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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

PG&E's New Definition of 'A Few' Faulty SmartMeters: 43,000

Posted By on Tue, May 11, 2010 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge 'A few' problems found with this SmartMeter and its bretheren
  • 'A few' problems found with this SmartMeter and its bretheren
After earlier insisting that only "a few" of its SmartMeter customers were incorrectly billed, PG&E has now been forced to admit it has no idea what the total is -- but tens of thousands were installed improperly and even more were just not working correctly.

Growing numbers of customer complaints led the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate Pacific Gas & Electric; that led to yesterday's disclosure of hundreds of pages of documents regarding the SmartMeters, which send information via wireless technology.

Well, they also send misinformation. Contrite PG&E officials on Monday admitted they turned up 43,376 problematic SmartMeters; 23,000 installed improperly; 11,376 that did not retain consumer usage information; and 9,000 that encountered problems in connecting up with the wireless network. The "vast majority" of the 23,000 customers whose meters weren't properly installed likely received inaccurate bills -- they could be too high, they could be too low, they could have no correlation whatsoever to reality. PG&E just isn't sure.

Those 667 pages of reports can be perused here.

PG&E officials claimed that 99 of every 100 of its SmartMeters is working just fine. It warrants mentioning, however, that 1 percent represents 50,000 utility cusomters. And you don't need a SmartMeter to know that's a hell of a lot of people.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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