The latest meters that are being installed in California called ‘SmartMeters’ are causing some concern by consumers who are the first guinea pigs to test the new devices. It seems that once the new meters were installed, consumers saw their electrical bills skyrocket as a result. Pacific Gas and Electric aka PG&E aka Pacific Greed and Extortion, has determined that the new meters are accurate. It was the older mechanical meters that are to blame for under reporting electrical use.

In a recent article it states that:

State regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission ordered the probe into SmartMeter accuracy after widespread complaints from consumers that the meters were causing unusually high bills. The consumer revolt began in Bakersfield and quickly spread throughout Northern California.

The investigation found that the high bills could be traced to other causes, such as increased energy use during last summer’s heat wave or “load changes” like adding a pool or additional room to a house. While finding no accuracy problems with the SmartMeters, it discovered that a small percentage of the older electromechanical meters ran slowly, which would result in higher recorded energy use once the newer SmartMeters were installed.

At a news conference, PG&E executives said they were pleased the SmartMeters had been shown to be accurate but acknowledged that much work remains to regain public trust. “We heard loud and clear that what was lacking was customer communication and customer service,” said PG&E Senior Vice President Helen Burt.

But can the new meters make you sick? Some claim they can:

Indeed, the vast majority of consumers who spoke Thursday said the SmartMeters are making them sick or expressed fear that SmartMeters will increase their risk of brain cancer. Health issues were not within the scope of the investigation.

Several California cities, including Santa Cruz, Sebastopol, Scotts Valley, Capitola, Watsonville and several in Marin County, have sought bans on SmartMeter installations because of health concerns.

It was this one statement that caught my eye:

Smart meters are being installed by utility companies across the United States and around the world, and PG&E’s rocky experience has been the talk of the growing smart grid industry.

So it seems like SmartMeters are coming to an electrical company near you, sometime in the very near future. If you are already using a SmartMeter, share your experience with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – San Jose Mercury News