The ability of utilities to charge a fee to customers who refuse a smart meter was dealt a serious blow today in California. It appears that “opt out” fees for customers of Southern California Edison (SCE) have been placed on hold for 120 days pending a CPUC determination of whether the fees are in fact legal or not.
It is still unclear what effect- if any- this decision may have on customers of other monopoly utilities in CA like PG&E and SDG&E- or for that matter municipal utilities.
According to the Burbank Action website- a great site to follow for smart meter news affecting Southern California:
The CA Public Utilities Commission has temporarily suspended SCE’s opt out fees, effective June 4, for 120 days while they look into this matter. Consumers Power Alliance, meanwhile, is encouraging residents to opt-out of SCE smart meters today, and has issued an alert and advice to SCE customers. CPA is also encouraging SCE customers to file complaints with CPA’s hired law firm (read more below).
Action you can take?
Please share this CPA advisory below with other family and friends you know who are SCE customers. IMPORTANT: The advice and recommendations below apply ONLY to SCE Customers (not BWP, GWP or LADWP customers):
1. (June 4, 2012) Due to legal action by Consumers Power Alliance (CPA), the PUC has suspended SCE Opt-Out Fees effective 4 June 2012 for up to 120 days while staff reviews. Opt-Outs are proceeding on a District basis…and SCE is continuing to install smart meters like there is no tomorrow.
2. Opt Out Now
SCE customers throughout the state are receiving Opt-Out letters. They may come certified mail or “critical mail.” The Notices have varying default deadlines, depending on where you live. If you were on Delay Install, you MUST return the form by the deadline noted in the letter, or you will be smart-metered. We suggest that you make a copy of the signed form and return it immediately. In addition, you may call 800.810.2369 – now only between 8 AM and 5 PM. Note: Opt-Out Plans allow you to have the Smart Meter removed at any time for any or no reason, but it may take time to get it removed, and you may have to wait for an analog meter.
3. Complaints are Requested
Our attorney, Mr. Tobin, recommends that our chances of getting what we want will improve if we provide documented incidents and other complaints to the PUC. Our goals include (a) immediate restoration of meters for those who got smart-metered when on the Delay Install list, (b) reduced fees, (c) Opt-Out Applications on SCE website, (d) SCE should make their website more Opt-Out accessible and post up-to-date information, (e) improve notification procedures, (f) stop installers from forcing installations , (g) impose deadlines for completing restorations, (h) longer hours for calling to Opt-Out,while default installs are happening, and (i) more respectful customer service.
Please email your letters of complaint to Channing at firstname.lastname@example.org with the notation CPA Support – Letter of Complaint, so the law firm can get them in the right hands.
In addition, encourage your friends and family in SCE territory to contact Consumers Power Alliance today, and support their efforts, receive their e-mail updates and alerts, and donate to their Legal Fund. They can do this by visiting the CPA website for more details at: http://www.consumerspoweralliance.com
June 8th Update: Oh we’re playing this game again are we? CPUC and the utilities are again pretending that they are above the law- though the advice letter which is the basis for fee charging is suspended, the CPUC is insisting that the fees have not suspended- a strange kind of doublethink.
Addendum from Burbank Action: One of our readers reported that he contacted SCE and the CPUC and reps from both organizations told him the fees had not been suspended. Those who are receiving similar responses, or have questions about the fee suspension, or have complaints about the SCE smart meter opt out program and fees, should contact CPA at email@example.com. I’ve thus updated our post to include more detailed info (below) from CPA’s alert regarding Item #1:
“1. (Santa Barbara, CA – June 4, 2012) Per the attached Suspension Notice issued by the CPUC Energy Division, the SCE Advice Letter implementing its Smart Meter Opt-Out Plan, recently protested by CPA , has been suspended effective 4 June for up to 120 days for staff review. As long as this Advice Letter remains suspended, SCE has no authorization to implement the rates or other terms and conditions contained in the Advice Letter.
“We currently do not know how this will impact Opt-Out fees for SCE and the Gas Company or the Opt-Out practices by SCE protested by CPA. However, Opt-Outs are proceeding on a District basis…and SCE is continuing to install smart meters like there is no tomorrow.”
