Residents Question High-Tech Gas Meters

Residents are concerned the new gas meter tech is not accurate and they fear being overbilled.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The advanced gas meters being installed in Southern California homes over the next three years promise to cut down on environmental costs, but not all customers are on board with the change. Lolita Lopez reports from Sunland for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 6, 2014.

    Over the next three years the installation of meters will continue for Southern California Gas's 6 million customers unless you opt out.

    It's a decision some are making because they don't trust what comes from here and why its costing them.

    The process is usually fast. It varies from 5 to 20 minutes.

    Javier Mendoza, of the Gas company, said it takes vehicles off the road and helps cut greenhouse gas emissions by 140,000 tons.

    Mendoza said customers will know their usage through a "bill tracker alert."

    Mendoza said through these, residents will get a weekly message via text or via email that will show their usage for that week, their projected next bill and use tools to help them conserve energy.

    That tracking is what some customers such as Lee Jamieson are concerned about as well as the costs to "opt out."

    Jamieson said that's unfair.

    Customers who don't want the advanced meters must pay an initial $75 fee and then $10 a month.

    Mendoza said that fee has been established by the Public Utilities Commission.

    He adds less than one percent of customers have opted out.

    "It would be nice if there was an incentive to do it, instead of a financial penalty," Lee Jamieson said.

    The incentive is an environmental one, the company says.

    The meters run off a couple AA batteries and are expected to have a battery life of 20 years.

    Full upgrades should be done by 2017 and residents can expect a letter to tell them about when the company will stop by.

    For more information about the smart meters, click here.

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