Smart Meter Customers Must Pay to Opt Out: SDG&E

Opponents of the meter's wireless communication worry about the health impacts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    SDG&E customers who want to opt out of the company's controversial Smart Meter technology may have to pay extra each month.

    The power company proposed offering its customers the option for an initial fee of $175-$200, an exit fee of $50 and a monthly fee of $15 to cover meter readings, according to our media partner, the North County Times.

    Critics of the computerized meters say the wireless technology is a potential privacy invasion liability, and a health risk. One customer measured the radiation emitted by his smart meter, and believes the radiation gives him headaches.

    The option to have the meters removed is not a consolation for those already suffering from the effects.

    "The only people who are able to avoid being irradiated are the rich," said Susan Brinchman with the non-profit Center for Electrosmog Prevention. Brinchman said she has to sleep on her couch to avoid the splitting headaches caused by the radiation.

    Proponents of the meter cite non-affiliated studies which show that there were no health risks associated with the technology, and that the smart meters allow customers to eliminate waste by seeing which appliances consumes the most electricity. 

    The cost to opt out is a preliminary estimate. A second phase will be needed to more accurately guess how much removing the meters will cost.

    "It doesn't seem fair," Mike Lee, an electrical engineer and homeowner in Escondido told the NCT. "It's sort of like extortionism. If you want your health and privacy and not to be charged extra electricity rates, you're going to pay a penalty."

    The proposal will be considered by regulators next month. For more on this issue, check out the North County Times' website.