Other sources for Southern California smart meter information include:
Southern Californians for Wired Solutions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps this is a good time to lobby the CPUC, legislators, and governor for a permanent, state-wide free opt-out for all utilities, whether independently operated or municipal. VT has this, why not CA? The VT bill signed into law was S214. To learn more go to http://wakeupoptout.org/2012/05/vermont-legislature-eliminates-smart-meter-opt-out-fee/. The VT legislature sidestepped their PUC and instituted this law. We need that kind of action, the CPUC is far too unconcerned and does little but game-playing. They’ve had the chance to do the right things for 6 years. We can’t keep playing their game. The moratorium on fees for SCE is related to SoCA Gas filing recently for the same fees, which would be double for SCE customers, then, who opt-out of gas and electric smart meters. So CPA protested this and now, with no official notice yet, we are hearing second hand about the fee suspension. Time to lobby the legislature. No citizen of CA anywhere should have to pay a fee not to be irradiated, to maintain privacy, security, and our freedoms. Get on the phone, call and write your state legislators. Some think we need to impress on them that those who help us may be voted for in Nov. I happen to agree. That is how I voted on Tues. Out with the incumbents who don’t give a damn.
The inventiveness of Californias taxing agencies never stops amazing me. To opt-out of having a smartmeter will cost $85.00 plus $10.00 per month. Taxes should be for a service received not to avoid receiving an unwanted service.
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I am beguiled by the judge’s comments at the very beginning of the video of the second phase of proceedings about opting out of smart meters.
Her comments are very REVEALING.
They reveal the probable intention of the commissioners to create an “official record” that will be different in some key aspects from what actually was said; different from what would appear on an unedited video of the proceedings.
I am NOT surprised.
The commissioners, two of whom are attorneys, would be crazed indeed to not create a carefully EDITED official transcript record for future scrutinizers to find when the dark deeds of the commissioners, should they be allowed to progress, come to flower. If not stopped , the likely progression of events will be the manifestation of gradually incrementing massive morbidity and the transformation of the private utility cartel customer population into one composed of a high percentage of chronically ill.
When this morbidity reaches a critical mass, the public will seek and find the source to be the wifi smart meter device/grid foisted on them as safe and continually deemed safe probably up to the point of critical mass of harm manifesting in statistical data that cannot be ignored. Then truthful answers will be sought. How Could This Happen? will be the big query of that future day.
That could be as soon as 15 years and the commissioners will be still alive and living high, no doubt. They will not want to have left in their wake an accurate official record of their willful disregard of the evidence of harm. Willful disregard of the relentless pleading of people and health advocates and EMF experts; willfull disregard of the AAEM letter of January 2012 which the commissioners IGNORED. Did they ignore it because to respond in any way would create a document that would be included in the official record?
Did they calculate that if the AAEM were simply, rudely ignored, the official record will show no indication of the action taken on behalf of the people of California by the Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine when they wrote to urgently apprise the commissioners that the meters are too dangerous and must not be deployed?
I strongly suspect that this is so. And, most likely jsut the tip of the iceberg of documentation tidbits that are likely to be deep-sixed before the quintet move on to higher ponerological office and greater rewards.
How can Edison charge for NOT doing a service?
Edison is making a new charge for having to keep a meter reader running around the neighborhood if you keep an old meter, and charging more for having the new meters installed! The meter reader really is not needed, just send in a photo by email to Edison once a month and save on the meter reader cost. These nearly continuously broadcasting meters are a plague on the populace.
We have to keep fighting the good fight. This matters now and will matter even after we leave this earth. This is about the freedom of our spirits and the health and freedom of future generations on this planet.
I opted out (by phone) but have recieved a letter that was certified mail asking me to Partipate In The Smart Meter Program or Choose to opt out and accept a $75 fee and $10 monthly charge.
It must be returned by July 9
Do I check opt-out and cross out the fee agreement and send it back (after photocopying it) because if I just sign it I agreed to the fees. Is that corrrect?
I have just recently been informed about the health dangers of these new “smart” meters. I recently purchased a home, and unbeknown to me, at some point in the last two years, a smart meter was installed. I never received an op out letter, nor did any SoCalEdison employee inform me of this exchange taking place. Only after i did some research, and inspected my electrical panel did i notice that low and behold, i am an unwilling owner of a smart meter.
I called SoCalEdison today at approximately 1:40pm at 800.810.2369. I spoke with a representative named Heather, employee number 1527. I requested to be placed on the “opt-out” list. She said this could be done once i agreed to pay some “fees.” She did not disclose the amount of the fees. I informed her of the PUC’s halting of all “opt-out” fines for 120 days starting June 4th, 2012. She did not care, and said that they were still going to charge fees as they saw fit. I told her that i did not want the meter installed in the first place, and i would certainly not pay to have something removed that i did not agree too to them doing to begin with. She stated that “she could not place me on the opt-out list unless i agreed to the fees.” I absolutely did not agree to pay and such fees, and this ended our conversation.
