Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PG&E Smart Meter Installation to Begin in SLV

Letters were sent to most SLV PG&E customers recently informing them of the pending insallation of so called "smart meters". 

These meters wirelessly communicate usage information.  PG&E has scheduled installations of them for all of their customers by mid-2012.

Consumer and environmental groups have raised objections over both their accuracy and the potential health risk due to increased frequent exposure to the electromagnetic radiation the meters emit.

PG&E does not address either of these these concerns on their website's FAQ page
The California State Public Utilities Commission has launched an investigation into the accuracy of the meters and a number of local governments including San Francisco, Marin and Santa Cruz Counties have asked the PUC to stop PG&E's installation program until that investigation is complete.

Wellington Energy, Inc was contracted by PG&E to install the meters in this area.

According to TURN, a consumer advocacy group that focuses on utility issues, here are the steps to take if you have concerns over the installation of the 'smart meters" :

Download a Do Not Install sign to hang on your traditional meter 
  • File a complaint with the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the regulatory agency that oversees your utility issues.
  • Put a sign on your meter telling PG&E you do not want a Smart Meter installed. If a worker comes to install a meter, tell them you do not want one installed until the CPUC investigation is complete. In most cases, installation workers have respected these actions. However, if they insist on installing a meter, there is nothing more you can do to stop them. Remember that the smart meters installers are working people that deserve our respect. Please notify us if they install a Smart Meter against your wishes.
  • If other neighbors on your block do not have a smart meter yet, organize your neighbors to do the same and become a Smart Meter Free Zone!
  • At least once a month, take a picture of your meter reading and mark the date and time. It is quite possible that PG&E may send you an estimated bill. If they overestimate your bill you will have proof of your actual usage. If PG&E threatens to shut off your power, file a complaint with the CPUC and contact TURN’s consumer hotline immediately at 1-800-355-8876.
PG&E has publicly stated that they will not shut off power to customers boycotting the Smart Meter installations. It is more likely that they will begin to estimate your usage, which will be noted on your bill. If they underestimate your bill, be aware that PG&E could charge you for any ‘past usage’ for an indefinite period of time. You should save up to pay for any underestimates and contact PG&E.
We cannot assure you that PG&E will not try to shut off your power for boycotting a Smart Meter installation. However, based on our reading of their terms of service, we don't see a specific basis for PG&E cutting off your power.
Contact Kori Chen, Community Organizer, at 1-800-355-8876 or kchen@turn.org for more info on forming a Smart Meter Free Zone!
Download a Smart Meter Free Zone Sign
For more information about "smart meters" from TURN go here.

1 comment:

JC said...

Additional concerns around data collection (http://goo.gl/pzMo) and security of the network are also being raised.

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