In a decision that could have major implications for smart grid efforts around the country, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) yesterday ruled 4-0 that utility customers could opt-out of smart meter installations.
The decision comes after a year of contentious debate between Northern California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and customers who were concerned about safety risks and privacy concerns.
Opting out, for a fee
The CPUC’s ruling provides customers with the option of paying a premium to keep their older analog meter. Those choosing to opt-out will have to pay a one-time $75 fee and a $10 monthly fee for as long as they keep their analog meter. Low-income customers can pay a reduced $10 upfront fee and $5 monthly charge.
The new charges would make up for the cost of re-installing analog meters on homes that want to switch back and the cost of having meter readers visit homes every billing cycle.