This is an outrage. These new meters are a total health risk, and the meter is on the other side of my bedroom wall. It is unacceptable that SCE can harm their customers in this manner, and then demand payment to amend the problem. This is flat out extortion. I am not sure what exactly to do next. Every day, i fear for my health and the health of my family. I need help in resolving this matter as soon as possible. Who can i contact about this?
I wonder if there are any mafia websites out there that would know the answer to your question.
“Pay up or you will get your ass kicked” is the outcome. I personally would pay because this type of ass kicking doesn’t go away. Understand that these meters do kill.
Learn as much as you can and spread the word as this is a numbers game. Tell your neighbors, relatives, and anyone that will listen. Bad news spreads like fire.
Even though the CPUC has placed a hold of up to 120 days of all opt-out related fees, SCE is placing the charges on your monthly electric bill…who is governing who in this case?
Southern California Edison just told their field employees that one third of them will be laid off by the end of the year because the smart meter will be doing their jobs.
Amazing I was wondering if I was the only one concerened about the employment impact, Kinda like when Mc Donalds implemented the ROBO Soda machine. Maybe they can figure out a way to out source out utlilities to another country while they are at it….I know I will get flamed for somthing I said, which is really nothing!….And for that I leave my automated reply to your hate comments…..” Nobody wants you lips> shut your stink hole”.
We had a meter installed early August. We have had the jump not just in the the amount we owe but 51% more KwHs. I could see a 10 % jump based on the 1% a year they profess is the degridation of Analog meters (we had had ours replaced previously because of a complaint) but not 51%. My bill doubled jumping from ~$200 a month in July to ~$400 a month (~1000 to ~1500 KwH) . We have also had arching in the sockets as described by many compaintants which is what spurred investigation into smart meters in the first place. We soon found out about fires, blown electrical equipment, illness, and more. They are a safety issue all the way around.
My bill for August is currently on a 21 day hold for investigation but I am not holding my breath. So I called to Opt out and was told of the fees but was NOT informed of this action. I’ll have the old meter removed and send a seperate check for the fees citing the action and the lack of disclosure by SCE.
Today, March 12, 2014 Edison Employee Jose came to install a new Smart Meter that sends a multiplex code over the electrical lines to read my meter at a central location. I told him and we verified I do have a smart meter that uses a local probe to read the meter as an Edison vehicle drives by. I told him I do not want my meter changed out to the newer model. He gave me an 800 number to call to opt out, but I have not called. God only knows what else is in the meter to monitor our lives, NSA, IRS, CIA devices? No way. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
Jose told me that Edison has also eliminated 5,000 employee positions with the Smart Meter program savings millions of dollars to the Company, but not one cent to reduce my electricity costs.
I have now paid the opt out fee at SCE for three years. I haven’t read anything about SCE agreeing with the CPUC ruling that after 3 years the fees should stop. Can you tell me how to handle this situation? I have called them but they have not given me a definitive answer that, yes, the $10 monthly fee will stop. Do you know anything about the utilities stopping the fee after you’ve paid for 3 years? I haven’t read anything about this issue and whether the utilities are complying or not.
The decision capping opt out fees at 3 years applies to all investor owned utilities, including SCE. If you have paid the fee for three years, then they should now discontinue it. If they refuse, file a formal complaint: https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/?key=39949189 -ssm!
I received a letter dated 7/16/2015 that they will stop charging me the fee after the 3rd year and that beg 2016 they will do bi-monthly physical checks and interim estimated billing.
Letter received dated 7-16-15 that monthly opt-out fee will end after a 3 year period. AND: “Bi-Monthly Meter Reads Planned to Start – ‘Beginning in 2016, we will start providing your electricity bills based on bi-monthly physical meter reads, and using estimated electrical usage for the months without an actual meter read. The estimated electrical usage will be based on the prior month’s daily average usage. We will send you another communication prior to starting this new billing process so you’ll know exactly when it begins. . . . If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-655-4555.’ ”
(I suppose I can set up a trail camera programmed to take a photo of the meter once a day to see if they are close in their estimation of electrical usage)
Even with the new Bi-Monthly Meter Reads, I still love my old meter. Even paying $10 a month is going to be a great deal after the new TOU rates start. OPT out people don’t pay the TOU rates.
Read >> https://goo.gl/3oR9DD