California Assembly Member Introduces SmartMeter Opt-Out Bill
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 15:59
In an announcement made yesterday, Jared Huffman, California State Assembly member, said that he is putting forward a bill to give Pacific Gas & Electricís consumers the option to opt-out of the utilityís SmartMeter program. According to the bill, titled AB 37, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will have to provide an alternative for consumers who are not interested in getting the new meter installed, and it would require utilities to install a wired alternative to the wireless device.
"I think it's going to represent a pretty significant improvement over the status quo," stated Huffman. "There will be people who think it doesn't go far enough."
According to PG&Eís recent statements, it is also considering the possibility of a wired alternative, which communicates through a series of radio and cellular networks.
The CPUC has not allowed energy users to opt-out of the program thus far, because, according to the commission, deploying 10 million meters across the state is part of a national smart grid that requires every consumer to be included. The commission also ruled against a temporary moratorium on deploying the advanced meters while these issues were examined.
The bill will next go to the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee in early spring. From there, the committee could move it out for voting. According to Huffman, the CPUCís input has been positive. The commission is interested in working with the legislature to provide an appropriate alternative.
At present, 7.5 million meters have already been deployed in California, and new meter are being deployed continually. Smart meters will be installed in Marin this year, and, apart from Fairfax, the installation has continued according to schedule and is expected to be complete in the county by 2012. PG&E has temporarily stopped installation in Fairfax, the town whose council has passed a one-year moratorium on the meters. According to PG&E, the council has no legal authority over the utility.
"The best I can do is move this bill forward as quickly as I can," stated Huffman.
Earlier in the summer, Huffman requested the California Council on Science and Technology to study the health issues being associated with the meters and the radio frequency and electro-magnetic frequencies standards of the FCC. The study is expected to come out later this month.
The meters are according to current FCC standards; however, Huffman believes that the question of having the choice to opt-out was a separate issue, which is why he wanted to introduce this bill before completion of the study."The question is for individuals who believe their health is at risk to have a choice," stated Huffman.
Those concerned about the meters can call PG&E and asked to be placed on a delay list for delaying smart meter installation.http://novato.patch.com/articles/huffman-introduces-bill-to-require-smart-meter-opt-out