and 13 million new widgits made by Pyro and the manpower to install them into every home in southern California is what... free?? Hiring the flunkies to walk door to door is probably cheaper.
Yeah it costs money to make the meters, but that is a one time cost. Over time the total cost will be lower. Your flunkie will probably lose his job no matter what you do.
The magic word here is "investment." Businesses buy machines all the time to save on labor costs.
Heck, I'm typing on a computer right now...now where'd my secretary go?
BTW, the reason many people think their bills have gone up is because they have gone up. But the reason is because rates have gone up. The rate increases coincided with the deployment of new meters and some folks just decided that one caused the other because they sorta happened around the same time.
I'm also a bit bothered by the thought of people losing their jobs to an electronic device.
Do you use ATM's? Self checkout at the store? Self serve gas? By your logic we should dig foundations by hand with small trowels to create more work.
Sorry. Sad but true. Reality is a harsh mistress...
On topic, mine got replaced (SoCal Edison though) without my being asked. Now my bill includes a nice graph showing me how much more electricity I consume than my neighbors.
I think it's fiction though. The house is heated by gas, I rarely run the AC, the kitchen is gas, and my wife and I live here alone and watch the lights etc. My only extravagance is to proudly light the American Flag at night, and that is a low voltage light. My neighbors on the other hand light up pools and tennis courts until all hours, and have all other sorts of lighting on all night. Maybe it's the stereo, those amps do dim the lights for a moment when I turn 'em on...