Saturday, May 7, 2011

Post # 67 - PG&E Smart Meter Redux: Utility Will Replace Smart Meters, Issue Customer Refunds

In the continuing saga of Pacific Gas and Electric Company's smart meter roll-out in Northern California, PG&E has announced that it will replace a small number of the smart meters supplied by smart meter giant Landis+Gyr due to what the utility terms a "rare defect" in the meters.

According to PG&E, Landis+Gyr has determined the error affects fewer than 1,600 of the two million meters it supplied to PG&E. The utility will replace the meters at no cost to customers and issue full refunds to customers who received inaccurate bills. The average refund will be about $40 per customer. PG&E will also issue a $25 credit for customer inconvenience and offer a free in-home energy audit to affected customers.

Landis+Gyr meters with the defect occasionally run fast when experiencing a narrow band of high temperatures, resulting in a miscalculation of energy bills. The problem, which according to PG&E affects less than 0.08 percent of the smart meters supplied to the utility by Landis+Gyr, was discovered by PG&E's quality assurance program and the advanced diagnostics available through the SmartMeter technology. If any additional meters malfunction, PG&E states that diagnostic signals will flag the meters for immediate replacement.

PG&E will share the technical analysis of the meter issue with the California Public Utilities Commission for its review, and with the American National Standards Institute, which approves the relevant testing standards for the metering industry.

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