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Topics and Issues...

Smart Meters

Background: PG & E's plans to deploy smart meters throughout its service area has met with strong resistance in Sebastopol, with claims related to health, safety, and security among its opponents. Despite apparent lack of jurisdiction for a local government to regulate these devices or their deployment (that power resides with the California Public Utilities Commision), the Sebastopol City Council has acted to try to counteract their deployment. As of March 2013:

  • about 7,100 SmartMeters have been installed in Sebastopol
  • 1,100 have opted out
  • A total of 21,000 are to be installed in Sebastopol
  • System-wide, fewer than one-half of 1 percent of customers have opted out



April 5, 2017 - Just when it appeared this topic had run its course, and smart meter installations proceed, a new push to resist goes forward.

Mayor Glass sends this letter to PG & E.

January 4, 2017 - After years of delay, installation of Smart Meters is proceeding in Sebastopol.

The "ban" was never legally solid anyway. Read more in this Sonoma West article by Amie Windsor.

And more in this Jan 18 article from Mary Callahan in the Press Democrat


March 14, 2013 - PG & E and the City to meet again. PG & E operations are reported to be back to normal, except for residential meter installations. Business smart meters (e.g. at Barlow) continue to be installed. Read Derek Moore's coverage in the PD.



March 7, 2013 - The short-sightedness of the Council's actions continues to draw criticsm in this PD Editorial and column from Chris Coursey.

March 5, 2013 - In a closed session, Council backs off on enforcing the moratorium, given the shakey legal ground it put them on, and the threat of litigation from PG & E. It is not clear why they did not see this coming when they passed the moratorium. Read Derek Moore's story in the PD. And read David Abbott's story in the Sonoma West.

March 1, 2013 - The PUC responds to the City's moratorium on smart meters, as "unlawful and unenforceable" and PGE vows to continue installations. Read Derek Moore's story in the PD.


February 21, 2013 - Special Council Meeting - the Council passes both a resolution and urgency ordinance that imposes a moratorium on installation of smart meters, effective immediately. The ordinance makes installation a crime punishable with a $500 fine. No allowance is made for those that may want a smart meter installed. PG & E has said they will continue to deploy as planned. Read more in Guy Kovner's story in the PD.


February 19, 2013 - City Council Meeting - the Council puts forth a resolution and urgency ordinance to impose moratorium on smart meter installation, punishable as a misdemeanor. Read Bob Norberg's story in the PD. And read John Necker's meeting notes.

July 19, 2012 - City Council Meeting - by a 5-0 vote, the Council acts to send a letter to PG & E asking that no smart meters get installed in Sebastopol until the PUC has completed hearings for its 'opt-out' plan. Read John Necker's meeting notes. PG & E responds that it will continue as planned. Read Bob Norberg's story in the PD.