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?