What to do-PG&E’s May 1* smart meter opt-out deadline

If you have a smart meter: Tell PG&E  to remove it!  1-866-743-0263 

If you have an analog meter:  Tell PG&E you plan to keep your analog meter. When they ask you to agree to the charges tell them,  “NO,  the fees are arbitrary, punitive, likely illegal, and the fees are being legally contested at the CPUC!”

Be assertive. Here’s the legal scoop:  PG&Es Advice letter 3278-G/4006-E was posted on the CPUC Energy Division website as NO ACTION.   NO ACTION means they cannot act on the advice letter, therefore we believe they cannot legally charge the fees at this time.  If they ask you about access to your property, tell them they need to make an appointment.

If you agree to the fees, you can express that you are only agreeing under duress.  If and when they charge, write “paid under protest” on your check, and keep a copy. Or don’t pay.**  PG&E’s online opt out form does not force you to explicitly agree to the charges.

You can also send PG&E a certified letter to: Pacific Gas and Electric, PO Box 997315, Sacramento Ca 95899-9900.

* May 1 is a PG&E deadline for people on the “delay list”.  Any PG&E customer can opt out for any reason at any time.

**RISKS and BENEFITS of NOT paying the fees:  This is a form of direct action that can be helpful.  PG&E may turn off your utilities, or install a smart meter. If this happens we can bring media attention to the issue.

*** The advice letter was removed from the CPUC website on April 30.

Neighbors meters: Talk to your neighbors about these choices. Some people,  if needed-will offer to cover the costs of neighbors opt out, to protect themselves and their children. Print out this flyer and talk to your neighbors: Neighborhood flyer

24 thoughts on “What to do-PG&E’s May 1* smart meter opt-out deadline”

  1. That is a great idea.
    People could get together and form an alliance to get rid of all the SmartMeters in a building or a neighborhood.
    This could be a pool of money , the people that can afford it now could lend the ones who can’t afford it now, and be paid back over time. The savings of not having time differential pricing will be used to pay back the $75 loan from the SmartMeter Removal Assessment District. And who knows, PG&E may be forced to refund the money should we prevail in a court of law.
    The most important thing is, GET RID OF ALL THE SMART METERS !
    We have fought very hard in PG&E territory to be able to not opt in to their stupid programs, AND WE WON THE CHOICE ! Don’t waste the opportunity by being stubborn, the $75 one time charge and $10 per month is a drop in the bucket compared to all the RF radiation , loss of jobs and jacked up rates from time pricing schemes. There are some things that money cannot buy like you health. If someone gets sick from a SmartMeter, paying for health insurance is not going to make things better.
    If everyone or anyone takes advantage of this choice to dump or refuse the SmartMeters, it will help make the world a better place.
    Here is another suggestion, become self insured and quit paying the greedy private health insurance corporations $600 to $1000 per month for nothing. Use that money that would have been wasted on insurance CEOs $75 million per year salaries to pay for good food and DUMP THE SMARTMETERS !

  2. I wanted people to know that I suggest refusing the charges based on my own experience. I called PG&E on Saturday and opted out, and refused the charges- and felt assured this method worked. Some people have challenged me on suggesting people refuse the charges, fearing PG&E will install a smart meter- but I want you to know that I just called PG&E again today, and even though I refused the charges, PG&E confirmed, I am in the opt-out program, and the meter reader will place a sticker on my meter the next time it’s read.

  3. My guess is that the fees will wind up on your bill anyway and further refusal to pay the fees will result in cutting off your power and/or penalty fees, then again I could be wrong. Could you give more details about your call to pg&e, what did they say exactly when you refused the fees? It doesnt seem likely that they would just say okay no problem.

  4. Right, that’s what two people told me today, that PG&E told them it will show up on their bill. They didn’t tell me that, but now I assume it’s likely. However, I did not agree to the charges, so that felt good, and I will deal with it if and when I am billed. Sandi

  5. Hi Sandi,
    I called PG&E as soon as I got the letter about 2 months ago. The PG&E rep asked me if I understood about the $75 one time charge, I said I understand and agree.
    She said the charge would show up on my bill in a few months, but as yet not.
    I was wondering if you or anyone else knows any details about the future. Is this a one time only historical event?
    The reason that I am asking is that I might want to move someday in the distant future, and if my new place is in PG&E territory and does have a SmartMeter, can I pay PG&E to remove it or will I have to do it myself ?

  6. PG&E will remove a smart meter for whomever asks, even if its twice, I’m not sure about the fee, but I thought it was a one time fee, not 100% sure.

  7. A better way to ask the question,
    does anybody know if this option to not have a SmartMeter has to be filed with PG&E by May 1 (fees aside) ? Is May 1, 2012 the deadline, or is this option now available to all PG&E customers from now on (or until PG&E is no longer our electric utility) ?

