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Judge Proposes Smart Meter Opt-Out Option for Edison Customers

The plan, which will go before the California Public Utilities Commission, would allow residents to keep or reinstall their analog meters

A judge has proposed an option for residents served by Southern California Edison who want to opt out of the SmartConnect program after pushback against the widespread installation of smart meters by electricity providers.

The program would be similar to the plan adopted by Pacific Gas & Electric and would allow residents to either keep or reinstall their analog meters in lieu of the new wireless smart meters.

The proposal will go before the California Public Utilities Commission in the coming months. The CPUC could adopt all or part of the decision written by Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa or prepare its own decision on an opt-out program.

Scroll below to read the decision.

Edison started installing the SmartConnect meters in Santa Barbara County in March, and reluctant residents can currently put their names on a “delay list” to postpone installation. If an opt-out program is adopted, Edison customers on the “delay list” would have to schedule an installation or sign up for the opt-out program.

The judge’s decision orders Edison to establish opt-out procedures for residential customers and inform customers of that option. Residents can keep their current meter or, if a SmartConnect meter has already been installed, have Edison put back the kind of meter they previously had.

Yip-Kikugawa proposes the same fees and monthly charges that PG&E uses for its opt-out program: a $75 one-time fee and $10 monthly charge for non-CARE customers, and a $10 fee and $5 monthly charge for CARE customers.

The charge is justified since SCE would incur additional costs from purchasing, maintaining and reading two types of meters, according to the decision. Metering standards are moving toward “today’s technology” of smart meters and “as a result, this decision further finds that customers electing the opt-out option shall be responsible for costs associated with providing the option.”

It’s free to put an SEC electric account on the delay list or have the smart meter installed. Energy companies say that while there may be a 1.6 percent customer rate change with the meters, customers can actually save money once they can monitor their daily usage.

Landlords and property owners do not have control over the installation; only the person responsible for paying the SCE account bill can put their homes on the delay list, according to an SCE representative.

Residents who operate life support medical equipment in their home should call 800.973.2356, since electric service will be interrupted for about one minute during installation of the smart meter.

For installation questions, call Corix Utilities at 877.407.2317. To postpone installation, call SCE’s main numbers at 800.810.2369 for English and 800.477.4455 for Spanish.

Community groups that oppose smart meter installation applauded the ruling, including the Consumers Power Alliance and the Santa Barbara Tea Party.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Proposed smart meter opt-out program for Edison

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