Santa Cruz CA- Utility giant PG&E is threatening to turn off the power to Lois Robin, an 84 year old woman from Santa Cruz because she’s refusing to pay “opt-out” fees for keeping an analog meter.
sent Lois a 15 day shut off notice in February, stating she owed $115.
On Friday she received a message they will cut off her power today if
she doesn’t pay.
Lois writes, “I have always paid all my bills, except the opt-out
fees. I insisted on keeping my old meter. They did not give me a new
one. I have been on record all along as refusing a smart meter. I am 84
years old, with rapidly deteriorating vision. I would not want them to
disconnect me as I get along poorly without light. Yet, I would rather
they turned me off than pay their extractive fees.”
PG&E claims they have legal authority granted by the California
Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to collect the fees. Emails between
PG&E and the CPUC recently made public expose collusion, cover-up,
multiple exparte violations and the broken regulatory process by which
smart meter opt-out fees were concocted. Smart meter opt-out fees were
fabricated between the CPUC and PG&E long before the evidentiary
hearings on costs began.
For example, PG&E’s Brian Cherry, Vice President of Regulatory
Relations, emails Marzia Zafar, a CPUC Program and Project Supervisor,
that PG&E wants to eliminate the initial smart meter opt out fee of
$75. He writes, “They never received a SmartMeter and therefore, we
can’t really charge them an upfront removal fee since we haven’t removed
anything yet.” Cherry goes on to explain that PG&E also did
not feel people who were forced to have a smart meter should pay either,
because of the delay list was created after the deployment. Emails show
Zafar was the informant to the Commissioners. CPUC President Peevey had
an intimate role in deciding the fees. The CPUC ignored PG&E’s
request to eliminate the initial fee. http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Eliminate-initial-smart-meter-fee.pdf
In 2011, The County of Santa Cruz passed an ordinance banning smart
meters, but PG&E deployed smart meters anyway. Lois Robin is one of
many, who refuse to be coerced into paying the fees. Lois says, “This
has been very stressful. PG&E doesn’t listen to you. Talking to
PG&E is like talking to automatons.”