Opinion » Letters

It may be smart to balk at Smart Meters

San Luis Obispo

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We recently received notice from PG&E that a new “Smart Meter” will be installed on our house replacing their traditional meter. It was worded as an “exciting” product that will allow customers to discover peak times of energy use and thus cut down on their electric bill. It is billed as good for the environment. So I was feeling good about it. Then I decided to do a little reading about it on the net.

I soon discovered that there are two big issues with these meters. One is that many people have discovered that soon after installation their bills suddenly jump even though their energy usage has not. Lawsuits have been filed. PG&E of course claims that while there have been some errors, all in all everything is in order. Funny though, you ever notice how 99 percent of the time, “errors” in the cost of anything, whether a product or service, is in the business’ favor?

What’s to stop PG&E, which has proven time and time again that it puts the bottom line above the interests of its customers, from simply fudging the numbers when they are transmitted into its offices? Nothing. Not one thing. It’d be simple as pie, with no one to watch over them. Just a few cents per customer can really add up. But I’m reading of HUGE increases. Corporations know that by the time the issue is investigated and possibly fixed, they will have pocketed many millions of dollars. Currently, we have the honesty of the meter reader who has no motive to cheat. The corporation does.

The other issue I’ve read is of concern about radio frequency fields as the unit is wireless and constantly transmits data directly to PG&E. Cell phone tower siting is a similar issue. No one wants to live next to one, as it has been shown that the fields they emit are hazardous to human health. It doesn’t look like PG&E is too concerned about that issue, though, or about our right not to be engulfed by their RF emissions.

So now I’m not so enthusiastic. My question now is: Do we have the right NOT to accept these meters?

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