‘Smart meter’ opt-out plan approved by PUC

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A plan to let San Diego Gas & Electric customers who
don't want the new wireless smart meters at their homes to keep the older
analog models was given final approval by the California Public Utilities
Commission Thursday.

The opt-out plan was requested by the San Diego-based Utility Consumers
Action Network, and also applies to Southern California Edison customers.
Tentative approval of the arrangement was given last month by an administrative
law judge. Opponents of the smart meters express concerns over perceived
health risks and privacy issues.

“As we move toward a more advanced electricity grid, smart meters will
offer customers real benefits,” commission President Michael Peevey said.
“However, if a customer does not want to have a smart meter, our decision
today gives them that option.”

SDG&E customers who choose the analog model will have to pay $75 up
front and an extra $10 monthly. Consumers in the “California Alternate Rates
for Energy” program would be charged $10 initially and $5 more per month.

Those charges will cover the SDG&E's extra costs for carrying both types
of meters, and can be adjusted in the future when the utility's cost-recovery
requirements are determined.

The commission also approved 19 measurements for determining the
effectiveness of smart grid technology being rolled out by the utilities,
including the number of smart meter malfunctions during power outages,
increases in the number of consumer complaints over accuracy of the new
devices, and the number of smart meters replaced annually before the end of
their expected useful life.

Categories: KUSI