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Edison Customers Can Now Opt-Out of Smart Meters

Starting May 9, Edison customers will have a choice between using the new smart meters or the old analog models. Altadena homes have mostly been switched to smart meters already.

A plan to let Southern California Edison customers who don't want new wireless smart meters at their homes -- preferring the older analog models -- was given final approval by the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday.

Edison has mostly completed switching Altadena homes over to the new smart meter model, according to David Song, an Edison spokesman.

The opt-out plan was requested by the San Diego-based Utility Consumers Action Network. Tentative approval of the arrangement was given last month by an administrative law judge.

Opponents of smart meters have repeatedly expressed concerns over perceived health risks and privacy issues.

A 2011 state report compiled by the California Council on Science and Technology says there are no known health risks from radiation emitted by the meters but also says that non-radiation health risks need further investigation.

The CPUC board's decision gives customers with concerns a way to opt out.

"As we move toward a more advanced electricity grid, smart meters will offer customers real benefits," commission President Michael Peevey said. "However, if a customer does not want to have a smart meter, our decision today gives them that option."

Erwin Furukawa, senior vice president of customer service at Edison, said the company supports the commission's decision allowing customers to opt out of the program.

"Customer choice is something that is important to us, and we're glad that the CPUC was able to come to a timely decision to accommodate all our customers," he said.

Starting May 9, Edison customers can opt out by calling (800) 810-2369. Customers already on a delay list can call the number to opt out and keep their current meters. Customers who already have a smart meter can have it exchanged for another model that was previously in place, according to the company.

Edison customers who choose the analog model meter will have to pay $75 up front and an extra $10 monthly. Income-qualified customers would be charged $10 initially and $5 more per month.

Smart meters are digital, two-way communicating devices designed to better manage the regional power grid, keeping better track of customers' power usage. Customers with the smart meters can check their daily energy usage online, receive usage text or email alerts and track their usage to ensure they remain within a set budget, according to Edison.

The CPUC also approved 19 measurements for determining the effectiveness of smart grid technology being rolled out by the utilities, including the number of smart meter malfunctions during power outages, increases in the number of consumer complaints over accuracy of the new devices and the number of smart meters replaced annually before the end of their expected useful life.

FairClaire April 23, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Too bad when they (Corix subcontracted by Edison) changed my meter it fried the motherboard of my Kitchenaid oven/microwave combo. $975 to repair it. Now I have a $3200 paper weight in my kitchen. My claims have been denied, haven't had the time to take them to small claims court. Not thrilled about the digital meter but don't want them touching my house again!
R. Marti May 30, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I was not consulted prior to them installing the smart meter. I was not given a choice, but now you say they will charge me $75. to change back to analog plus $10. a month extra? That's a heck of a deal!

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