Understanding PG&E Smart Meter Opt-Out fees

In California you can now rid your home of a smart meter.  That’s good news.  However PG&E is imposing fees to do so.  That’s the confusing news.

The facts about the FEES:  Besides being arbitrary, punitive and likely illegal, they are INTERIM fees…  What are INTERIM fees?  They are a strategy designed to intimidate and confuse customers who don’t want smart meters.

The costs to opt out and who should pay are still being evaluated by the Public Utilities Commission.  Hearings will be held within the next couple of months.

From a CPUC press release:  “The costs are subject to adjustment upon conclusion of a second phase of this proceeding where issues concerning the actual costs associated with offering an analog opt-out option will be addressed.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you have smart meters on your home-have PG&E replace them with analogs.  Call (866-743-0263)

If you still have analog meters- DELAY TILL MAY.  The final decision should be completed by then.


21 thoughts on “Understanding PG&E Smart Meter Opt-Out fees”

  1. Your allowing people to hack our entire home .. televisions, WiFi and everything else that’s private… we don’t want you watching us and I hope Senator Feinstein stays holding you accountable! What yirballowing is the state to put voices I our heads via implants .. your waterboarding innocent families.. it’s been proven.. it’s in your logo ))) thats sound.. on the R for river …

  2. I doubt PG&E will sue, as I don’t believe they have a legal leg to stand on. What they may try to do is install the SM…FYI, we are fighting for a free opt out at the CPUC.

  3. Has anyone gotten their PG&E bill with the new, imposed opt-out fees? I got mine recently and don’t want to pay ($75 one-time fee & $10 monthly fee). Can I just leave $85 out and explain that I never agreed? or should I suck it up, pay it “under duress” as recommended on a few websites and hope to get the $$ back when this mess gets sorted out? I am a little nervous of getting sued down the road for not paying, but I also don’t believe I should pay them for something I never agreed for them to install and then come out and uninstall.

  4. Abi, the opt out proceeding will continue to evaluate community wide opt out and the costs and who pays. This second phase of the proceeding will start in a couple months. For contacts see:

  5. What is the PUC stance as of this day, April 15, 2012? I have previously opted out by sending in certified letters to PGE. Who do I now contact in PUC or CA legislative body (Names, contact information, PLEASE, ASAP!!!. And what about the precautionary principle regarding health, safety, privacy, mess-ups in billing? Help help. With thanks.

  6. We have already received our smart meter and our bills have tripled. I can’t believe this is legel.

    Charles Geeter

  7. I believe we should have the right to determine whether we want the new meter. If we do not want to switch, we should not be assessed costly fees on a ongoing basis. There should be no cost to opt out…PG&E is saving money and labor in not having to install the new meter.

    The PUC is not working in the interest of the public…it seems they are the puppet for PG&E. If you agree, please let me know..and we fight this….

  8. Comments sent online regarding a phone conversation with Mark Torres of PG&E:

    May 1 is the date by which opt-out decision must be made, charges will not accrue until after May 1. PGE putting insert in March billing which may correct some of the inaccuracies and misinformation being disseminated by SmartMeter Hotline.

    PG&E is aware of some of the discrepancies and some of the problems being caused by telephone answerers who do not follow nor complete the assigned “talking points”, have created a smaller cadre of specialized phone answerers to deal w problems. They also are aware of there are informational discrepancies w their announcements v CPUC info.

    If you have an issue w the SM contact line, Mark is in SF Customer relations office. 415-973-7100. Don’t argue w the bullies and dumbies, get their names and report them to Mark Torres.

  9. I thought this decision by the PUC was final, and I’m glad that it is not yet been finalized.
    Yes I did contact PG&E and agree to pay the one time fee of $75, and the $10 a month meter reading fee, not because I think it is at all fair, I just wanted PG&E off of my back.
    I hope that if enough people protest, that the PUC will not level the extra charge on all of us. I already got my PG&E bill, and there was no extra charges and so far no letter of confirmation like the sales rep said I would get. Also, no technician or pinche sticker yet.
    I think it was a bluff by PG&E, they can’t charge me for a product that I never ordered, never wanted, can’t use and never received. That is not a proper business transaction, just a money sucking sham by the PUC and PG&E.
    By the way, I have been reading my meter and setting dials on a card and putting it on the street for years, but I come to find out that my meter reader can read my meter with a scope. But she made a mistake once, (a big one), so I called PG&E and phoned in the proper read. The PG&E rep said I can do this anytime that I want to on the day of my meter read, which PG&E has been sending me a schedule of for years.
    But I really care about the meter readers jobs, so I will let her read my meter for many more years (unless she makes a boo boo), then I will phone in the correct read.
    The sole purpose of the radio smart meter and radio smart grid project is to automate meter reading and eliminate decent paying jobs. The radio meter project is not about saving energy or improving efficiency of the electrical power grid one bit at all !
    My main objection to the project (besides eliminating good jobs) is the fact that in a few years, (if I surrendered to a SmartMeter), PG&E would know at what hours that I use electricity so they can jack up my rates between the hours of 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm up to one dollar per kilowatt hour if they feel like it. Even if I do eventually have to pay the $75, I know it will save me thousands of dollars in a few years. Just say NO to SmartMeter/SmartGrid.

