Smart Meters: Opt-Outs, Updates 2

UPDATE: 1/24/2012
4PM – Proposal taken off city council agenda.
6:15 PM – City Manager Scott Ochoa said the city will wait for a CPUC decision before taking up this item.

The Glendale City Council will tonight consider a proposal by Glendale Water and Power setting smart-meter opt-out fees.

For electric meters, GWP is proposing a one-time fee of $62 dollars to install a radio-off smart meter, and a billing cycle (bi-monthly) charge of $56. For water meters, the proposal is a one-time fee of $55 to turn the radio off, and a recurring $34 billing cycle charge. The fine print, for those who want to opt out of both, or those who currently have an analog meter, is contained in the report. In Glendale, GWP is asking for a decision now, although the CPUC has not come to a final decision.

Meanwhile, the fight against smart meter installations goes on in other parts of the state and around the country. In neighboring Burbank, the Leader carried this update saying city council postponed an opt-out rate decision pending the CPUC’s ruling in February. That ruling is likely to recommend analog meters for customers opting out of the program.

Santa Cruz County’s public health officer just released a smart meter health impact report commissioned by county supervisors. Excerpts (from EMF Safety Network’s summary: “exposure is additive and consumers may have already increased their exposures to radiofrequency radiation in the home through the voluntary use of wireless devices…It would be impossible to know how close a consumer might be to their limit…There are no current, relevant public safety standards for pulsed RF involving chronic exposure of the public…[and] there is no scientific data to determine if there is a safe RF exposure level regarding its non-thermal effects.”

The ACLU is participating in hearings over Vermont state senate bill S214, which would prohibit installation of smart meters without customers’ written consent and allow no-cost removal of smart meters. The Vermont ACLU’s position on smart meter installations includes these points:

• Utility customers should decide for themselves whether they wish to have a smart meter installed at their home. Consent must be renewed every two years but can be revoked by the customer at any time.

• A utility should not charge extra fees if a customer decides not to opt in and have a smart meter installed at his/her home. The savings the customer forgoes because of his/her decision is already a penalty for non-participation. Additionally, extra fees could, because of the classes of people who might decline to opt in, lead to unintentional, and yet still illegal, discrimination.

Nationally, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has issued a statement against wireless smart meters in a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission.

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