Opting Out of SmartMeter Program Will Cost You

By Erika Okano
|  Friday, Mar 25, 2011  |  Updated 7:45 AM PDT
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Opting Out of SmartMeter Program Will Cost You

NBCDFW.com

Smart meter on the side of a house.

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PG&E is getting ready to offer customers a choice: accept the SmartMeter, or pay the price.

The utility has introduced a couple of possible plans to allow people to opt-out from the SmartMeter program. One option would allow the customer to pay $270 and then a monthly fee of $14. Another would offer a lower initial cost, $135, but would charge a higher monthly fee, $20.

PG&E is also proposing an "exit fee", though the exact cost has not been determined. The exit fee would be assessed when the customer moves. They would be required to pay a fee so PG&E could reactivate the SmartMeter transmitter for the person who moves into the home.

One of the key issues for SmartMeter opponents is whether the transmitters are safe. A government study recently weighed in, saying the meters are harmless. That has not stopped some California counties from placing a moratorium on the installation of SmartMeters.

The California Public Utilities Commission will have to sign off on any plan PG&E plans to implement. The utility thinks it can offer the opt-out program by November.

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