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PUC approves “smart meter” opt-out

Posted: April 19, 2012 3:27 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2012 3:27 p.m.

Southern California Edison customers who don't want to use "smart meters" can go back to their old meters starting May 9 - but it'll cost them.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a proposal Thursday allowing Edison customers to delete the digital and return to analog meters. Doing so will cost an initial $75 fee, plus an additional $10 each month.

Low-income customers will be charged an initial fee of $10 and a monthly fee of $5.

The PUC made a similar, final decision earlier this year for Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Northern California who wanted to opt out of "smart meters" and issued a similar decision Thursday for San Diego Gas & Electric.

"Smart meters" are digital, wireless devices designed to replace traditional, mechanical meters. They allow residents to track their own power usage digitally on a daily basis.

They also simplify the process of meter reading.
Edison began replacing Santa Clarita Valley residents' mechanical meters with "smart meters" in November. By late January, most had been replaced.

Edison officials say the digital meters are "smart" because they allow residents to monitor their own electricity usage remotely to use the utility more efficiently.

Critics have a range of complaints, among them claims the meters issue potentially harmful low-grade radiation and that the utility could use them to vary rates according to the hour of the day.

Others say the meter data could be hacked and people's privacy compromised.

Edison officials have said the new meters are secure and safe.

In a statement, Edison officials said Thursday they support the PUC's decision and will respond quickly to customers' concerns.

"Meter technology worldwide is transitioning from analog to digital technology, but our customers come first," said Erwin Furukawa, Edison senior vice president of customer service.

"Customer choice is something that is important to us, and we're glad that the CPUC was able to come to a timely decision to accommodate all our customers."

Customers who put themselves on the delay list for new meter installation will be able to opt out and keep their existing meters starting May 9 by calling 1-800-810-2369, Edison officials said. Customers whose meters have already been swapped out but want a mechanical meter can have their meters exchanged.

For more information on smart meters, visit





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