By Morgan Lee   5:43 P.M. DEC. 5, 2014       Updated 5:50 P.M.

California regulators are ready to deliver a bill to utility customers who want to get rid of “smart” meters that transmit data continuously about household consumption of electricity and natural gas.

After years of deliberations, utility regulators said this week that they are prepared to lock in a $75 fee for people who don’t want a smart meter at their home, with additional $10 monthly payments. The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on the fee Dec. 18.

Some utility customers have health concerns about the effects of wireless signals, while others oppose sharing detailed information about electricity and natural gas use. Regulators across the country are grappling with similar complaints.

“It is not fair for individuals to have to pay to not be irradiated,” said Susan Brinchman, who represents a tiny-but-vocal group of San Diego-area utility customers opposed to smart meters. “We’re not going to let go of this at all. We want these things banned,” said Brinchman, director of the Center for Electrosmog Prevention.

California utilities and regulators, meanwhile, see smart meters as a crucial component of efforts to make the modern power grid more efficient and rein in air pollution linked to respiratory problems and climate change.

Given the green light by state regulators in 2007, San Diego Gas & Electric has equipped its entire territory with smart meters, swapping out more than 1.4 million electric meters and adding advanced communications to 900,000 natural gas meters. Out of those customers, about 2,570 have had analog meters reinstalled at a cost of about $1.5 million.

Smart meters have only just begun to fulfill their touted technological promise, as customers monitor their own energy use remotely by smart phone, and use the data to conserve energy and save money.

SDG&E says the proposed $75 fee and $10 monthly payments do not come close to covering its costs to reinstall the old technology.

It wanted to charge a fee of nearly $190, with monthly payments of $13.30.

Utilities commission President Michael Peevey has recommended what he calls a more affordable $75 fee and billing the remainder to other customers.

“It’s socializing the costs in a way,” Peevey said. “It’s not unprecedented. We do that in many, many areas.”

Low-income customers would pay less to opt out from the smart meter: $10 initially, with a $5 monthly fee.

The fees pay for the analog meters, maintenance and monthly visits from meter readers.

Utility customers haven’t finished paying off the original analog meters that were retired. SDG&E was authorized last year to recollect a final $85 million by 2017, providing a return for investors.

Regulators have taken pains not to link the opt-out provisions for smart meters to any health and safety concerns — an area pre-empted by federal law.

Nevertheless, public comments at the start of each utilities commission meeting in San Francisco are dominated by accounts of pain and suffering by people professing to be highly sensitive to smart meters and their radio frequency signals.

SDG&E says its smart meters comply with federal radio frequency limits and produce far less exposure than other household appliances and electronics, including cell phones, baby monitors and microwave ovens.

Based on SDG&E’s figures, a small number of its customers — about one in 450 — is expected to opt out.

Discussing smart meters at a public meeting this week, utilities commission member Mike Florio asked the commission to reconsider allowing municipalities and homeowners associations to opt out of smart meters en mass. Others on the commission said the idea already had been vetted and rejected, though it could be taken up again in future years.

SDG&E said no communities within its service territory have requested to opt out.