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Posted on March 16, 2011

PG&E Evaluating SmartMeter™ Customer Options, Will Meet CPUC Deadline

For several months, PG&E has been examining possible alternatives for customers who have health concerns about wireless SmartMeter™ devices. The company is committed to meeting a March 24 deadline from the California Public Utilities Commission to file an opt-out proposal that discusses these alternatives.

PG&E understands that some customers have concerns related to the radio frequency from SmartMeters™.  Although the great weight of scientific evidence demonstrates that the RF from SmartMeters™ is safe, PG&E takes customers’ concerns seriously.

The challenge for PG&E is how to address customers’ concerns while ensuring that they gain the benefits that SmartMeter™ and the Smart Grid offer.

As CPUC President Michael Peevey said when he announced the March 24 deadline, the options must come “at a reasonable cost, to be paid by the customers who choose to opt out.”

Peevey also said, “given the continued strong interest in this issue in parts of Northern California, I have spoken directly with PG&E’s president and asked him to bring to this Commission a proposal or a series of proposals that will allow customers with an aversion to wireless devices the option of being metered without the use of wireless technology.

It’s important to note that any options in the proposal won’t become available until after the CPUC has approved PG&E’s plan.

PG&E’s SmartMeter™ program is part of a statewide effort approved by the CPUC to upgrade the state’s energy infrastructure with automated metering technology for all Californians. A vital technology for California’s energy future, SmartMeter™ devices are the gateway to increased energy efficiency and better integrated renewable energy sources. They also will provide support for a whole new generation of cool appliances and plug-in electric vehicles that will benefit customers.

SmartMeter™ technology gives customers greater insight and control over their energy usage and bills, by allowing them to see exactly how much energy they use each day or hour.  It also enables customers to take advantage of future products and services, like managing energy usage through smarter appliances.

Since 2006, PG&E has installed more than 7 million gas and electric meters with SmartMeter™ technology. In recent months, PG&E has hosted dozens of answer centers and open houses to provide information and to answer customer questions about SmartMeters™.

Worldwide, more than 90 million smart meters (or advanced metering devices) are already in use every day. For example, Italy has advanced electric meters in 40 million of its homes and businesses, and these meters are helping customers better understand their energy consumption and reduce their energy bills.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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