SCE Smart Meter Opt-Out Program – What does it mean for you?

19 Apr

Today, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the Smart Meter Opt-Out programs for Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers, allowing the analog meter option for millions of Californians throughout the state (at a cost, see fees below).  Meanwhile, BWP, GWP and SMUD in Burbank, Glendale and Sacramento, have adopted the worst opt-out programs in the state by denying their customers the analog option.*

Let’s focus today’s post on the SCE opt-out program. Tell your friends and family in SCE territory about today’s development. (As for SDG&E’s approved opt out and phone number you can call to enroll, please go to the website of the Center for Electrosmog Prevention for details.  For friends and family in northern California, have them check out the EMF Safety Network for phone numbers and details.)

SCE customers may enroll in the opt-out program for health reasons (is the smart meter making you sick?), privacy reasons, higher monthly bills, or any reason at all.

SCE hasn’t yet updated its website on  how to enroll in its Smart Meter Opt-Out program to reflect the SCE Smart Meter Opt-Out decision approved today by the CPUC.

But SCE’s media rep did issue this SCE Press Release today (bold face is ours):

ROSEMEAD, Calif., April 19, 2012 – Southern California Edison (SCE) residential customers have the option to choose an Edison SmartConnect meter or a traditional electric meter, following a final decision today by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

SCE supports the CPUC’s decision and will respond quickly to customers who choose to opt out of the Edison SmartConnect program. Starting May 9, customers may opt out by calling 1-800-810-2369.

For customers already on the delay list, calling the number will enable them to enroll in the opt-out program and keep their current meters. Customers who have a smart meter, but would like to opt out, can have their meter exchanged for the type (i.e., electro-mechanical analog meter or non-analog, non-smart digital meter) that was previously in place.

That phone number above is the same as the SCE Delay Install List phone number.   However, as noted in our previous post, the Delay Install List should not be confused with the Opt-Out list — as of today, according to the CPUC approved opt-out program for SCE customers, the SCE Delay Install List is no longer needed.

So when you call SCE at the above number, make sure that they enroll you in the SCE Opt-Out Program.

Ask for a Confirmation Number, name of the person you are speaking with, write down the date and time you called, to get some sort of documentation that you are on, or have called to enroll in, the SCE Opt-Out Program.

A few days after you enroll, call Corix (SCE’s contracted installer) at (877) 407-2317. to have Corix check their records to confirm with you that SCE has notified Corix that you are enrolled in the SCE Opt Out program, and so Corix should NOT install a smart meter on your home.

If you can afford the opt-out fees, but don’t approve of the fees, you may want to write separate checks to pay for those fees and write a notation on or with those checks that you are submitting these payments under duress or protest. You could also write a Certified Letter to SCE stating how you are submitting the payment for the fees under duress or under protest so your payments become a form of potential “damages.”  Make copies of everything for your records. Read more about this on the EMF Safety Network website.

IMPORTANT: Because residents have complained that Corix has installed smart meters on  homes that did not consent to the smart meter installation, download and print out the “Stop Smart Meter Install Flyer that you can cut and post on your front window, or gate, and also make sure to affix to your meter.  Print more out and share with neighbors, e-mail the flyer to friends, family, etc.   (Thanks to “No Smart Meter Ojai/Ventura County” for letting us make a version of their flyer for you.)

OPT=OUT FEES and MAIN POINTS

If you need more info about the approved CPUC Decision on SCE’s Smart Meter Opt Out Program, the Consumers Power Alliance has written this summary of main points:

Approval was given to interim fees of $75 for set-up and $10 per month for meter reading, discounted interim CARE fees of $10 for set-up and $5 per month, and a three month installment paymentplan for set-up fees. Per the decision,a Phase 2 Hearing, as yet unscheduled, will be held to determine the final fees, the viability of community opt-outs, and other relevant details…

DECISION MODIFYING DECISION 08-09-039 – Conclusions of Law – Effective Now.

