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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" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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