Update 3:56 p.m. KQED’s Stephanie Martin talked to PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno about the CPUC’s request for a SmartMeter opt-out. [audio:http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2011/03/PGESmartMeters.mp3]

The upshot: Sounds like PG&E will file an opt-out proposal by the CPUC’s prescribed deadline. But what that proposal will consist of — the company is not yet saying.

Update 1:35 p.m. Statement from PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno:

We are aware of the CPUC’s order to file an opt-out proposal for customers by March 24. We are committed to working with our regulators to meet this deadline. We have been examining possible alternatives for the past few months in anticipation of such a filing. While this advances our timeline, we are prepared to file by the deadline set by the CPUC.

We understand that some of our customers have concerns related to radio frequency from SmartMeters. Although the great weight of scientific evidence demonstrates that the RF from SmartMeters is safe, we take our customers’ concerns seriously.

In light of our customers’ concerns, we are evaluating options we hope will alleviate customer concerns and still enable PG&E to upgrade all of its customers to SmartMeters. Our challenge is how we address our customers’ concerns while ensuring them of the enormous benefits that SmartMeters and the smart grid offer.

Earlier post:

From AP:

California regulators will ask Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to set up a process so its customers can opt out of smart meters if they have concerns about the devices’ potential health effects.

California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey says he will ask the utility to develop the proposal over the next two weeks.

Peevey’s announcement came before dozens of people and advocacy groups testified at Thursday’s commission meeting that exposure to radio frequencies and radiation from the wireless electricity and gas meters was harming people’s health.

PG&E maintains that the meters are safe. Other PUC commissioners have said they want to see more research on whether the electronic meter-reading system can impact health.

Peevey says he believes PG&E should allow customers to opt out for a “reasonable cost”.

CPUC Wants PG&E to Set Up SmartMeter Opt-Out 10 March,2011Jon Brooks

  • Inside9

    I was there. Mr. Peevey asked for multiple possible opt-out proposals. From this interview, it sounds like PG&E, true-to-form, will offer their one possible alternative. Mr. Peevey wants several and the people who have concerns would certainly appreciate the ability to provide feedback, but in our current Gaddafi form of utility monopoly I fear this would be too threatening.

  • RobertWilliams

    Successful State and National Smart Grid requires cooperation and good relations between all parties – utility companies, customers, regulators.

    With PG$E treating customers like they are at war with them, simple adjustments in the PG$E program will not fix everything.

    PG$E Corporate Management needs to be investigated. Why was there no Pilot program before implementation of 10 million Wireless meters?

    Did PG$E Corporate Management already know how damaging these Wireless meters were? That would explain why PG$E Management were in such a hurry to get these things installed before most people even knew or understood what the meters were, especially the part of adding a broadcasting antenna and a receiving antenna onto every home (contained within the meter enclosure – not on the roof of homes where the problem would be more obvious).

    • Inside9

      Classic extortion. A smartmeter is mounted on the consumers home while he’s not home. He pays through the nose for the new smartmeter (as all ratepayers do), suffers health effects over time, then pays an added amount to opt-out. What about the poor apartment dweller with 25 meters right outside his/her bedroom? He needs to be an accomplice to the crime. He better hope he can pressure his neighbors to cough up the cash for PG$E or he’ll get no relief. Its immoral. Sorry Mr. Peevey, I don’t think you quite appreciate the problem. Could this have been the plan from the start?


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of EconomyBeat.org, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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