The cost of opting out

Perhaps it was inevitable that smart meter naysayers would be unhappy with whatever “opt-out” process Glendale officials set up, but considering that as of a few months ago opting out wasn’t even an option, it’s hard to see what more controversy could possibly be left.

Yes, those who don’t want their utility smart meters to transmit data will have to pay for the cost incurred by Glendale Water & Power to send a worker out to manually log the information. But it’s still a compromise with utility officials, who have pressed hard against any exceptions to the smart grid.

And as more and more utilities adopt the system, the “opt-out customer” will only become more isolated — at some point, perhaps an endangered species. But while an argument can be made for paying to protect an endangered animal like the Santa Rosa Island fox or the bald eagle, the rest of Glendale Water & Power customers shouldn’t have to absorb the cost of a micro-minority that opposes the system on platforms that lack accepted scientific merit.

One of the benefits of spending a healthy dime on the smart grid was the ability to cut down on the costs of the manual labor of meter-reading. If customers want special accommodations, then they shouldn’t be shocked when they get a special bill — especially when those charges are fast becoming standard industry practice.

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