News

S.F. wants PG&E to halt 'SmartMeter' installations until accuracy can be checked

Gas module believed cause of incorrect readings cited by hundreds of customers

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera asked a state commission Thursday to halt PG&E's SmartMeter program until an investigation into the accuracy of the meters is complete.

The meters have been installed throughout Pleasanton.

Herrera is asking the California Public Utilities Commission to suspend its authorization for PG&E to install the SmartMeters, which are advanced utility meters that wirelessly communicate usage information to customers and utility companies.

Since PG&E began installing the meters throughout the state in

November 2006, the CPUC, PG&E and various consumer advocacy groups have received numerous complaints about overcharging and other concerns.

In March, the CPUC launched an investigation into the program, citing about 600 complaints in the PG&E service area since January 2009, compared to 10 in Edison's service area in Southern California and 15 in the San Diego Gas and Electric Company's service area.

Herrera said in a statement Thursday, "Common sense should argue against installing millions of defective SmartMeters until their problems are fixed, and questions about their accuracy are fully resolved."

San Francisco is the first city in PG&E's service area to formally petition the CPUC to halt the program, according to the city attorney's office.

The utility company apologized in May for problems with the

SmartMeter program, acknowledging that tens of thousands of customers have been affected by faulty meters, many of which had a piece of equipment called a "gas module" that was incorrectly installed, resulting in an incorrect gas bill.

However, PG&E officials argued that those errors had been rectified, and that millions of the meters have been installed without any reported problems.

The company has installed about 5.8 million SmartMeters, and plans to install another 3.9 million.

PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said Thursday that "we do not believe a moratorium (on installing the meters) is necessary, and the California Public Utilities Commission has agreed with us."

Smith said, "This kind of technology is already in place and working well around the world, with many different kinds of utilities," and added that San Francisco is using the same technology for the city's water meters as PG&E does for gas meters.

"We believe by continuing those installations, we will provide our customers in San Francisco with many benefits and allow them greater control over their energy," he said.

But Herrera's petition argued that the benefits of the greater control the SmartMeters provide do not outweigh the risk of inaccuracies and overcharges to customers.

"Receiving a timely and correct bill from PG&E is the least a customer is entitled to expect," Herrera said in the petition. "Customers should not be in the position of wondering whether their bills are accurate or whether the equipment installed by PG&E is working properly."

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2010 at 8:51 am

I TOTALLY agree! I live in Danville and I called PG&E and let them know that my bill was higher than it had ever been and I put a complaint in that it was only higher since the meter. I was told by PG&E that everything was fine and they never even came out, all just talked over the phone. He replied "everything was fine" without even checking anything. The supposed meter that was put on my home just looks like a cover over an old rusted set of clocks.


Like this comment
Posted by Ngo Loon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2010 at 8:52 am

What's next for wacky San Francisco. City Attorney Dennis Herrera, and San Francisco chief loon Gavin Newsom's, are the organizers of San Francisco's boycott of Arizona for their attempt to enforce our immigration laws. I urge you in joining me in boycotting San Francisco. They offer nothing you can't get elsewhere.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

Please also boycott Livermoore.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve, a Pleasanton resident
a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Jun 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Stopping the Dumb Meter installation is way overdue. Acting now is like closing the barn door after the horse got out, however it is better thna nothing. Ever since the CAPUC started the smart meter investigation, PG&E has been racing 100 miles per hour to install as many meters as possible before they are stopped. Some of these meters are flawed and PG&E does not give a damn. They are the most self serving, selfish company in existance. Prop 16 proved that!


Like this comment
Posted by No meters
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Every city should outlaw the meters. The high bills have to do with hove many elect cars are in you neighborhood. The CEO spoke last Fall in Detroit. Saying "high concentrations of plug-in vehicles poses a serious challenge to utilites. Plug-in cars could draw electricity equivalent to several homes". "Three-five elec cars plug-in a neighborhood , you're going to overload local circuits,which could lead to blackouts."" He said there is a "nightmare" scenario for utilites when numbers of drivers arrive home on a hot day, when AC are on, and plug in their cars."
PG&E isn't being honest. Instead, they are trying to "HELP" us & "educate" us on reading our smarties so we can "save" $$ by turning our ACs OFF !! How generous of them. Why not have enough POWER so we won't have to shut off our ACs. They have 2 plans (rather than providing power), 1. Participate in their "let PG&E control your AC FOR you"...by turning off &/or raising the temp "for you" !! 2. If you insist on using your AC you will pay MAX PEAK USAGE RATE !...major bucks ! Smart Meters are to tattle on the exact HOUR you are using your power. SHAME on you if you think that's something you'd like to control on your own....that's old world thinking ! If you are so bold, you dare to want to use power, you'll need a bank loan to pay your bill. Aren't you glad Big Brother's tattle meter is ""watching you"". Whata concept! And you thought after working all day, you were entitled to be comfortable. How selfish of you !


Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 18, 2010 at 10:49 pm

M. is a registered user.

I am curious, how exactly is PG&E going to go about shutting off or raising your A/C temp?


