Advanced Meter Opt-Out Program FAQ
Are other utilities offering customers an Opt-Out Program?
Yes. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved an Opt-Out Program for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). The approved fees are the same as those for SoCalGas®: a $75 initial fee along with a monthly charge of $10. For CARE customers, the initial fee is $10 with a monthly charge of $5.
Will customers who elect to opt out of SoCalGas’ Advanced Meter and their electric smart meter from their electric utility have to pay for separate services?
Customers who wish to opt out of their electric smart meter must contact their electric utility provider directly. SoCalGas’ Advanced Meter Opt-Out Program only addresses the costs associated with the option to manually read the natural gas meter.
Why does the Advanced Meter Opt-Out Program have both an initial fee and a monthly charge?
The initial fee offsets the planning and systems costs to enact the Opt-Out Program. The monthly opt-out charge is applied toward the overall cost of maintaining the Opt-Out Program, manual reading labor costs, systems maintenance and vehicle-related expenses.
Are the monthly charges indefinite?
No. The CPUC has ruled that monthly charges for the Opt-Out Program are to be limited to the first three years of program enrollment. After three years the opt-out charges will no longer appear on your gas bill; however, your participation in the Opt-Out Program will continue.
Since monthly opt-out charges cover the cost of manually reading the meter every month, I should not expect to see an “estimated” read on my gas bill. Is this correct?
No. The CPUC has instructed SoCalGas to implement a bimonthly manual meter reading plan in order to help manage the overall costs associated with having an Opt-Out Program in place. What this means for Opt-Out Program participants is that the gas meter will be read manually every other month. For the months in between, the meter read will be estimated, thereby resulting in an estimated gas bill. In the months in which we do manually read the gas meter, the resulting bill will reflect any gas usage differences that have occurred from the last time that the gas meter was manually read. This new bimonthly manual meter-reading plan does not impact the company’s policy on requesting continuous access to the gas meter for maintenance purposes1.
As an Opt-Out Program participant, what if I don’t want you to estimate my bills on a bimonthly basis?
The CPUC has ruled that SoCalGas, and the other major California utilities, are required to enact a bimonthly manual meter reading plan in order to help reduce Opt-Out Program costs. Consequently, customers who wish to continue their participation in the Advanced Meter Opt-Out Program will be subject to receiving a bimonthly estimated gas bill.
Since I will be paying a monthly opt-out charge to have my meter read manually, will I have to pay this charge for the months in which the meter read is estimated?
Yes. The CPUC’s Opt-Out Program ruling requires the utility to bill customers for the monthly charge even when the monthly meter read has been estimated.
How will the charges appear on my gas bill?
The applicable opt-out charges will appear under the section “Other Charges and Credits.”
What if I transfer my service to another address? Will my opt-out status transfer with me?
No. Your Opt-Out Program status does not transfer to your new address. When you contact SoCalGas to request that the service be transferred, please notify us that you would like to have your new address enrolled in the Advanced Meter Opt-Out Program.
When I transfer my service, will I need to pay the initial opt-out fee at my new address?
Yes. The initial fee and monthly charges are specific to the gas meter at each facility.
Are unpaid initial and monthly fees subject to collection activity, including service shutoff?
Yes. Unpaid fees will be included in past-due amounts which may be subject to collection activity.
Can I request a payment arrangement for the initial and monthly fees?
Yes. Please contact our Customer Contact Center at 1-800-427-2200.
If I discontinue my enrollment in the Opt-Out Program but then at a later date decide to re-enroll, do I have to pay the initial fee again?
Per program guidelines, a customer who decides to un-enroll from the SoCalGas Opt-Out Program will not be eligible for re-enrollment until 12 months after program termination date have passed. After this 12-month period has elapsed, the customer would again be charged the applicable initial fee and monthly charges.
If I want to cancel my enrollment in the Advanced Meter Opt-Out Program, what do I need to do and will I be charged to have the Advanced Meter installed?
To cancel your program participation and to schedule an installation appointment, please contact our Customer Contact Center at 1-800-427-2200. From the main menu you may select option 5 (“Other Matters”), followed by option 2 (Advanced Meter). At the main menu you may also use our voice response system and state “Advanced Meter” to be directed to the Advanced Meter menu options. There will be no additional charge to have the Advanced Meter installed.
1 Until our communications network is fully operational in your neighborhood, we will continue to manually read the meter. Please provide safe access and keep the area around the meter clear of obstructions, plants or shrubs.