PG&E smart meter assessment report

In a recent Smart Meter Semi-Annual Report PG&E provides an overview of their current smart meter deployment status.

Highlights of this report include:

  • By the end of 2011 PG&E had nearly 9 million electric and gas smart meters installed in California. (roughly 91% of its customers)
  • There are 835,711 meters remaining that have not been replaced with smart meters.
  • PG&E claims to have “pioneered” an opt out alternative for their customers.
  • Customers protesting smart meters are principally concerned with the radio frequency (RF) smart meters emit.
  • In April 2011 PG&E established an extended delay list that includes customers who:    1) refused PG&E’s attempts to install;  2) notified PG&E that they intended to remove their smart meter upon installation;  3) failed to provide PG&E with access to their residences (e.g. locked gate, unleashed dog), despite multiple attempts;  4) called PG&E to request the smart meter be removed;  5) removed their smart meter on their own.
  • Roughly 175,000 customers were sent a certified letter informing them of the opt out program.
  • 14,904 customers have asked to opt out of smart meters, and 6,730 have agreed to have a smart meter.
  • 5,042,000 smart meters are “activated” which means the wireless data is transmitting and recording properly. [That leaves over 3.5 million smart meters  NOT performing as intended]
  • The PG&E smart meter program is expected to exceed the CPUC authorized cost cap of 2.206 million.
  • 22,000 customers showed an interest in accessing their utility data online.  [In the CPUC Decision that authorized smart meters the CPUC expected a 21% customer participation in monitoring utility use through the Home Area Network ]
  • [Supposed] Benefits of “activated” smart meters totaled just under $2.00 per meter per month for electric and just over $1.00 for gas.  [The benefits is mainly due to “meter-reading savings”, ie:  jobs lost]
  • In 2011, roughly 33,000 electric smart meters were removed due to suspected hardware failures, and approximately nearly 16,000 gas smart meters have failed.  (see chart p.26)
  • PG&E is also having problems with billing and data collection failure. They note thousands of meters where complete data was not retrieved.  [Although they point out that an “accurate bill can be generated in most cases.”

[In all the PG&E documents I have read they always put the best case scenario on paper.  I believe we are now starting to see an indication that millions of CA customers have footed the bill for a program doomed to fail,  due to cost overruns, consumer revolt and disinterest, and poor equipment performance…and there’s no mention of the inevitable security problems, yet…]

6 thoughts on “PG&E smart meter assessment report”

  1. These meters will not save you money. It is a trick! Some neighbors have them and say that their bill is either higher or the same? Smart, yes they outsmart you again! Why not leave this smart stuff out of the equation. BASICS works and also saves jobs!!!! Also your health.

  2. Very informative article.
    The fact that 3.5 million SmartMeters have been installed, are indeed transmitting but the radio network for the SmartMeters that they call a smart grid is not operating is quite disturbing. That means that 3.5 million SmartMeters are transmitting for nothing, wasting energy and bombarding people with RF radiation just so PG&E could make the sale complete. Never mind if their product is useless, as long as they made their money, everything is “que bueno”.
    And the report that only 22,000 people showed interest in viewing their previous electrical usage online is also disturbing, but not surprising.
    The report said that this online usage comes from Home Area Networks systems is completely false.
    The HAN systems are entirely paid for by the customer and can monitor only customer purchased appliances. This data is NOT sent to the SmartMeters or repeated to the utility over the radio smart grid. This HAN data is for in home use only, and has nothing at all to do with what customers can see online.
    What the customers can see online is usage data from the utilities central servers, and the data that the utility servers have may or may not be derived from the SmartMeters.
    One thing that I am aware of that PG&E has not yet included in their sales brochures is the Green Button program. Do an internet search of “Green Button”
    Currently, PG&E and SDG&E are implementing the program.
    It is where customers can set up an account online to view their previous electrical use online. This is not real time data, only previous usage going back starting at least 24 hours ago.
    So this is how the government and corporations justify their expensive, exotic programs, thinking that customers actually care about how much energy they used 2 days ago. Guess what, there is not much interest and absolutely no benefit to this expensive program. And how is that supposed to save energy and money to the customer.
    Customers need a computer, and a broadband cable connection to see this data, and they must have the time to fiddle with setting up the accounts. The whole thing is a sham, it was created to sell computers, cable services, meters and the radio smart grid equipment.
    From as business standpoint, the scheme was brilliant. These are some tough times for individuals and large multi national corporations too, but every one of these corporations and government officials involved in pushing the SmartMeter and smart grid radio equipment has come out of this recession smelling like a rose.
    If nobody wants this wireless junk and returns it all, it won’t matter at all to the sellers or promoters because this a one shot no refunds deal.
    And if the economy totally collapses, these SmartMeter sellers have already made a fortune, enough so even their grandchildren will never have to work a day in their life.