1. A residential customer should be allowed to opt-out of a wireless smart meter for any reason, or for no reason.

2. The opt-out option adopted must balance the concerns expressed by customers against California’s overall energy policy.

3. Allowing residential customers an opportunity to opt out of receiving a wireless smart meter should not impede ongoing state energy objectives.

4. It is important that the selected opt-out option has the capability to allow customers to take advantage of smart grid benefits.

5. Although a non-communicating smart meter is the preferred opt-out option, an analog meter opt-out option could be offered at this time, as there are no mandatory residential TOU rates.

6. Customers who participate in the opt-out option should retain the meter currently installed at their location or receive the meter form (i.e., an analog meter or a non-analog, non-smart digital meter) that had been at the customer’s location prior to the installation of a wireless smart meter.

7. Until there is additional information on the costs to offer multiple opt-out options, only a single opt-out option should be offered.

8. Since SCE’s deployment of the Edison SmartConnect Program is consistent with the requirements of D.08-09-039, it should be allowed to recover the costs associated with offering the opt-out option to the extent those costs are found to be appropriate, reasonable and not already being recovered in rates.

9. A residential customer selecting the opt-out option should be assessed an initial charge and a monthly charge.

10. A discount should be provided to customers enrolled in the CARE program.

11. There should be a second phase in this proceeding to consider cost and cost allocation issues associated with offering an opt-out option

12. It would be appropriate to include the substantive and procedural components of D.12-02-014 in this proceeding for purposes of statewide consistency.

13. The modifications to SCE’s Edison SmartConnect Program to include an opt-out program should be implemented as quickly as possible.

14. An interim initial fee and monthly charge for customers electing the opt-out option should be assessed until a final decision on cost and allocation issues is issued.

15. SCE should be authorized to establish a new two-way memorandum account to track revenues and costs associated with providing the opt-out option until a final decision on cost and allocation issues is issued.

16. The September 21, 2011 Assigned Commissioner’s Ruling directing the utilities to allow residential customers to be placed on a delay list should no longer be applicable for SCE.

THOSE WHO MAY NOT BE HELPED BY THE OPT OUT

SCE’s Opt Out Program is bad news for:

1) those who had digital meters on their homes before a smart meter was installed and want an analog meter — they can only have their digital meter restored; meanwhile, PG&E and SDGE& customers do not have this constraint in their opt-out programs

2) those who cannot afford to pay the up-front and monthly fees

3) those who live next to a bank of smart meters in a multi-residential complex

4) those who live in s densely populated neighborhoods and their neighbors’ smart meters are affecting their health.

5) those who plan to build a new home — SCE’s opt out as written will not allow you to have an analog meter because it will only restore the analog to those who had it before a smart meter was installed

6) those who work in businesses where smart meters have been installed; the CPUC opt out programs approved for PG&E, SDG&E and SCE customers do not apply to business properties

7) those who want community-wide opt outs  like residents and local government that have supported this option: more than 55 communities throughout northern and southern California oppose mandatory smart meters, and many have taken action to ban them and support no-cost analog meters (the community-wide option will be discussed during Phase 2 of the CPUC smart meter opt-out proceedings, reportedly sometime in June 2012)

8) those serviced by municipal and public utilities such as BWP, GWP and SMUD (in Burbank, Glendale and Sacramento).  As mentioned above, while the CPUC has now approved analog meters as the only option  the Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) of PG&E, SDG&E and SCE (i.e., millions of Californians throughout the state), BWP, GWP and SMUD are not offering the analog option to their customers.*   That’s because the CPUC does not regulate the smart meter opt out programs for the municipal and public utilities, unless it concerns matters of public safety (and the CPUC has not yet acknoweldged that there is a public safety problem with smart meters).  As a result, public utilities such as BWP, GWP and SMUD have approved inequitable, discriminatory and prohibitory smart meter “opt-out” programs that do NOT include the analog meter option; read more about this on our “Burbank Smart Meter ‘Opt Out'” page.

