Consumers Rebel Against PG&E SmartMeters

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Consumers Rebel Against PG&E SmartMeters

Zuzu / Wikipedia

PG&E says smart meters aren't to blame for massive increases in bills first experienced by customers in Bakersfield.

Just how smart are PG&E's new "SmartMeters?" Not smart enough for some.

At a senate hearing on Monday, the utility company admitted that the new meters, which wirelessly transmit data from homes to power companies, sometimes make mistakes. Since the roll out of the new meters began, consumers have been complaining about anomalous spikes in their bills.

Legislators aren't pleased. "We need to know how many meters failed, and how many meters failed to transmit data, and we're finally beginning to get some answers," said Fresno Sen. Dean Florez.

In the wake of widespread complaints from the public, PG&E is scrambling to reassure them. But some customers aren't having it. Some are even going so far as to lock up their old meters so that PG&E can't get to them. It didn't help that PG&E refused to participate in a public forum about the meters last week.

Another cause for concern: closer monitoring of electrical usage could identify Californians growing pot in their homes. Nothing would prevent PG&E from turning that information over to law enforcement.

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