PG&E and other investor owned utilities (IOU’s) in California have been playing a cat and mouse game of threatening to disconnect people for refusing to pay coercive opt out fees, and then backing off at the last moment- in many cases repeatedly. As far as we are aware, none of the thousands of people refusing to pay “opt out” fees to SCE, PG&E, or SDG&E have been disconnected (apart from some customers of renegade municipals and “cooperatives” including yours truly). The California IOU’s undoubtedly face a serious, renewed backlash if they attempt to initiate disconnects for those declining to pay “opt out” fees– and they know it.
Based on communications received from people around the state, it is evident that utilities are threatening and coercing people on a systemic level. They are deceiving people about the (ready) availability of analog meters, and delaying smart meter removals for weeks, sometimes substituting smart meters that appear to be analogs- so called “trojan horse meters” while still charging people a fee. These practices are not only eroding (what shreds remain of) the utility’s credibility, they are creating stress for some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. Thanks to Brian Narelle for the above illustration and the EMF Safety Network for the following originally posted March 10:
Santa Cruz, CA- Utility giant PG&E is threatening to turn off the power to Lois Robin, an 84 year old woman from Santa Cruz because she’s refusing to pay “opt-out” fees for keeping an analog meter.
PG&E sent Lois a 15 day shut off notice in February, stating she owed $115. On Friday she received a message they will cut off her power on Tuesday if she doesn’t pay. So far her power remains on.
Lois writes, “I have always paid all my bills, except the opt-out fees. I insisted on keeping my old meter. They did not give me a new one. I have been on record all along as refusing a smart meter. I am 84 years old, with rapidly deteriorating vision. I would not want them to disconnect me as I get along poorly without light. Yet, I would rather they turned me off than pay their extractive fees.”
PG&E claims they have legal authority granted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to collect the fees. Emails between PG&E and the CPUC recently made public expose collusion, cover-up, multiple exparte violations and the broken regulatory process by which smart meter opt-out fees were concocted. Smart meter opt-out fees were fabricated between the CPUC and PG&E long before the evidentiary hearings on costs began….
…In 2011, The County of Santa Cruz passed an ordinance banning smart meters, but PG&E deployed smart meters anyway. Lois Robin is one of many, who refuse to be coerced into paying the fees. Lois says, “This has been very stressful. PG&E doesn’t listen to you. Talking to PG&E is like talking to robots.”
Even though the PUC recently ruled that PGE could only collect their extortion (opt out) fees for 3 years from the date of opt out, PGE is still charging the fee on my bill. They refuse to remove it. First PGE customer service claims they did not know anything about December PUC ruling. Customer Service transferred me to the Smart Meter dept who claims that even if they overcharge me they don’t have to refund it because all the costs will be spread out over all customers. Last time I called Customer Service claims that even though I returned the cancer meter in Oct 2011, the opt out did not become available until Feb 2012, so they could still charge me. My current bill still has the opt out fee on it. I have not paid the opt out fee since the December PUC ruling.
I guess I will see if they turn my power off again like in December 2011.
I have not heard about that 3 year limit of charging opt out fees.
I never had a radio meter installed, I still have my original electromechanical meter that was installed 30 years ago.
Since this was a one time fee, is it going to be refunded to me now ? I doubt it.
But are you confused ?, you wrote that you still have the opt out fee on your current bill, are they charging you the $75 opt out fee on every months bill ?
I doubt it.
Perhaps you are seeing a $10 per month meter reading fee and for some reason think that is an opt out fee.
My monthly PGE bill clearly labels the monthly charge “Smartmeter Opt-Out Monthly Fee.”
Per page 72 of the unanimously adopted PUC Decision “21. The collection of the monthly charge from opt-out customers should be limited to three years from the date they choose to opt-out.”
Not confused at all here. But I sincerely doubt you are a PGE customer. Nice try…
any way to donate funds to ms. louis and this cause?
we support you.
thank you S.S.M.
Thanks so much for your support. Lois still has her power on as of Friday March 13th, and is doing better with everyone’s support. As a grassroots organization, Stop Smart Meters! relies on donations from the public to fund our activities and programs. We would be very grateful for your support of our work, and we also have an emergency fund you can contribute to, to look after victims of utility company abuses. We helped buy solar panels for this Las Vegas woman after her power was cut by NV Energy for smart meter refusal:
To donate to the cause, see: https://stopsmartmeters.org/donate Thanks!
thank you for the reply — yes, we’ll be sending a donation/emergency donation
to ms. louis and the cause. thank you S.S.M. and THANK YOU for your
compassionate action for her and the ones before and coming. Good karma!!