Thousands across state opt out of SmartMeter program; deadline is May 1

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Thousands of utility customers around California are asking not to have wireless SmartMeters, although so far the total number is far less than anticipated in an opt-out plan accepted earlier this month.

On Feb. 1 the California Public Utilities Commission approved a proposal allowing Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers throughout California to opt out of having wireless SmartMeters, including being able to retain analog meters, as Lake County News has reported.

When that decision was made, PG&E had installed nine million of the wireless meters around the state, and had 900,000 meters yet to install.

At the same time, 31,000 of the 40,000 electric meters in Lake County had been replaced with SmartMeters, PG&E said.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors and the cities of Lakeport and Clearlake all passed temporary moratoriums on SmartMeter installations last year in response to public concerns.

PG&E spokesperson Brandi Ehlers told Lake County News that the company is tracking the number of customers who choose to opt out of the program.

As of this month, 4,400 customers systemwide had asked to opt out, said Ehlers.

Of that number, 150 customers in Lake County had opted out, she said.

That’s far less than the 148,500 customers PG&E used as a basis to estimate the costs of running the opt-out program.

Based on that number of customers not taking part in the program, PG&E – in its filing with the CPUC – said it would cost $113.4 million for 2012 and 2013 to implement the opt-out program.

Customers wanting not to have the meters, however, must pay one-time and ongoing fees to participate in the program, based on the proposal the CPUC accepted.

For low-income customers, they must pay a one-time fee of $10 and $5 a month. Other customers must pay a one-time fee of $75, and monthly fees of $10, according to the opt-out plan parameters.

For customers who are on the installation delay list, PG&E is asking them to opt out by May 1.

For more information about the opt-out program, and to ask not to participate, visit http://www.pge.com/myhome/customerservice/smartmeter/optout/.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews, on Tumblr at www.lakeconews.tumblr.com, on Google+, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .