SmartMeter mystery is headache for homeowner

May 26, 2010 6:25:26 PM PDT
7 On Your Side has been hearing many complaints about PG&E's SmartMeters, but never one like this -- a new meter being installed and no one being told about it.

This complaint came from long-time KGO Radio news anchor Rosie Allen. She ran into a meter issue when her bill went down.

"Got my PG&E bill for gas only, so of course I call up and I say, 'Hey, I am only being billed for gas.' So the tech on the phone says, 'I'll have you read your meter and then we'll send you an interim bill.' So I trot out here with my little cell phone and I am going to read the meter, and I say, 'Oh I have a SmartMeter,' and he says, "No you don't. We have no record of that,'" Allen said.

Allen's meter is clearly a SmartMeter, but nearby homes all have the old analog meters.

So how did Allen get a SmartMeter? She asked PG&E and was told it was a mystery.

"This meter is tied to an address in Tracy and we don't know how it got here," Allen said.

So now, PG&E has a brand new SmartMeter problem, the devices, it seems, are installing themselves.

PG&E spokesperson Jeff Smith says a utility crew performed a routine replacement of a line running to Allen's meter. A decision was made to go ahead and replace the meter too, but no one was ever told.

"There were two mistakes that took place; there was an error in not notifying Ms. Allen that a switch was taking place and the paperwork was not properly filed at our office so we could respond to Ms. Allen when she called," Smith said.

But was the SmartMeter even working?

"It was hooked up and it was measuring usage, however it wasn't being read as of yet," Smith said.

Now that everything has been sorted out, PG&E says the meter reading is in line with Allen's historic usage and that she can pay her bill over time.


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