San Francisco, February 2, 2012 — Residential electric and gas customers who have concerns about wireless technology can now choose either a new smart meter or a traditional analog meter, following the final decision by the California Public Utilities Commission.
PG&E is installing digital, wireless smart meters throughout its service area in Northern and Central California as part of a statewide effort to help customers save on their bills by offering them more control over their energy usage, improve reliability and customer service, and conserve natural resources to help the environment.
As part of a global effort to modernize the energy grid and transform it into a digital network that will deliver more reliable power to homes and businesses, similar metering programs are now underway at utilities throughout the country and around the world. To date, PG&E has installed nearly nine million gas and electric smart meters, on its way to about 10 million meters in 2012.
Independent studies repeatedly have affirmed the safety and accuracy of smart meters. However, in response to comments from some customers, PG&E in March 2011 proposed offering them a choice to turn off the radios in their smart meters, and then provided customers with the option to delay the installation of new smart meters pending the CPUC's final decision. In December 2011, PG&E asked the CPUC to approve analog meters as another alternative to receiving a smart meter, which was the central element of the CPUC's decision today.
The CPUC's final decision requires customers who opt-out of the program to pay a $75 initial setup charge and a $10 monthly charge. This will cover the costs of manual meter-reading and associated operational and billing issues. Income-qualified customers will pay a $10 initial setup charge and $5 a month.