Digital News Report – Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and other electric companies throughout the state and country are working to replace the old fashioned meter-reader-required meters with smart meters.
The city of Watsonville has slapped PG&E with a moratorium on the installation of the new smart meters. Wendy Sarsfield, PG&E Government Relations Officer, had urged the city council to reconsider the 12-month moratorium.
Smart meters are advanced meters that monitor the electrical consumption of power on an hourly basis. The information is sent back to the utility daily.
Few people question the meter’s accuracy, but there were some problems with the planned rollout. The SmartMeter program has been a customer service nightmare. Customer complaints of higher bills were not handled correctly, according to a new report.
But accuracy is not the only complaint. Current meters do not tell the utility when the energy was consumed. Consumer watchdogs are concerned that electric bills may go up. If demand is high, prices may be dependant on the time of day. The elderly and those on a fixed-income may turn their air conditioners off fearing higher rates.
Watsonville has implemented an “emergency” moratorium on the installation of the meters. This will last for 12-months in order for the city to review the matter.
By: Tim Edwards