  3. I forgot to mention the most important part of the green button project.
    This program is a national implementation program that is funded with federal tax money and private utility and manufacturing corporations. Obviously, it is the utility ratepayers who are donating the utility share of the costs.
    One of the main features is that the telecommunication companies are developing applications to run on smart phones to view previous electric consumption on smart phone devices remotely. The monthly cost of a smart phone with a data package is around $90 per month, that is in addition to the $60 per month for broadband cable service.
    True, most people are not going to run out and buy computers and smart phones just to view their previous electrical use, but a few might get suckered into purchasing just to access the green button program.
    This is just another greenwash program developed to sell electronic products so the government/corporations can claim that they are helping customers reduce total load on the electrical grid, but it is a sham.
    Why would anybody bother to use their data time on a smart phone to call the utility just to find out how much electricity their meter reported using 2 days ago ? And why would anybody want their account information and usage history broadcast on a mobile phone network or a wired internet network ? That is the only way a third party could ever access this information, and even though it is not real time data, it could be a problem for some people.
    To me, it makes no sense at all.
    And I did read this recent report about progress about the SmartMeter program.
    It did not mention the HAN program anywhere that I could find, so whoever wrote this article here just threw that in , which I think is not a wise thing to do.
    Also, the report said that the first generation SmartMeters used a powerline carrier, not the mesh radio network (smart grid).
    That makes sense to me, because I have talked to some PG&E employees when they first started the SmartMeter program and they told me that the SmartMeters used a powerline carrier.
    I also talked to a contractor who managed the installation of the radio networks for the second generation SmartMeters. He told me what I also read that was written by an engineer.
    They tried the powerline carrier for transmitting electrical billing data, but found that our old iron core transformers did not pass the PLC signals very well.
    In order to use PLC, the electrical power grid would have to be upgraded first, using power electronics . That would involve changing out all the transformers to be electronic ones, far too costly. So that is why they went with the 900MHz UHF (not microwave) radio system for the Smart electric meters. Iz mo cheepah.

  4. All this secrecy about the SmartMeters and how their first generation powerline carrier system went clunk, makes me wonder what else PG&E is not telling their customers.
    Obviously, the PLC revenue collection system was a failure, and that could explain the inaccurate readings and other malfunctions with the meter reads.
    But, all of these first generation meters that were installed had to be recalled and replaced. That is just the meters that were installed, but how many were actually paid for by the ratepayers ? It could be that millions of meters were ordered and charged to the ratepayers, and then had to be junked because they won’t work unless the electric power grid is updated first to be what they call “smart”. There are plans for PG&E to start upgrading the electrical power grid said to start in one to two years, but that will take 10 years to complete once started, so the PLC meters are junk now. PG&E is guilty of the classic saying “haste makes waste”.
    So, this big blunder with the first generation of SmartMeters was just the beginning of the ripoff and cover up.
    I wonder how many 10’s of millions of the ratepayers dollars were plundered in this big blunder ? And never even one word about in the mainstream media.
    PG&E and the CPUC are rotten to the core, and I am mad about how they foolishly force useless junk on the ratepayers. RECALL ALL THE SMART METERS AND THE SMELLY HORSES THAT THEY RODE IN ON !

  5. Two weeks ago I had PG & E pull both SmartMeters (gas and electric) off my house and replace them with standard meters. They said it would cost me $70 one-time and then $10 more per month to have the standard type meters (meter reader has to come out and read the meters). I said “Cool! Do it!” And so they did.

    Now if I can just figure out how to turn the dials back…..

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