Smart Meter’s Hidden Costs

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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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PG&E ‘Smart’ Meter Comes to Twain Harte

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Posted by Annie in Twain Harte News on July 31, 2009

As I sit here to write, I am still shaking and mad as a wet hornet. We were just accosted by PG&E. I feel violated and I’m angry, very angry about it.

Here I am lying in bed, fast asleep when I’m awakened by a huge boom noise coming from outside the room I’m sleeping in. I bolt upright in bed, throw on my shoes and run out the door, only to find a man standing near my electric meter and the old meter is laying on the ground.

Devvy fights Smart Meters – Devvy Kidd — My statement to the Texas Public Utility Commission

I had planned to call PG&E and protest their new so-called “Smart Meter.” They sure didn’t waste anytime, we only got notification they were changing our meter out two-days ago.

The problem is they didn’t call, they didn’t make an appointment or anything. The man I found outside my house said, “I knocked on the door and no one answered.”  Well duh, we were sleeping.

The hubby and I both work from home, we were up late last night working on some new projects and this is the worst part, my husband was doing a critical data migration on a clients system. We still don’t know if any data was lost. We initially thought we had lost our router during the abrupt power loss.

After giving their technician a piece of my mind and scolding him for things he has no control over, I came back in the house to call and complain to PG&E. I’ve been sitting on hold now for over 30-minutes and my patience is failing.

I haven’t had the pleasure (dripping with sarcasm) of calling PG&E in ages. I dial their 800 number, only to hear something in chinese, then mandarin, then English. It wasn’t a short something, it was a very long message. I feel like I’ve moved to hell or communist China.

PG&E isn’t helping matters by repeatedly thanking me for my call and making promises that someone will be with me shortly. Of course they give me no indication if shortly is measured in hours, days or weeks.

As I am sitting here I searched google for “PG&E Smart Meter Complaints,” I shouldn’t have been surprised but honestly I am.

My husband and I figured the new “Smart Meter” would not only allow them to read our meter, without having to send out meter readers, but we surmised that they didn’t get the kind of response they were looking for, when they offered people $25 to allow PG&E to monitor their usage and shut them down during times of increased power usage.

Now I’m reading that everyone is complaining of higher electric bills, after their “Smart Meter” is installed. I’ve been very happy with our electric bill for the past several years. We have worked hard to keep our bill down. We’ve taken steps to conserve energy, like turning off lights when they aren’t in use; we disabled our electric base board heaters — over four years ago. We’ve also replaced most of our appliances with Energy Star Compliant ones. This might all be for nothing.

In the past five years we’ve seen our water bill almost double but our electric bill has stayed pretty steady. Now, I’m terrified our bill is going to drastically increase.

I’ll update this if I ever manage to get a “customer service” representative on the phone. I won’t hold my breath.

 According to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), these new services include the ability to turn on and off electricity remotely, instantaneous notification of power outages, and deployment of variable billing rates based on supply and demand of power. [Read higher cost!]

Michael Peevey, head of the state regulatory commission, said, “Without these meters, we will limit the ability of people to truly change their consumption habits.  However, it doesn’t stop at the meters.  Once the customer is informed, we must ensure that there is sufficient incentive to get the customer to take action.”

In the meantime, check out the following links. 

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