South Bay couple confronts PG&E over SmartMeters

September 2, 2010 8:49:02 AM PDT
The biggest complaint about SmartMeters is the huge spike in bills that many have seen. That was certainly the case for a Mountain View family and so far, there is no explanation.

An angry homeowner confronted a PG&E spokesperson about her SmartMeter back in June. PG&E originally insisted there was nothing wrong with it, but Alexei Kacharovsky and his wife Vera persisted.

After 7 On Your Side got involved, the utility discovered two communication issues with the meter and agreed to replace it. The change with the new meter was dramatic.

"I'm using 9.1 kilowatts a day," Alexei said.

That's the daily electricity usage measured by the new SmartMeter installed June 15. It was half of what it was in each of the three months prior under the first SmartMeter, but PG&E insists the original SmartMeter was accurate.

"We did two tests of the first SmartMeter that we put on their house. To further resolve, we actually took that SmartMeter and sent it to an independent lab," Matt Nauman from PG&E said.

Testing by both PG&E and a state lab found the original SmartMeter was working properly, but Alexei isn't buying it. He says he hasn't changed how much electricity he's using.

It's obvious what happened. I can believe only my eyes here," he said.

The differences between the two meters are as much a mystery to PG&E.

"We been unable to explain why the usage increased when the first SmartMeter was installed, because the test showed that those meters were measuring accurately," Matt said.

What it says it does know is that the original SmartMeter has passed all tests and so has the new one.

To make sure, PG&E installed an old analog meter alongside the new SmartMeter and has been comparing the results.

"It's a three month test and with a little more than two months into it and it shows that the meter is reading accurately. Very similar results from the analog and electric SmartMeter," Matt said.

PG&E has offered Alexei a $1,400 credit on his bill which it says brings his charges back down to where it was historically. So far Alexei is refusing, and he just wants his SmartMeters removed.

The results of the state's five-month investigation into smart meters will be released Thursday at 10 a.m. and the state is providing a live webcast. You can also listen to it by calling 800-857-1917 and using the passcode 92105.


Load Comments