Consumer power puts SCE smart meter fees on temporary hold

7 Jun

SCE is putting orange “Opt Out Customer” stickers on its analog opt-out meters. If you’re an SCE customer, call 1-800-810-2369 today to make sure you’re in the Opt Out program or else SCE is going smart meter you. If SCE refuses to give you an analog opt out, submit a complaint with the Tobin Law Firm (read Post). Photo courtesy of StopOCSmartMeters.com

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 channing@tobinlaw.us 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 admin@consumerspoweralliance.com

Other resident organizations to support that oppose smart meters and are informing SCE customers about the opt out and actions to take include:

StopOCSmartMeters.com

StopSmartMetersIrvine.com

CenterforElectrosmogPrevention.org

Southern Californians for Wired Solutions: info.scwssm@gmail.com

ThePeoplesInitiative.org

SmartMeterHealthAlert.org

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8 Responses to “Consumer power puts SCE smart meter fees on temporary hold”

  1. Brandon June 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Where did you get your info? I called SCE to opt-out today and they said there was no mention from the CPUC to temporarily hold the fees under review. I called the CPUC afterwards and they also said those fees have been approved and might be reviewed after 1 or 2 years. Anyone I can call to get these fees removed to opt-out?

  2. Brandon June 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Where are you getting your information? I called SCE to opt-out and they said the CPUC has not given any mention of putting a hold on fees while under review. Afterwards, I called the CPUC and filed a complaint about SCE and they mentioned the fees have been approved and are not under any sort of hold. Anyone else I can talk to to get the fees removed??

    • burbankaction June 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      Brandon, thanks for this feedback — these responses you received may be helpful to share with Consumers Power Alliance (CPA, website: http://www.consumerspoweralliance.com), which is a party in the SCE opt out proceedings at the CPUC level, has even hired an attorney (Jim Tobin, who specializes in utility law) to contest the SCE smart meter program in those proceedings.

      CPA recently sent an e-alert to those on its e-mail list about the very recent (June 4, 2012) suspension of fees. You can read the document CPA referenced here: http://gallery.mailchimp.com/4a593d1366d698f16be8d7414/files/Suspension_ALs_SCE_AL_2726_E_SMOO_Tariff_Sub.pdf

      So you may want to e-mail CPA today to support their efforts, and inform them of your communications with SCE and the CPUC, and find out what CPA recommends you do next. CPA is working very hard to represent the interests, concerns and complains of SCE customers opposed to the SCE smart meter program. CPA’s e-mail is: admin@consumerspoweralliance.com.

      Thanks for taking action, and feel free to report back on any relevant developments that could assist other SCE customers who oppose smart meters.

      Kiku Iwata
      Administrator, Burbank Action

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ojai becomes first SoCal community to ban smart meters « Burbank ACTION - June 7, 2012

    […] you have friend or family in Ojai or Ventura County, encourage them to opt out of smart meters today by calling Southern California Edison (SCE) at 1-800-810-2369.  Tell them to also support […]

  2. Breaking: Southern California Edison Opt Out Fees Suspended | Stop Smart Meters! - June 7, 2012

    […] to the Burbank Action website- a great site to follow for smart meter news affecting Southern California: The CA Public […]

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