  8. Anyone for any reason can opt out of a smart meter anytime.

    May 1 was an arbitrary deadline set by PG&E- as they want to continue deploying smart meters/ force customers to choose, even though “Anyone for any reason can opt out of a smart meter anytime.” Sandi

  9. Thank you Sandi,
    I feel better now, because I might possibly want to move in the distant future.
    I’m hoping that if I pay this one time $75 fee, that it will be applicable to any address within the PG&E territory that I want to live.
    The SmartMeter manufacturers claim that their new meters are supposed to last 20 to 30 years, but I seriously doubt that marketing claim.
    If they ever get this second generation of SmartMeters fully operational, the meters will probably self destruct by that time (planned obsolescence), maybe 4 or 5 years, then what ?
    To install advanced meters would be far to expensive, since an advanced meter costs 10 to 15 times as much as a SmartMeter. And then there would be the cost of providing the network to serve these advanced meters. Every meter customer would have to be wired up to broadband cable or a mobile broadband network.
    Perhaps that is why Obama created the “wire up America” program in 2009.
    Obama benevolently gave the telecommunications corporations $9 billion of our tax dollars to wire up every household in the urban areas with cable. To date, they are 95 percent complete, but that is mainly the urban area. I know of many areas in northern California that have no broadband cable yet, and hence no broadband mobile without the wires to hook up the mobile phone towers to, they claim it will be at least a few more years.
    That is all fine and dandy for the cable companies, but with the economy in the toilet, who can afford the astronomical monthly cable internet fees?
    Next we will be forced to subsidize all the poor people with funds to pay the monthly cable service costs, and to subsidize the purchase of all the computers and flat screen HD television sets so they can “better themselves”.
    I noticed Obama has been very generous with our tax dollars feeding the corporations, but it really doesn’t matter at all who is president , what the color of their skin is or what political party they are affiliated with, it is the corporations who dictate to the government what to spend our hard earned tax money on. No, there will be no change to business as usual, probably not until the present economy as we know it totally crashes. I’d guess that would in about 15 years max.

  10. I called to opt out this morning and was told point blank that I could not opt out if I contested the charges. I talked to a supervisor as well who confirmed this. They informed me that they would install the smart meter if I contested the charges. I am not happy about this but I am clear that I do not want a smart meter installed on my property.

  11. Why would they allow me to refuse and not you? Another example of PG&E arbitrary decision making. How did you end the call? How about calling back and asking for verification to see if you are on the opt out list? PG&E is notorious for using intimidation tactics, maybe it was a bluff?

  12. I even mentioned that I knew someone (didn’t mention names) who was able to opt out and contest the charges. That is when they transferred me to a supervisor. He held the line and told me I had no choice but to agree, if I wanted to be able to opt out. Unfortunately, I felt I had no choice and I agreed to the charges.

  13. Sent from a reader:

    For those who have not yet used this travesty: I am looking at it as a form of entrapment if I sign on the indicated line or check their boxes. The fees are illegal, the info on that form is incomplete and incorrect (among other errors and omissions, the CPUC legal challenges not mentioned, Phase 2 not mentioned, and violation of federal law not mentioned, plus, these fees clearly have been collected from other sources since 2007, therefore are unauthorized).

    If I agreed to their terms, I am complicit in supporting illegal and fraudulent charges, thus, engaging in illegal activity I otherwise would not have undertaken. Entrapment.

    Therefore, I am NOT signing on the signature line, but under my handwritten message which is in the access info box. [Gates locked. Irate customer and dogs in yard: unauthorized access is trespass and denied. Working analog meter on site. No gas or electric service changes sought nor agreed to: NO initial set up, NO SmartMeter, NO fraudulent, punitive, illegal charges for this property. ] That I signed and dated.

    On the designated signature line, I wrote “see above” directing reader to my actual signature.

  14. Reader comment: (these steps worked for him!)

    Steps for Opting out of SmartMeter and Refusing Charges

    When you call 1-866-743-0263, listen to the options until you get to an opportunity to talk to a live person.
    Then say…
    I am opting out and here’s the deal:
    I refuse (not, I don’t want) to be charged because
    1) the charges may be illegal
    2) Your advice letter on the charges (the PGE letter they sent awhile ago) has been posted on the CPUC website as ‘no action’, so you have no right to demand charges.
    3) And three, the charges for opting out are being challenged at the CPUC.

    If the person on the other end says ‘No accept charges then no opting out’, say goodbye, count to ten and redial (they have several operators).

    When they agree to your demands (opt out without charges), they will ask if you have a locked gate or a dog. Tell the truth and add that no one may come on your property without permission. And that means that they must make an appointment by talking directly to you.

    Insist that they make note of your objections and conditions (you should hear keys clicking). Finally, have them read back to you what they have written.

  15. One error in this post: The online opt-out form DOES ask you to confirm that you agree to the extra charges.

    From Terms and Conditions at the bottom of the online form:

    “Further, I am indicating that I want to opt-out of the SmartMeter™ program, am opting for the analog mechanical meter alternative, and am aware of the initial setup and ongoing monthly charges, which will be added to my energy statement.”

  16. Actually it does not say you agree to pay…it says aware… it states ” I agree that I am a named, authorized person on the customer account number entered above. Further, I am indicating that I want to opt-out of the SmartMeter™ program, am opting for the analog mechanical meter alternative, and am aware of the initial setup and ongoing monthly charges, which will be added to my energy statement.I agree that I am a named, authorized person on the customer account number entered above. Further, I am indicating that I want to opt-out of the SmartMeter™ program, am opting for the analog mechanical meter alternative, and am aware of the initial setup and ongoing monthly charges, which will be added to my energy statement.”

  17. “The advice letter was removed from the CPUC website on April 30.”

    Did anyone download the Advice Letter 3278-G/4006-E No Action status posting on the CPUC Energy Division website before it was removed today? If so, please repost here.

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