  10. No to smart meter. Why do I want to go through cancer again? I believe it is unfair that a company can charge me to protect myself from exposure to harmful rays!!! I can elect to not have a microwave or cell phone but I have to pay to opt out from a hugh corporation requiring me to cover their cost to read their meter when I have no other option for power in my area!!!

  11. Not only should PG$E and the CPUC pay for uninstalling all deadly untested radiation-emitting devices, Michael Peevey should be forced from the CPUC for malfeasance of office, the top executives of PG$E should be arrested for colluding to defraud customers and harm their health, and finally all private utilities should be dismantled in favor of California state public power.

  12. Customers are ALREADY PAYING ABOUT $300 each FOR THE SMART METER hidden within their utility bill over many months, so WHY do they have to pay an additional opt-out fee for something they already paid for but aren’t getting?

    Shouldn’t the opt-out customers instead be getting a refund or credit for $300 since PG$E saves the $300 not putting a new smart meter on their home.

  13. If you oppose such charges to Opt-OUT of “smart meters” please sign the petition bit.ly/w1f4bL , help circulate info about it, and if you tweet, please use the #SmartMeters #CA so we can find each other. Thanks!!

  14. Here’s how Ready Kilowatt dealt with the sticker issue:

    “She then told me that a technician would come up and install a sticker on my old meter so Wellington does not yank it out.
    I told her that Wellington has come and gone from this area about a year ago, so I don’t need a sticker. She told me that this must be done, and since I told her that my gates are locked at all times, that the technician would call before delivery. I told her that I might not be home, so the tech can leave the sticker under the gate and I can figure out how to install it.”

    Now, if meter access becomes an issue with your Pit Bulls, you should know that additional surcharges will apply for canine power surges. However, power surges induced by energy-sucking Smart meters come at no extra cost!

  15. I don’t have a smart meter and now when I called PG&E to opt out they are going to charge $75.00 + $10.00 a month. And, a service person has to come out and put a sticker on my meter. The PG&E representative said that the PUC mandated this. I complained to the PUC and there has been no answer.

  16. This is what I wrote to PG&E and the PUC so they would have a personal protest.
    I thought I had to opt out at this time and sign their form.

    To Pacific Gas and Electric and the Public Utilities Commission:
    I have signed a document today opting out of the SmartMeter. I will keep my analog meter.
    I have to agree to payment each month for the opt out privilege. I do not think it is in the least fair that I pay for not having a product, which I do not want because it compromises my health.
    In the nineteen seventies, while working on a stubborn health problem, I became the client of a biochemist (Sig Erlander, PhD) Experienced with allergies, he would work with me only if I got rid of my cat and my microwave oven.
    He handed me a foot high stack of articles on electromagnetic waves from ovens and said I should read them to learn of their dangers. I did read some of them, enough to inform me that I did not want to have any part of microwave ovens.
    I can and do choose not to have a cell phone or any electronic gadget run with EMF’s, and I do not have to pay for my non-selection of wireless. But suddenly I am cornered into having to pay for a choice that should be mine to make without cost.
    I think both the utility and its regulators are doing the public a great disservice for this charge, even though I am on a CARE program and will only be paying a small amount. I work very hard to keep my bill as low as possible as I am on a fixed income. I object to even the small charge. I object to a neighborhood filled with SmartMeters in addition to the cell towers, phones and other sources of EMF’s. One day the whole world will pay heavily for its denial of health effects from EMF. Yes, I know a comprehensive study was done showing no harm from the Meters. But that was after the knowledge of the seventies was suppressed. Strange how the effects were known in the seventies—and denied today.

    Yours truly,

  17. More back-pedaling found in the revised PG$E smart meter opt out proposed decision of January 17:


    On page 39, Findings of Fact, #10:

    “Further review of the feasibility of continuing to offer an analog meter opt-out option may be warranted in the future to ensure that this opt-out option does not impede the full implementation of net metering, demand response and smart grid.”
    Wouldn’t want those old antiquated reliable analog meters to get in the way of “full implementation”.

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