By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sebastopol City Council approved an emergency measure Thursday night asking PG&E to delay installation of SmartMeters in the city until state regulators conclude hearings on new opt-out procedures.
“It was triggered by PG&E calling the city and saying they will start installing SmartMeters within two weeks,” said Vice Mayor Michael Kyes. “There are a number of people in the city who are not happy with that.”
SmartMeters have been particularly controversial in Sebastopol, where critics contend that the wireless meters emit radio frequencies that can cause health problems.
When the utility introduced the meters in February 2010, however, it quickly ran into resistance in Sonoma County and elsewhere in California.
PG&E was required by the state Public Utilities Commission to allow individuals to keep their traditional meters, for a one-time fee of $75 and a $10 monthly fee to cover the cost of having the meters read.
The PUC now is holding hearings on how groups or communities could opt out of having the meters installed, as well as an analysis of the cost.
The council voted 5-0 to ask PG&E to not install meters within the city limits until those hearings are completed.
The vote was taken at 11:30 p.m., on the heels of the council’s second public hearing on another controversial project, the proposed CVS Pharmacy and Chase Bank branch at the vacant Pellini Chevrolet dealership.
You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.