In addition, Southern California Gas has now become a party to the Calif. Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) opt-out proceedings. The Gas Company recently submitted its smart meter opt-out proposal.
Because many of us have family and friends in Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas (The Gas Company) territories, here’s an update to what’s happening on the smart meter front for them.
As 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, but also because not all SCE customers are being allowed to have the analog option.
That’s right. Unlike SDG&E and PG&E’s opt out program, which allows its customers to have the analog meter opt out (for a fee), SCE’s opt out program will only restore the analog meter on the residences of those who had an analog meter before a smart meter was installed on their home, or if the customer has an analog meter and is on the delay-install list.
That’s right — this means if you’re an SCE customer and you had an advanced digital meter that may or may not have an RF component on it on your home before the smart meter was installed, sorry, you are out of luck. SCE will only give you an advanced digital meter back, not the analog that you may want instead.
Is that fair? Or unfair and discriminatory compared to the opt out that SDG&E and PG&E have?
This opt-out program, by the way, was approved by CPUC Director Michael Peevey, who was a former president of Southern California Edison and Edison International. Smart meter opponents see that as a major conflict of interest, and media and consumer groups also have problems with that association.
In addition, while SDG&E and PG&E’s opt-out fees ($75 up front and $10 per month) cover opting out of both gas and electric meters, SCE’s opt-out fees ($75 up front and $10 per month) only cover your electrical meter (because SCE does not offer gas service).
Now Southern California Gas (The Gas Company) is asking the CPUC for approval of a smart gas meter opt-out program. (Read the transcript of CPUC Phase 2 May 16, 2012 Opt-Out Prehearing Conference, page 8, which has been made available to the public thanks to the Center for Electrosmog Prevention. Watch video of the conference, where serious health concerns and problems with the opt-out programs were raised, thanks to the Ecological Options Network.)
The So Cal Gas $1 billion smart meter program, by the way, is considered a dumb idea by residents and consumer groups alike because smart gas meters are a total waste of money and unnecessary. Support TURN’s Stop So Cal Gas Meters campaign to protest, oppose and defeat gas smart meters now. Sign their on-line petition today.
Back to the SCE problem — with So Cal Gas wanting to have its own opt out program that may involve opt-out fees, an SCE/Gas Company customer could end up being forced to pay double the fees that an SDG&E or a PG&E customer is paying to opt out of both gas and electric smart meters.
Do you also find this unfair and discriminatory?
Consumers Power Alliance, a resident organization funded via donations by concerned residents like you, believes so. CPA is fighting SCE’s smart meter program and has a legal team that has challenged SCE’s smart meter program and opt-out fees. CPA consequently filed a protest with the CPUC regarding SCE’s opt-out program and fees.
In response, the CPUC has temporarily suspended SCE’s opt out fees, effective June 4, for 120 days while they look into this matter. CPA, meanwhile, is encouraging residents to opt-out of SCE smart meters today, and has issued an alert and advice to SCE customers. CPA is also encouraging SCE customers to file complaints with CPA’s hired law firm (read more below) because these consumer complaints are having a strong effect on the SCE opt out program.
Action you can take?
Please share this CPA advisory below with other family and friends you know who are SCE customers. IMPORTANT: The advice and recommendations below apply ONLY to SCE Customers (not BWP, GWP or LADWP customers):
1. (Santa Barbara, CA – June 4, 2012) Per the attached Suspension Notice issued by the CPUC Energy Division, the SCE Advice Letter implementing its Smart Meter Opt-Out Plan, recently protested by CPA , has been suspended effective 4 June for up to 120 days for staff review. As long as this Advice Letter remains suspended, SCE has no authorization to implement the rates or other terms and conditions contained in the Advice Letter.
We currently do not know how this will impact Opt-Out fees for SCE and the Gas Company or the Opt-Out practices by SCE protested by CPA. However, Opt-Outs are proceeding on a District basis…and SCE is continuing to install smart meters like there is no tomorrow.
2. Opt Out Now
SCE customers throughout the state are receiving Opt-Out letters. They may come certified mail or “critical mail.” The Notices have varying default deadlines, depending on where you live. If you were on Delay Install, you MUST return the form by the deadline noted in the letter, or you will be smart-metered. We suggest that you make a copy of the signed form and return it immediately. In addition, you may call 800.810.2369 – now only between 8 AM and 5 PM. Note: Opt-Out Plans allow you to have the Smart Meter removed at any time for any or no reason, but it may take time to get it removed, and you may have to wait for an analog meter.
3. Complaints are Requested
Our attorney, Mr. Tobin, recommends that our chances of getting what we want will improve if we provide documented incidents and other complaints to the PUC. Our goals include (a) immediate restoration of meters for those who got smart-metered when on the Delay Install list, (b) reduced fees, (c) Opt-Out Applications on SCE website, (d) SCE should make their website more Opt-Out accessible and post up-to-date information, (e) improve notification procedures, (f) stop installers from forcing installations , (g) impose deadlines for completing restorations, (h) longer hours for calling to Opt-Out,while default installs are happening, and (i) more respectful customer service.
Please email your letters of complaint to Channing at email@example.com with the notation CPA Support – Letter of Complaint, so the law firm can get them in the right hands.
In addition, encourage your friends and family in SCE territory to contact Consumers Power Alliance today, and support their efforts, receive their e-mail updates and alerts, and donate to their Legal Fund. They can do this by visiting the CPA website for more details at: http://www.consumerspoweralliance.com or by e-mailing CPA about any questions or complaints at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other resident organizations to support that oppose smart meters and are informing SCE customers about the opt out and actions to take include:
Southern Californians for Wired Solutions: email@example.com