Smart Meter’s Hidden Costs


Posted by Annie in Twain Harte News on August 2, 2009

I spent over an hour on hold waiting for someone — anyone — to answer the phone at PG&E. After the customer service representative patiently listened to me strongly complain, he basically said, “We don’t care. Deal with it,” and passed me off on someone else.

Devvy Kidd fights the TPUC and Smart Meters

I was informed that my call was recorded but that until I sent a written complaint my words were falling on deaf ears; Nobody was going to hear my complaint, save the flunky answering the phone, who was very polite if completely ineffective.

smart_meterIn the meantime, I’ve been reading up on these so-called “Smart Meters.” They are smart alright, they are going to make PG&E untold billions of dollars off consumers, because while they taunt the savings and controls consumers will have — notice the future tense.

The immediate payoff will be for PG&E, these new Smart Meters will allow them to accurately measure our usage and charge accordingly.  Currently, our bill is measured in “tiers,” which basically means, once I reach a certain point of usage, I start paying more.

With the new Smart Meters, the “tiers” will be based on the clock and the season. Those who use more electricity during “peak hours,” will be charged more. No wonder people are complaining about their bills going up.

Since we don’t have air conditioning and I do all my laundry in the middle of the night, I’m thinking our bill won’t go up too much, but I’m certain everyone’s bill will go up with these new meters installed. Why else would PG&E invest in so many, so quickly? They haven’t even been properly tested.

The best website I found that explains the way it works in Ontario was created by Northern Ontario Wires. They offer a great deal of helpful consumer information. This is what they have to say about California’s new technology:

Other jurisdictions such as Californiaare actively pursuing the same technology. On July 20, 2006, California’s energy regulators approved a program to roll out of conventional meters retrofit with communications co-processor electronics to 9 million gas and electric household customers in the Northern California territory of PG&E.

These meters report electricity consumption on an hourly basis. This enables PG&E to set pricing that varies by season and time of the day, rewarding customers who shift energy use to off-peakperiods.

The peak pricing program will start out on a voluntary basis, and the full rollout is expected to take five years.. The smart grid also allows PG&E to give customers timing and pricing options for upload to the grid.

Learn more about Smart Meters

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