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SoCal Edison may let customers opt out of smart meters

The new smart meters. (Southern California Edison)
The new smart meters.

State utility regulators are considering a plan to let customers of Southern California Edison reject digital or (so-called) smart meters.

Edison says smart meters will enable the utility to manage energy demand better with real time data… that the meters will ultimately help customers save money.

But activists concerned about electromagnetic fields are just one group of objectors to the new technology. Some people have privacy concerns because Edison can send and receive information through the meters.

Meanwhile in Northern California, dozens of ratepayers for another investor-owned utility, PG&E, have complained that the new meters brought them higher bills without explanation.

The plan before the California Public Utilities Commission would enable people to opt out of the smart meter program by paying a one-time fee of $70 and a monthly charge of $10.

The Commission could schedule an up or down vote on the plan next month.

Smart meter installation has already started in Edison territory, though the utility is allowing some homes and businesses to delay the switch.