Don't Want a Smart Meter? The Public Utilities Commission Wants to Hear From You

Smart meter | Photo: Miheco/Flickr/Creative Commons License

If you're a customers of one of California's three largest privately owned utilities and you'd like to avoid having a smart meter installed on your property, you have a few chances to let the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) how you feel. The CPUC has set up five public participation hearings this week and next in cities across the state to collect your thoughts on policies and prices for opting out of smart-meter programs.

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The smart meters, being installed in hundreds of thousands of locations with help from federal stimulus money, have come under criticism for a range of alleged faults ranging from shoddy installation and subsequent risk of fire to benefiting the utilities' bottom line at the expense of American jobs, with some folks concerned about more tenuous health effects as well.

At the moment, opting out of smart meter programs in California costs a $75 one-time fee and an ongoing charge of $10 each month. A low-income rate of $10 one-time fee and $5 monthly is available to qualifying ratepayers.

The meetings, which are scheduled to run for two hours, will feature only public comment -- no presentations from utility company representatives will be allowed.

The locations and dates:

BAKERSFIELD
December 13, 2012, 6 p.m.
Bakersfield City Hall Council Chambers
1501 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301

SANTA BARBARA
December 14, 2012, 3 p.m.
County Administration Building Board Hearing Room, 4th Floor
105 East Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

LOS ANGELES
December 17, 2012, 6 p.m.
Junipero Serra State Office Building
Carmel Room - Auditorium, 1st Floor
320 West 4th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013

SAN CLEMENTE
December 18, 2012, 6 p.m.
San Clemente Community Center - Ole Hanson Fireside Room
100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente, CA 92672

SANTA ROSA
December 20, 2012, 2 p.m.
Steel Lane Community Center - Dohn Room
415 Steele Ln., Santa Rosa, CA 95403

If you can't make one of the public meetings, the CPUC still wants to hear from you. Written comments may be submitted to: CPUC Public Advisor, 505 Van Ness Ave., Room 2103, San Francisco, CA 94102 or via email. The CPUC asks that you refer to Application number A.11-03-014 on any written or email correspondence.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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