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The Associated Press May 5, 2011, 3:34PM ET

Calif. OKs PG&E rate hike to pay for old meters

California regulators have approved a plan allowing Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to charge its customers more for electricity to make up for profits lost when SmartMeters were installed.

Three of four members of the California Public Utilities Commission approved the proposal Thursday. It gives PG&E shareholders a 6.3 percent rate of return on their investment in PG&E's old, analog electricity meters over the next six years.

PG&E President Michael Peevey says shareholders needed to be compensated because the old meters were pulled out of homes and businesses before their useful life was up.

Dozens of people and advocacy groups testified at the commission meeting saying exposure to radio frequencies and radiation from the wireless devices is harming people's health. PG&E maintains that the meters are safe.

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