Opinion » Letters

Give us a better way to opt out, PG&E

Arroyo Grande

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I have attended a number of city council meetings regarding the “automatic” installation of SmartMeters, none of which answered some very important questions.

PG&E’s SmartMeter opt-out option (“SmartMeter opt-out plan is here,” March 30) is grossly unfair for ratepayers who have already paid in excess of $2.2 billion for the SmartMeter program—which they never asked for.

PG&E’s opt-out plan: $270 upfront opt-out fee + $14 a month surcharge + a yet-to-be determined “exit fee” if you move.

While PG&E is being forced to offer an opt-out provision of the SmartMeters program, it has gamed that provision. The proposed costs of opting out are prohibitive, which is PG&E’s intention to stop the opposition to SmartMeters. A reasonable choice is not being offered.

Here is a proposition for another opt-out plan: No charge to keep existing analog meters. PG&E could estimate usage based on the prior year, or customers could self-read monthly. A meter reader could check twice a year so that any underage or overage can be adjusted. For any customer who requests it, PG&E should restore their analog meter at PG&E’s expense, ASAP.

Ratepayers should not have to pay for their negligence. There needs to be a choice.

Also, there should be an immediate moratorium on any further installation of wireless SmartMeters until consumers know they have these opt-out options. And there needs to be evidentiary hearings on SmartMeters. We should not be used to find out if these meters are dangerous to our health … after the fact.

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