Regulators demand PG&E provide opt-out plan for smart meters

2-week deadline for PG&E’s SmartMeter opt-out plan

David R. Baker
San Francisco Chronicle
Posted March 13, 2011

California’s top utility regulator on Thursday gave Pacific Gas and Electric Co. two weeks to propose a way for customers to opt out of receiving the company’s controversial wireless SmartMeters.

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The move follows mounting complaints about the new electricity and gas meters from people who consider the radiation from cell phones, computers and other wireless devices to be a health threat. Opponents have tried to block SmartMeter installation trucks, while 30 local governments throughout Northern and Central California have called for a moratorium on PG&E’s $2.2 billion meter program.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees PG&E, has so far refused to halt the program. But on Thursday, commission President Michael Peevey said he had told PG&E to come up with options for customers who don’t want the wireless meters.

“Given the continued strong interest in this issue in parts of Northern California, I have spoken directly with PG&E’s president and asked him to bring to this commission a proposal or a series of proposals that will allow customers with an aversion to wireless devices the option of being metered without the use of wireless technology,” Peevey said.

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