Commissioners and members of the public, I recognize that we once again have a large number of speakers who want to address the Commission on the subject of smart meters and their concerns about wireless radio frequency emissions from these devices.
Before hearing from this morning’s speakers, I would like to say a word about the subject. I think what I have to say might calm some of the emotion around this issue.
First, I want to make an observation: Virtually every speaker who has addressed this subject has been a PG&E customer. We have not had complaints about radio frequency emissions or other concerns about smart meters from customers of other utilities in California. For example, PG&E’s neighboring utility in Sacramento – the Sacramento Municipal Utility District – has not had any sort of customer complaints of the kind we’ve been hearing from PG&E customers. Nor have the southern California utilities.
Nonetheless, given the continued strong interest in this issue in parts of Northern California, I have spoken directly with PG&E’s president and asked him to bring to this Commission a proposal or a series of proposals that will allow customers with an aversion to wireless devices the option of being metered without the use of wireless technology.
In other words, I am directing PG&E to prepare a proposal for our consideration that will allow some form of opt-out for customers who object to these devices at reasonable cost, to be paid by the customers who choose to opt-out. I’ve asked to have it within two weeks.
Obviously, I cannot prejudge how this Commission will evaluate any such proposal by PG&E, nor can I predict what PG&E itself will propose. But I think it’s clear the time has come for some kind of movement in the direction of customer opt-outs.