When PG&E refused to remove their “smart” meters after they complained about health effects, a group of residents from Capitola, California, decided their utility company did not have the right to “sicken” them and hired a professional electrician to replace their smart meters with analogs. The residents then returned the smart meters, PG&E’s property, to the utility company. See StopSmartMeters.org for the full story. PG&E has responded by saying it will turn off their power, including to the residence of a 75 year old woman.
Update: As a result of their action and the subsequent bad press PG&E received (see Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors grilling PG&E), PG&E has now agreed to offer an “analog” option. However, the utility companies want to tack on unprecedented new fees for an analog–an upfront cost and an additional monthly fee. Since the utilities received billions of dollars in federal funds and their stockholders will also be receiving “smart” meter dividends from the increased fees they are going to charge customers via their “time of use” pricing, we think that any fee for analog option should be taken from corporate (shareholder) profits. (revised and updated 1/12/12)