Like this comment
Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 18, 2010 at 11:15 pm

M, the meters are designed to work with appliance monitors that are supposed to record your energy usage at each device they are hooked up to. It's voluntary now, but like the 'smart meters' will become part of their required service. Once in place, they will not only record but will control electricity flow, including your A/C. Check their website and T.U.R.N.'s website.


Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 19, 2010 at 2:05 am

M. is a registered user.

Thank you for the info, interesting indeed.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 19, 2010 at 9:45 am

Wow a lot of wrong information here......guess it is time to get out the foil hats.

Billing issues after a smart meter installation have been the result of the following:

1 - The old meter was old and out of calibration. The new smart meter that replaced it is now accurately recording energy usage, and bills are now reflecting that.
2 - There is an internal setting that does need to be correct upon installation of the smart meter. There have been instances where this setting was wrong and people were receiving incorrect bills.

Now I agree in either instance PG&E should come out, identify the cause of the problem, and explain it (or fix it in the event its a setting issue).



.......regarding San Francisco.....do you really want to base a decision on their lead?


Like this comment
Posted by No meters
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Pleas P; you blab, attempting to defend the indefensible.
Sorry you deny fact. I'm all fact and no 'hat' !. You'll find out. Neighbors of cars will now pay more when those 'neighborhood hours' overlap, than they did before smarties 'monitored' and reported on the exact hours of overlap.
If you talk to peons at PG&E, they will only parrot the script they've been given. Surely, you don't think workers at all levels actually 'understand' the big picture. MOST clogs at every level are clueless to HOW the 'new order' of ?science? actually alters life as we knew it....before.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Who is responsible for calibrating the old meters? Who is responsible for certifying the calibration?


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 19, 2010 at 5:46 pm

No meters:

I checked once. Let me check again to make sure I didn't miss it.....nope, still not there. Can you please point out the "fact" I missed in your post...I see a lot of fear mongering, rambling, and a hint of uneducated opinion, but no substantial fact.

Regarding the transition to an hourly metering (which has not occured), you may want to direct your anger at the CPUC who is the governing body pushing for that.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Stacey:

PG&E is obviously. I agree they are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the meters (old and new), but someone really can't complain about getting discounted power and then having it corrected can they?


Like this comment
Posted by Maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 21, 2010 at 10:10 am

All I know is that ever since we had our Smart Meter 'installed' our PG&E bill has been higher than ever before. Usage,even though our household has replaced high-energy consuming appliances with energy saveing appliances (washer/dryer and rarely using our dishwasher or A/C) has risen. But, what can we the consumer/cutomer do about it? How would we prove or disprove the consumption of our utilities?

I do fear it's along the line of Big Brother (looking forward to those future power outages)and PG&E (which has shown itself to be self-serving) will be using the Smart Meters against us in the days to come??


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 21, 2010 at 10:51 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Maja7,

There's products that you can install yourself that measure your energy consumption so that you don't need to rely upon just what PG&E says. One problem is being able to have done it prior to the replacement of your meter.


Like this comment
Posted by No meters
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Pleas P: If you have difficulty...just read a little slower in case you missed, the "quotes" of the CEO in his Detroit speech..his words, not mine !


Like this comment
Posted by Maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 21, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Stacy,
Thanks for the info. I guess I'm 'stuck' now because the Smart Meter has already been installed. But I appreciate the helpfulness of your answer:)


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 21, 2010 at 11:45 pm

No meters -

We're not at a point where plug in vehicles are a reality (to the point they would cause an outage). If you read the comments you've highlighted you'd realize that the point was that increased adoption of plug in vehicles could create a problem but does not now (its a challenge for how to address in the future, but not an impossibility)

Additionally, if someone was concerned about their bill being based on peak usage they would plug in the vehicle later in the evening instead of as soon as they got home and turned on the AC as well.


Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm

M. is a registered user.

Can I order my tinfoil hat online? Is a homemade tinfoil hat effective enough to keep the PG&E though vampires away? I just can't find reliable information on this, any help would be greatly appreciated!


Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm

There has not been one positive comment regarding this supposedly "SmartMeter." I have managed to chase-out the contractor hired by PG&E to install this "monster" in my property. Since then, I have been getting voicemail messages from PG&E, threatening to suspend my electrical service if I do not call and make an appointment for installation. Can they do this? I pay my bills every month, no late payments. This is a frightening conspiracy from a corrupt sub-governmental agency. What happen to America that my father was so proud of when he brought his whole family to 35 years ago. I remember it much to be a more democratic country and now we're closing into what I consider dictatorship. And to top it off, I am being barraged into learning to speak another language. I was under the impression that ENGLISH is the language spoken/written in America.
PG&E stop calling my home.


Like this comment
Posted by Adam Croes
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2010 at 8:39 am

Any consumer who thinks these smart meters are going to make their lives better clearly does not understand the technology.
The more I research it the more I see lobbyists for power companies buying policy to lower their bottom line and increase profits/control, all at the direct expense to the 'customer'. Remember, PGE and SCE are essentially monopolies. When was the last time you saw a company with a monopoly do something nice for it's customer base?
Although it's unfortunate, boycotting is the only solution at this point. If you want to be heard, make noise.
-Adam


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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