Extortion, Anyone?

(This tidbit appeared originally in the Anderson Valley Advertiser May 2011)

So I opened this month’s PG&E bill and out fell a little piece of paper with the news that if I don’t want to have a radio active Smart Meter (radio active is PG&E’s own Freudian slip of a term), PG&E will turn off my Smart Meter, the one I don’t want, and I will be spared any possible deleterious effects of a radio active Smart Meter. However, for the initial deactivation of the Smart Meter, I will have to pay PG&E two hundred and seventy dollars, and fourteen dollars a month thereafter. That’s one hundred and sixty-eight dollars a year on top of the initial two hundred and seventy, for a grand total of four hundred and thirty-eight dollars for that first year of non-radio active living.

Oh, yes, and if I choose to pay that ransom for deactivation, I agree to be charged an exit fee should I ever vacate the premises where that Smart Meter was deactivated. The little piece of paper that came with my bill didn’t say how much the exit fee would be. I suppose they are still calculating how much they need to cover corporate junkets and golden parachutes and such. Luckily, they tell us, the Smart Meter deactivation program will be entirely voluntary, and if I allow them to keep my Smart Meter radio active, PG&E won’t charge me anything except the increased charges for the installation of the Smart Meters no one wants. Isn’t that great? Just thought you’d like to know that PG&E is always on the lookout for new ways to…what would you call it?

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