SDG&E Says Smart Meter Opt-Out charge is a “Penalty Fee”

Sent from Susan Foster

Dear CPUC Commissioners and Judge Amy Yip Kikugawa:

I am an SDG&E customer writing in opposition to the $75.00 fee I must pay to SDG&E to keep my analogue meter that was never removed when smart meters were originally installed in my neighborhood in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. I wrote to SDG&E prior to installation, advising them of my medical condition along with a letter from my cardiologist, as well as a scientific study linking RF radiation to cardiac arrhythmia. SDG&E eventually decided to label my home as a “bypass”, and therefore I have retained my original analogue meters.

When I called SDG&E on April 24 to ask why I needed to pay $75 since there would be no actual work done at my home because I had retained the original meters, I was informed that for me the $75 was a “penalty fee.” I was surprised at this terminology, as I read Judge Amy Yip Kikugawa’s rulings with respect to the opt-out, and I do not see where a “penalty fee” is to be assessed. I thought we had the freedom to choose whether or not to accept a smart meter. Nowhere in the Administrative Law Judge’s ruling do I see justification for penalizing a customer with a medical condition for opting to bypass a meter that would cause harm to my health when that customer requires no work to be done on her property.

In fact, it is my understanding that I have already paid SDG&E through increased fees for installation of smart meters I never had installed, as well as through my Federal tax dollars for stimulus funds that have funded this smart meter program, at least in part. Where is the logic in a penalty fee under such circumstances?

I asked the SDG&E employee who said I was being assessed a “penalty fee” to check and see if she was using the right terminology with me. After a short time on hold, she returned to the phone to tell me her original statement was correct.

Could you please explain SDG&E’s justification for assessing a “penalty fee” when I am simply asking to protect my health, which I have every right to do.

Thank you for your prompt reply, as I must respond via certified letter before June 15, 2012.

Respectfully Yours,

Susan Foster

4 thoughts on “SDG&E Says Smart Meter Opt-Out charge is a “Penalty Fee””

  1. California Public Utilities Code Section 453(b):

    “No public utility shall prejudice, disadvantage, or require different rates or deposit amounts from a person because of ancestry, medical condition, marital status or change in marital status, occupation, or any characteristic listed or defined in Section 11135 of the Government Code. A person who has exhausted all administrative remedies with the commission may institute a suit for injunctive relief and reasonable attorney’s fees in cases of an alleged violation of this subdivision. If successful in litigation, the prevailing party shall be awarded attorney’s fees.”

  2. Ron – great post – I just read this for Colorado – since a lot of people looking into the illegal fees and forced installs.

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