Marin County Takes on PG&E in Smart Meter Battle

Local governments take on PG&E.

Local governments in Marin County are taking a stand against SmartMeters -- and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Both the Marin County Board of Supervisors and the town of Fairfax took official stands against SmartMeters, according to the Marin Independent Journal. The controversial electric useage monitoring-machines transmit the data directly to PG&E, who says customers who don't like it can pay a $75 fee, and then a $10-fee every month after that to "opt out" of the program.

Some customers fear the meters emit dangerous radiation, unlike the older, analog meters. But other customers are angry that the company is charging them money to opt out of a program in which they never opted in, the newspaper reported. And the government has got their backs.

Fairfax and the county have both imposed moratoriums on the installation of new SmartMeters, the newspaper reported. The county-wide moratorium only affects unincorporated areas of Marin County.

"Ratepayers should not be forced to pay fees to keep analog meters that have already proven to be safe and accurate," said Fairfax town councilman Larry Bragman.

PG&E is taking a stand of its own, however: the company has warned it will turn off the power of customers who refuse to pay the opt-out fee, and that the California Public Utilities Commission is on the company's side.

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