California PUC issues proposed decision on PG&E smart meter opt-out


Michael Peevey,
President, California
San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — November 29, 2011 – The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last week issued a proposed decision on Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) smart meter opt-out proposal.

Under the 46 page proposed decision, PG&E would be required to offer customers who don’t wish to have a wireless smart meter installed either a smart meter with the radio transmission turned off or a digital meter with no radio installed. However, by no later than January 1, 2014 the non communicating digital electric meter offered – either electricity and/or gas – must be capable of collecting interval energy consumption data to allow PG&E to collect this data manually for billing purposes.

Customers who select to opt-out will be assessed an initial fee of $90 and a monthly charge of $15. Customers on the CARE program (with low or limited income) would be required to pay only a monthly charge of $5.

Under the decision PG&E is also authorized to establish an account to track the revenues and costs associated with providing the opt-out option. Recovery of the net costs may be sought in the company’s annual Energy Resource Recovery Account application. Further, an opt-out tariff option must be established within 15 days of the effective date of the decision.

The decision is broadly in line with the proposals made by PG&E in its proposed plan although the costs allowed are somewhat less, as it is decided that the opt-out costs shouldn’t be borne in their entirety by those choosing to opt-out.

The decision also notes that the issue of whether RF emissions from smart meters have an effect on individuals is outside the scope of the proceeding.

The decision by PUC president Michael Peevey will be subject to a vote by commissioners on or after January 12, 2012.