If you don't want the SmartMeter installed on the side of your house — and technicians have installed a lot of them — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. wants to hear from you Tuesday at the latest. According to information on their website, May 1 is the company's deadline to opt out and go back to an analog meter.
The SmartMeters have generated currents of controversy ever since PG&E began installing them without notifying residents. Homeowners have raised issues of radiation emissions and privacy.
Leaving the SmartMeter program, and telling PG&E you want to have the older analog meter re-installed at your home, will cost you. A ruling by the California Public Utilities Commission three months ago allows PG&E to charge you $75 for the change, and charge you an additional $10 per month on top of your normal energy charges.
For their part, PG&E consider the SmartMeters to be an essential upgrade to their customer service, making their distribution system more reliable. The meters record homeowner energy use in great detail; once an account is set up on the PG&E website, an electric customer can get close to a real-time estimate of energy begin used at their home.
A groundswell of opposition has emerged from PG&E's handling of the program. A website called Fight the Fees! has been created by a Watsonville woman, with many customers complaining and enclosing photos expressing their opposition to the announced fee charges. The essential question being asked: "Why should we pay to discontinue a service we never wanted in the first place?"
What do you think? Are you comfortable with a SmartMeter? Do you think PG&E should be able to charge you for what may have been an unwanted upgrade? Let us know in our comments.