Mendocino County supervisors have adopted a moratorium on SmartMeter installations, paving the way for residents to file criminal complaints against PG&E when workers install meters without their consent.
But don't expect a deputy to respond.
County residents instead will be directed to fill out a report form, which is expected to be available on the sheriff's website in about 60 days. Reports will be forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, said Sheriff Tom Allman.
"It would be up to the D.A.'s Office to do something," he said, noting his deputies already are stretched thin because of budget cuts.
The moratorium, passed unanimously by supervisors on Tuesday, makes violations either an infraction or misdemeanor as well as a nuisance. But its authority is in question.
PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission contend only the CPUC has jurisdiction over the utility, including SmartMeter installations.
"PG&E will not be honoring moratoriums unless it comes from the CPUC," said utility spokesman Paul Moreno.
But the company will continue to hold informational meetings in an effort to alleviate some citizen concerns, including concerns that the radio waves it emits are unhealthy, he said.
The meters are aimed at making readings of electricity and gas consumption more accurate and at enabling the company and consumers to better regulate energy use, potentially saving resources.
Consumers will be able to monitor their usage at the meter in real time or online the following day.