PG&E Smart Meter Plan Turns Wireless Off

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) continues to suffer smart meter woes among concerns from those who worry about privacy issues and/or health concerns from the built-in wireless technology of these meters, even despite organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund expressing support for the smart grid tech. Now, at the request of the California Pubic Utilities Commission, the utility looks to have developed what may be a solution for at least the so called health concerns some have.

PG&E today proposed a plan to the CPUC which would give customers with smart meters the option of having the internal wireless radio function turned off. Said proposal, in keeping with the CPUC’s direction, would not increase the cost for those customers who choose instead to keep a fully functioning smart meter. Those that do want the radio shut off, however, would pay what are said to be “reasonable upfront and recurring fees to cover the costs of turning off the radio, manually reading the meters every month, modifying IT systems and providing information to customers on the program through call centers and other channels.”

smart meter, PG&E

image via PG&E

These fees would also cover what the utility says are any problems the existing, fully functional smart meter network might have “to compensate for any degradation that turning off the radio causes.” An option to move the meter to a different part of the home is another part of this plan, subject to its own set of costs, of course.

It is widely believed that smart meter wireless signals are safer than many household products, including cell phones and microwave ovens, but not everyone buys into that line of thinking, despite studies which might prove otherwise. This plan can be seen as a way for PG&E to address concerns of a vocal minority and meeting regulatory requests while at the same time continuing to tie the rest of its interested customer base into smart grid technologies.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.

    • Anonymous

      SO CUSTOMERS ARE SUPPOSED TO PAY FOR PG MISMANAGEMENT ?!!nn1.PG put in Wireless meters that have accuracy problems (in their favor), documented fire problems, security and hacking problems, electronics and motion detector interference problems and health problems.nn2. PG claimed advantages to this Wireless meter program, but NONE of those advantages are actually occurring for PG customers or others in any other country or state where similar meters were installed.nn3. PG started installing 20 million of these meters with customers paying the $2.2 Billion price tag on our monthly bills with NO PILOT PROGRAM in advance to see what the problems would be and if anything even works.nn4. And WE, THE CUSTOMERS, are caught holding the bill for PG’s derelict management, planning and technical fiascos that, as in Hinkley, look like they are also hurting us.nn And WE, THE CUSTOMERS, now have to pay more $$$ up front AND monthly to minimize the continued damage from these meters ?!!nn5. And finally: if the wireless portion of the Wireless meter is disconnected at our home to reduce non-ionizing radiation from our immediate home environment, then PG is going to add more radiation transmitters in our general community, where we also spend time, to make up for the reduction at any homes that opt-out.nn6. This is finally enough for me to call on the State Government to take back the license for PG to operate in California.nnNo matter how derelict our government is and will be in operating utility delivery, it will be better than PG. The utility workers are excellent and available.nnPG CORPORATE MUST GO.n

    • Anonymous

      Obviously, the article above is quite industry friendly. The widely quoted study they refer to is incorrect and paid for by PG&E. It is a report, as such, paid for, not a study. No validity. http://www.smartmeterdangers.org

    • Does anyone know what he rough price impact will be to turn off the wireless for those smart meters?

    • NoToSmartMeters

      The option of removing or disconnecting the wireless antennas will not work. I know this to be true.nnIn June, 2009, although I had no idea that a “smart” meter emitted radiation, I began feeling ill. After many months and much discomfort, I began researching my symptoms. I learned that the “smart” meter on my home might be making me sick.nnOn March 4, 2010, At my insistence and with a doctors note, Con Edison replaced that “smart” meter with another “smart” meter, which they said had no antenna for remote reading. This, they told me was the kind used in New York City because in cities the meters are so close to each other that they would malfunction and read each other, if they had the antenna for remote reading.nnFor the next week I became so sick I thought I was going to die, especially scary were the heart palpitations, ear buzzing and nightmares.nnOn March 12, 2010, Finally, Con Edison removed the second “smart” meter and replaced it with an analog meter. Within hours the worst of the symptoms began to subside. No more nightmares at all and I have not had one since. My terrible ear buzzing began to subside and the heart palpitations completely stopped, while I was at home.nnNow, along with many others across the U.S. , who have been injured by the radiation from “smart” meters, I suffer from radio wave sickness. I am fine as long as I am not exposed to radio wave radiation from all wireless equipment and some electric appliances. I had none of this before being injured by the radiation from both “smart” meters. nnThe proposal from PG&E will not work. “Smart” meters are a dangerous mistake. They emit radio frequency radiation throughout homes and neighborhoods, even if they do not have remote antennas. nnIn response to this letter that I sent to a scientist he said “Yes, this is from the conducted emissions, most likely from the switch-mode power supply connected directly to your wiring.”n

    • Anonymous

      This is ridiculous! We were never asked if we wanted them installed, so why then would pay to have them removed….because PG&E made another mistake that we are responsible for.

    • Anonymous

      contact the CPUC and voice your concern at: public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov