New report confirms accuracy of SmartMeters
September 3, 2010
A new study by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) concludes that the SmartMeters used by PG&E are accurate and not to blame for a recent spike in electric bills. [Press Democrat]
However, the $1.4 million study, released Thursday at a CPUC meeting, does not address health concerns that have been raised by PG&E customers in northern California and Bakersfield.
The study was commissioned after hundreds of PG&E customers in mainly the San Joaquin Valley complained last year that their utility bills skyrocketed after the high-tech SmartMeters were installed at their businesses or homes.
After five months of review, The Structure Group of Houston concluded that the meters that were a part of the analysis performed within accepted margins of error
The report said installation of the meters in the Central Valley last year coincided with a heat wave and rate increases, leading to higher-than-average utility bills for some PG&E customers.
The report also found that PG&E fostered widespread confusion about its own program by failing to address customer complaints, by confusing billing practices and in some cases by failing to notify customers about their new meter installation.
“We are pleased that The Structure Group’s detailed analysis confirms the integrity of our meter program and provides assurance to customers that our meter readings are accurate,” PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Helen Burt said Thursday.
But now critics want the focus to shift to health concerns over the SmartMeters. Some fear the radio frequencies used to transmit data from Smart meters, as well as electronic emissions from laptops, cell phones, TVs and other devices, can cause “electrical sensitivity” and health problems ranging from chronic fatigue, headaches and insomnia, to heart ailments and cancer.