Two weeks after state regulators voted to give PG&E customers the right to opt-out of having a SmartMeter and keep their old, analog meters if they paid a monthly fee, PG&E announced Wednesday that it has received 4,400 opt-out requests.
PG&E has about 5.4 million residential customers throughout its vast Northern California service territory, so the opt-out rate is about .08 percent so far.
Those requesting to opt-out include 2,800 customers who still have analog meters and 1,600 who have a SmartMeter and want to make the switch.
PG&E customers who want to opt-out of SmartMeters will be required to pay a one-time $75 fee and a monthly charge of $10. Low-income customers will pay an initial fee of $10 and a monthly charge of $5.
The utility had estimated that up to 150,000 of its customers would opt-out, based on customer surveys and projections done last year. More than 90,000 customers have indicated that they do not want SmartMeters and are on a "delayed installation" list.
PG&E said it is making an effort to reach everyone on the delay list by phone and certified mail. Information about the opt-out process will also be sent in March bills.
"We're still in the very early days of the opt-out option," said Helen Burt, PG&E's senior vice president and chief customer officer, in an interview. "It's too early to draw conclusions about how many will begin to opt-out."
In the Bay Area, most of the
PG&E wants customers to make a decision about which meter they want by May 1, but acknowledges that some customers may change their minds. PG&E customers who do not want a SmartMeter can let PG&E know by going to PG&E's website, calling the dedicated SmartMeter hot line at 866-743-0263, or visiting one of PG&E's 74 local offices.
"We want to be responsive to customers who want us to remove their SmartMeter," said Burt. "We want to make sure we don't have someone waiting. Anyone can opt-out at any time, and anyone can opt-in at any time."
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.