3 Reasons the SFPUC Gets a Free Pass?

Pacific Gas & Electric has gotten a lot of pushback on their automated “smart meters” that use RF technology to wirelessly transmit gas and electricity usage.

SF PG&E smart meter

A typical smart meter installed by Pacific Gas & Electric that has caused a lot of controversy and push back in the bay area.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (the water utility), by contrast, has gotten almost no objection to their installation of water meters that use similar technology. Why?

The new automated water meter from the SF PUC that uses wireless technology similar to the PG&E smart meter technology.

The new automated water meter from the SF PUC that uses wireless technology similar to the PG&E smart meter technology.

Here are some possibilities:

  • People are incredibly irrational.
  • People directed their loathing and anger towards PG&E smart meters because it was the easiest and most visible way to object to a company that is deeply distrusted in the bay area, even if you really weren’t worried about the health effects.
  • The SFPUC water meters are much less visible – out of sight, out of mind?

As a real estate agent I can absolutely confirm that the first bullet point is true. As for the next two items, your guess is probably as good as mine.

The water meters are much less visible – as you can see from the picture above, they actually look far more terrifying than the PG&E meters because they have a bunch of goofy looking cables that run between the meter and the transmitter (which is affixed to the bottom of the utility cover, normally found in the sidewalk in front of your home).

As to whether people like SFPUC more than PG&E, I’d say that’s a toss up. Plenty of people in SF would love to see the Hetch Hetchy dam (owned by SFPUC) destroyed and the canyon restored. On the flip side, though, it wasn’t the SFPUC that blew up a suburban neighborhood because inspecting their gas pipes on a regular basis was too much work.

What are your thoughts? Conspiracy theorists, be sure to leave a comment!