Glasser: PG&E crossing the line on SmartMeters

Glasser: PG&E crossing the line on SmartMeters
Written by Howard Glasser
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
I’d be interested to know where a public utility company or state regulatory agency could be found guilty of breaching public trust, committing fraud, violating consumer rights and inappropriate and unethical conduct that falls short of the business standards most agencies and businesses are otherwise held to when it has deliberately manipulated and misled the print and broadcast media resulting in a misinformed general public.

No matter how sheltered the California Public Utilities Commission may be, does this excuse it from abiding by the law where its actions would otherwise be judged as criminal?

Here of some examples of Pacific Gas & Electric’s inexcusable transgressions where they have violated the public’s sacred trust:

1. Pointing media to the PG&E Web site which had stated that 39,000 SmartMeters had been installed in Lake County when at that point in time, only 2,500 meters had actually been installed.

2. Declaring a “delay installation” list that customers can be placed on through the PG&E SmartMeter phone line and then ignoring the list and not enforcing it when it comes to SmartMeter installations.

3. Leading the public to believe that an opt-out position would be considered or provided down the line for those customers who choose to opt-out while concurrently beefing up installations of SmartMeters so that by the time this provision was there, it would be moot since the entire deployment would be considered “mission accomplished.” That’s a shell game.

Regardless of the code that the CPUC cites as its operating guidelines, it’s clear that the CPUC is using its mandate as a shield to defend the commission against allegations that could hold water in court.

In matters where it can be shown that the public trust, health and welfare are disregarded and a state regulatory agency yields to industry’s demands while ignoring the people that it is chartered with protecting, I would think that the law provides recourse against such abuses of power.

No matter what the circumstances, the CPUC cannot hold itself above the law and where ethical and legal lines have been crossed, they should be held accountable to the people of California.

Howard Glasser lives in Kelseyville, Calif.
First printed in the Lake County News: Wed April 13 http://lakeconews.com/content/view/19220/927/