We received the following e-mail yesterday from a resident on California’s Central Coast. This is Chapter 1 out of the utility playbook- sound totally reasonable in media interviews, and then turn around and lie to, intimidate, and threaten individual ratepayers in private discussions. This kind of abuse is not an aberration- it is corporate strategy straight from the top. Doubt that? A CPUC investigation announced last Wednesday found that Ex-Director of PG&E’s Smart Meter Program William Devereaux was acting with full knowledge and support of PG&E’s top tier executives when he pretended to be an anti-smart meter activist to sneak into our online discussions. If we can’t trust them not to spy on us and read our private e-mails, how can we trust them with intimate details of our private lives that they now have access to if you have a smart meter?
A smart meter was installed at our home without our authorization. Before this, we asked PG&E if we could opt out but were told we couldn’t do this. After the smart meter was installed, we called PG&E Customer Service to opt out and were again told it wasn’t an option. When a PG&E subcontractor showed up recently to reinstall the smart meter, stating that it wasn’t being read at the central office, we said we wanted to opt out and were told we couldn’t do this. Then when we called just last week to complain about the flashing lights on the meter and asked again about opting out, we were told it wasn’t an option FOR THE FOURTH TIME. Today, much to our surprise and quite by accident, we heard on the local news that this was the last day to opt out and we called the phone number listed to do this with their automated system. But why did PGE fail to tell us the truth four times about our right to opt-out of the smart meter? Some resourceful class action attorney in SF or LA should file a class action suit on the opt out fees so it will be litigated state-wide rather than county by county.