Not a 'smart' move

It's wrong that it took this much time for PG&E to come up with an opt-out plan, especially one this expensive.

Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

When the SmartMeter program was announced approximately a year ago, our strongest concern was that the program was mandatory for California PG&E customers. While we are reassured that the company has finally proposed an option for residents who wish to opt out of the program - whether out of health fears or any other reason - the significant cost of that option seems unjustifiably steep.

The SmartMeter program was created to help residents better understand their energy and gas consumption by making usage information available in 15-minute increments for commercial usage and in hourly increments for residential usage, with data from the meters being wirelessly transmitted to the company's website rather than being read manually.

Rather than moving ahead with the program and imposing it on all customers, PG&E should have anticipated resident resistance and designed the program in such a way to accommodate people who wanted to opt out. Customers should not be saddled with a severe financial burden because a company did not do enough research beforehand.

The current proposal would give two choices to residents who want to opt out: a $135 up-front fee followed by a $20 monthly charge or a $270 up-front fee followed by a $14 monthly charge, with low-income customers paying less. It's only fair for residents who choose to opt out of the program to pay more for the privilege - both to pay for the program and to compensate the utility for the costs of manually reading their meters - but the steep cost of both these options is unpalatable.

While we realize that the $2.2 billion program must recoup revenue lost on people without the SmartMeters, people should not be discouraged from opting out of a program they had no choice about joining in the first place with significant financial penalties.

The SmartMeter program was piloted in 2006, and installation began in Berkeley last January. That it took all this time to come up with an opt-out plan is inexcusable.






Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Editorials
Image 2011 ASUC Elections Endorsements: Empty Seats
The stage was conspicuously less crowded at this year's ASUC Election ...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space