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Has Mill Valley Accepted SmartMeters?

Pacific Gas & Electric has reported that "substantially less than 1 percent of PG&E's residential customers" has declined the controversial devices. Are you part of that 1 percent or are you convinced that SmartMeters are OK?

Little more than a year ago, Marin was ensconced in a about PG&E's statewide installation of so-called SmartMeters, a wireless and digital upgrade of its device that monitor customers use of electricity and gas. 

The Marin County Board of Supervisors on SmartMeters in January 2011. A few weeks later, the Mill Valley City Council endorsed a  for PG&E to provide an , and .

A mere 18 months since for preventing SmartMeter installations, citing myriad concerns about accuracy, security, privacy and health effects, PG&E said this week that few of its customers have opted out. The company said that installation is 79 percent complete in Marin County and that only a few thousand people - mostly in Fairfax and unincorporated Marin - have opted out thus far.

In a press release, the energy conglomerate said it had "achieved a major customer milestone" by upgrading 9 million customers to SmartMeters. Ninety-three percent of projected installations are complete, according to the statement. That includes Mill Valley, where the company had completed nearly all of its installations by March 2011.

In a Marin Independent Journal story article, the utility was quoted as reporting to the California Public Utilities Commission that "substantially less than 1 percent of PG&E's residential customers" have declined the technology. But SmartMeters critics have noted that the lion's share of installations occurred before the opt-out program was created. They also have pointed to the who want to keep their old analog meter a one-time fee of $75 and then $10 a month after that.

PG&E this week responded to a legal filing by the Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax Town Council asking the commission to temporarily halt further installation of the meters in their communities until the commission rules on whether entire communities can opt out en masse and whether the amount that customers are charged to opt out is fair.

All this got us thinking: Has the SmartMeter debate in Mill Valley ended, as PG&E claims? Have you moved on? Is the fee too high for you to opt-out?

Rico May 17, 2012 at 03:34 PM
There is a big difference between the people who never opted in and the people who opted out. In my area, 36 percent of the residents never opted in, and never even received a SmartMeter, but they are not counted. I never called PG&E to be put on a delay list, so I was not counted. All I did was put a sign on my electric meter saying "DO NOT INSTALL SMARTMETER". When Wellington came through with their deployment contract, they saw the sign and left. I gather that Wellington entered on their computer that I was a refuser, and forwarded that info to PG&E, but I never called them. So, the answer to the question depends on which area of Mill Valley that the question is asked. In my area, about 64 percent of the residents have accepted the new automated radio meters. To tell truth, most of those people that accepted the new meters don't know anything about them, they don't even know that they have one. Their electric bills are always high and they are loaded with money anyway, so they don't care one way or another. This front page article in the IJ about how Marin has widely accepted the SmartMeter program is hogwash. There is strong opposition and that is being downplayed by the media, PG&E and conservative bloggers. The fact is, if there was so few customers opposed, then why did PG&E cave into the opposition and admit that the SmartMeters and their radio "smart grid" are not necessary at all to upgrade the electrical power grid ? We won the battle !
Betsy Bikle May 17, 2012 at 05:50 PM
We are extremely irritated at PG&E for the $75 charge plus $10 a month for the analog. Presumably the change to smart meters will save them money in not having to have meter readers on the ground. Why don't they give a bonus to people who opt in and keep the cost the same as before for analog users. Also PG&E should be doing a big educational campaign for people not sure whether they want to switch and let us know - and see- how we can access the information about at-the-time electrical usage and cost comparisons. My husband is an MD and PhD in biochemistry, does medical research and extensively reads medical journals. He has not seen articles which convince him of danger from the radiation. Personally I am still uncertain. I am glad that Marin BOS and Mill Valley, Fairfax and Assemblyman Huffman have taken their stands. I hope that research will continue regarding cumulative effect of an entire population's having smart meters including all the other devices putting electromagnetic waves in the air - is there em pollution getting to an invisible but toxic level. A second area of research would be at an individual house - what if a smart meter is installed on just the other side of a wall from the bed in a bedroom. Thank you for running this article. I hope many people will comment!
Lippy May 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Agreed, Ricardo. I called PG & E and was put on the delay list. I have kept my analog meter (just outside of Mill Valley limits). So someone explain to me WHY I have to pay PG&E extortion money of $75 to "replace my SmartMeter with an analog one" when my analog meter was NEVER changed in the first place? Nice criminal act, PG& E. Battle won, WAR lost. You'll see.
Samuel Island May 17, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Check out the video posted on Novato Patch's discussion: "I opted out but found out my neighbor’s Smart Meter (PG&E) was pulsing very high microwave radiation (RFR) bursts about every 30 – 60 seconds – just 10 feet from the walls of my home… I plan on talking to them about it. Here's some video footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br_cBS6L1a0&feature=youtu.be "
Lippy May 17, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Whoaaaah! I was unprepared for that. What is "considered safe" for the amount of EM transmissions?
Rico May 18, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Samuel, RFR bursts ? What are you talking about? SmartMeters do not use microwave for communications, but they do use a radio frequency (900MHz band) to send data on the radio network that PG&E has renamed to be called a "smart grid". This is to mislead the customers into thinking that the smart radio grid is the electrical power grid. It's not. In all my years of working with radio electronics I have never heard of a radio network referred to as a "grid", until now.
Samuel Island May 18, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I'm not sure. I'd advise commenting on the Novato Patch article on this same issue. I just cut/pasted the comment above which had the link to the youtube video with those "bursts". There looks to be some more links in the comments as well for further education. Here's the link: http://novato.patch.com/articles/are-you-still-worried-about-smarmeters?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001#comment_3353132

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