December 20, 2011 — Pacific Gas and Electric customers will be allowed to opt out of the utility's smart meter rollout and keep their old, mechanical meters.
Customers have voiced a variety of complaints about smart meters ranging from cost and billing accuracy to privacy and public health concerns. In response, PG&E will introduce this opt-out concept to the California Public Utilities Commission, which could vote on it early next year.
PG&E is on track to deliver and install 10 million smart meters in its Northern California service territory by mid-2012.
In November, CPUC regulators proposed an opt-out plan that would charge customers who did not want a smart meter an initial $90 fee and an ongoing monthly charge of $15. The initial fee would be waived for low-income customers, who would pay a monthly charge of $5.