PG&E receives approval for smart meter opt-out plan

California utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has received approval for its latest proposal for an opt-out plan from its smart grid implementation program, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that fees proved the most important aspect of the current plan, as the decision from the California Public Utilities Commission could serve as a basis for similar cases around the country.

PG&E plans to install a total of roughly 9.7 million smart meters throughout its service area, but complaints ranging from information privacy to accuracy to concerns about potential health consequences have forced the utility to adopt an opt-out plan.

The company's proposal puts much of cost of such a plan on customers, imposing a $75 up-front fee followed by $10 monthly costs to pay for meter readers. Low income residents would pay a lower rate.

One key factor in the approval of the proposal was the PUC's skepticism about claims of health impacts from smart meter technology. Ultimately, the decision was unanimous in support.

More information on smart grid technology can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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