. So, I don't get how anyone sleeps at night with things that could blow up or leak lethal gases (and the car in the garage) but a smart meter is where some want to draw the line.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Thanks Kathleen for your answer :-)

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Posted by Chuck
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 3, 2012 at 6:39 am

Bob -- You read an old analog meter by looking at the little dials that rotate -- one for each digit. They look like a clock with one hand.

I believe that the digital meter you have is a smart meter. Ours says "smart meter" on it.

The device to let PG&E turn down your air conditioner is totally separate from the smart meter. It is called "SmartAC". The PG&E website has a good description of SmartAC. I agree with you that I don't want PG&E messing with my AC -- at least until they make it worth my while.

Web Link

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Posted by Rate Payer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

However, Chuck, this smart meter transition is leading up to controlling our ACs. I don't have a smart meter, but for me it's all about pricing, not radiation. Until I can be guaranteed my rate won't skyrocket because my neighbor's elec car is sucking afternoon power when I am using my air cond. Elec cars should only be allowed to charge at night...not during daylight. The public is now being 'educated' to monitor 'our' daylight use. Four cars charging in a neighborhood can cause a neighborhood blackout. But, being a smart person, I know they charge me by tiers. We're allowed enough for a lightbulb use in tier 1, enough for 2 light bulbs & refrigerator in tier 2, enough for 3 bulbs, refrigerator, and a tv in tier 3, somehow as one person in tiny townhouse I'm always in tier 4. Yet my neighbor's car is sucking equivalent of hundreds of homes. As more cars are added, we will be hostages to minute by minute usage charges. I will not surrender my right to fair pricing for basic home usage. Of course they aren't even being fair to any of us anyway, with the amounts 'allowed' in each tier.
PG&E is NOT being HONEST in fully explaining their rate. Are they billing car users appropriately for what and when they are draining a neighborhood's power in daylight hours???? Or just ARBITRARILY sticking it to regular users?? I have no intention to subsidize the huge drain from cars. Is PG&E going to be honest?? What do you think??

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Posted by Dawn
a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I wasn't sure what "community I live in" to choose.I live In Bakersfield CA. east side of town.

I'm actually furious about all of this... When we first got a letter from PGE about installing the Smart meter we didn't respond to it because we didn't want it. Then we got 2 more letters basiclly in a "round about way" saying that if we didn't allow the installation of the smart meter that we could have our power turned off. Anyone else get letters like this? So now.... we have to pay?????????? to have it changed back to what we wanted in the first place?? and pay monthly?? when we where FORCED into this meter in the first place? I am NOT happy about this at all. And it won't be the last they hear from me about this.

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Posted by Rate Payer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm

So when is PG&E going to fess up to the 'real' purpose and scope of 'smart' meters ???? It's so they can really gouge us in the top tier rate, if we want ac while a neighbor's elec car is putting an intense DRAIN on the neighborhood ! They need to find suckers for the 'auto ac turnoff' so they can hopefully have enough power for those who need or want it.
Ism't their job to 'provide' power ??? Elec cars should not be allowed until there is enough power, without usury rates for the rest of us.

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Posted by Wei
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jul 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Whoever comes across this should read the stuff at . The claims put out by the civil disobedients actually have merit.

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Posted by Paolo Pissed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2013 at 10:07 am

I never Opted in and now I have to pay to Opt out?? SCAM! The technology only benefits PG&E as usual. I don't believe a word of what they say.

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Posted by other Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Rate Payer – I have a plug in hybrid that draws either 8 or 12 amps. Hardly enough current draw to affect the neighborhood, even if everyone owned an electric car and was charging at the same time. PG&E only offers discounts after 11:00PM. You can either spend $4000 to have a dedicated meter installed (ridiculous) or be charged astronomical rates if you use any electricity in the daytime (also ridiculous). Before you poo poo electric cars you should do a little investigation. The government is almost paying you to try one out. Up to $7500 tax credit, up to $2500 state rebate, use of the carpool and HOV lanes, at 200 miles per week commute I was paying $160 per month for gas versus $30 a month for electricity, a maintenance schedule that requires a visual inspection at 7500 miles and an oil change at 15000 miles. A big plus is I don’t have to wait in gas lines watching someone for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to swipe their credit card.
Kathleen – I also have solar. I was told by PG&E that they do not have a Smart Meter that can run backwards.

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