Aileen Yoo
The San Francisco Chronicle
March 13, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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When Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced it was installing smart meters, they weren’t exactly giving customers the option of turning down the device. But one Bay Area man demanding his constitutional rights told CBS5 that he doesn’t want a new meter. Period.

“To me it’s unconstitutional, it’s an invasion of my privacy,” said Mark Dieteman.

The smart meter allows PG&E to watch energy usage remotely and lets customers monitor how much electricity they use. However, residents have blamed the devices for a dramatic increase in their bills, prompting calls for an investigation. A Bakersfield man also filed a class-action lawsuit, which claims customers were overcharged and should get a refund.

But Dieteman’s beef isn’t with his bill. It’s with issues of privacy and Big Brother. And to show PG&E he’s serious, he locked up his old meter. So what can PG&E do? An expert interviewed by CBS5 suggests the company can either shut down Dieteman’s service or simply go ahead and install the device anyway, in which case, Dieteman says he’s willing to put up a fight.

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