Here are some possible options you can pursue, depending on your situation:

1) Complain to SCE and the CPUC to make sure that in Phase 2 of the SCE Smart Meter Opt-Out Proceeding you and others (and ALL SCE customers) are given the right to have an analog meter, irregardless of whether they had a digital meter on their home before a smart meter was installed, and offer reasons to support that argument. Make copies of what you send or submit.

Submit CPUC Complaint: https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/?key=39949189

Submit SCE Complaint to:

Ms. Pat Buttress, Southern California Edison
Public Affairs Region Manager
Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, Orange
Placentia, Tustin, Villa Park, Yorba Linda
1325 S. Grand Ave. Bldg. B
Santa Ana, CA. 95705
P.O. Box 11982
Santa Ana, CA 92711-1982
714-973-5701
Fax 714-973-5752
Cell 714-271-4174
Email: pat.buttress@sce.com

Submit Complaint via Smart Meter Help: http://www.smartmeterhelp.com/

2) Contact the resident groups who are active in the SCE opt Out Proceedings to find out how you can support their efforts, how they can represent your complaint, and send them a copy of your complaint for their records.  These groups are:

Center for Electrosmog Prevention: info@electrosmogprevention.org

Consumers Power Alliance: admin@consumerspoweralliance.com

The People’s Initiative Foundation: contact page here.

Stop OC Smart Meters: info@StopOCSmartMeters.com

Stop Smart Meters Ojai/Ventura County: OjaiCeCe@yahoo.com

3) Start a Stop Smart Meter group in your community — get some residents together and plan some action items to pursue – join one of the parties above in the CPUC Opt Out Proceedings to have a voice and say in your health, privacy, pocketbooks, and future

4) Read more possible actions on the Stop Smart Meters! website.

5) The EMF Safety Network also lists possible action items, including what you can do if you’ve  been injured by EMFs.

6) Our blog has also posted info on lawsuits on our “Lawsuits” page.

7) If you are a business, and oppose the fact that you cannot opt out, and want the right to have an analog meter on your workplace, read what you can do in this post.  It includes a sample letter written by the EMF Safety Network that you can send to your utility, or you can also download the Commercial Opt Out Letter – Sample and modify it so it is addressed to SCE.  You may also need to inform, network and organize with other businesses and business organizations, associations, and groups that can represent your interests and concerns to the CPUC and state legislators and get them to take action supporting the right to have the analog meter on businesses.

* Residents we’ve communicated with in LADWP territory in different neighborhoods of Los Angeles City who have had smart meters installed on their homes tell us that they also have been denied getting their analog restored when they called up LADWP to request this.    LADWP is one of the largest municipal water and power companies in the nation and has oddly been silent on the smart meter opt-out issue.  So has the main Los Angeles Times newspaper; it’s odd because many newspapers across the state have written about the opt-out issue, and as a helpful public service to their readers, featured the phone number that their readers can call to delay install or opt out.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Free at Last: CPUC Approves Smart Meter Opt Out for SCE and SDG&E; Dr. Neil Cherry: RF’s Effect on Neurotransmitters; Public Space Increasingly Irradiated | Stop Smart Meters Irvine - April 19, 2012

    […] ins and outs of the Smart Meter rulings,  please see the following web sites and Facebook pages  Burbank Action,  StopOCSmartMeters, Stop Smart Meters Now (Facebook), Center for Electrosmog Prevention,  EMF […]

  2. ALERT: CPUC Passes SDG&E / SCE Opt-out Plans 4/19/12 | Center for Electrosmog Prevention - April 20, 2012

    […] SCE Smart Meter Opt-Out Program – What does it mean for you … (Burbank Action) […]

  3. Consumer power puts SCE smart meter fees on temporary hold « Burbank ACTION - June 7, 2012

    […] you may already know, SCE has a flawed opt-out program not just because it is charging fees to opt out of something that its customers never opted into, […]

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