Pacific Gas &Electric remains in the smart meter hot seat in
But while the CPUC waits for the audit results, many PG&E customers remain unhappy – and their state legislators are hearing about it. During the Select Committee’s hearing on April 26th, State Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter) said that many customers are still complaining of skyrocketing costs and bill estimates. He told PG&E that "this is a revolt. The tea party has nothing on smart meters in [
As I’ve blogged before, the problems PG&E has experienced are unlikely to kill the smart meter concept in
At the same time, the consumer anger referenced by Senator Florez should not be minimized. And this consumer push-back goes beyond the question of roll-out problems at a particular company. As last week’s Accenture study shows (see Post # 12), consumers around the world are by no means convinced that they will benefit from smart technology – though they may have to pay for it. And there is the further problem of what many consumers view as their lack of empowerment and exclusion from the process. For example, a notice from the local utility that someone is coming over to a customer’s house to install a smart meter may often be that customer’s first real exposure to the whole smart meter concept.
No matter the particular issue – the cost of smart appliances, utility recovery of smart grid costs, smart meter privacy – most smart technology discussions (whether before government agencies, at conferences, or on-line) have been among energy and IT insiders. As long as consumers view smart technology as a mandate effectively being imposed by an alliance of government agencies with their own agendas and private companies with their own profit motives, consumers will be in no mood to hear about overall societal benefits.