PG&E SmartMeter Complaints

October 17, 2009 5:14:09 PM PDT
PG&E officials said smart meters have nothing to do with their customers bills being higher. They attribute that to a rate hike that started back in March. PG&E has fielded several calls about their smart meters. In fact, they have set up an answer center here at the Holiday Inn near F.Y.I.. If you have questions about your smart meter, they will help you and even come to your home to test its accuracy.

PG&E customers flocked to the company's Downtown Fresno office Friday, many of them complaining about their newly installed smart meters.

"My bill is a lot higher and it's just me and my husband."

"I'm scared to cook a bag of popcorn because this electricity is killing us."

A few months ago, Anthony Carrillo's PG&E bill averaged about 220-dollars a month. He said, since the company installed a smart meter outside his Clovis home, his bill now averages about $600-dollars a month.

"I think them smart boxes are a bunch of bologna because it's just screwing a lot of people in Fresno. That line earlier was about a 2 and a half hour wait with just shut-offs, people who can't pay their bills, people who are struggling."

PG&E officials said these smart meters have nothing to do with their customers bills being higher. They attribute that to a rate hike that started back in March.

Still, PG&E admits it's something they did not prepare their customers for.

"We should have done a much better job in explaining to customers that this rate increase is taking place and when you get into these summer months and start using more energy that could have a dramatic impact on your bills."

One of the leading critics of smart meters is South Valley state senator Dean Florez.

He's helped convince the public utilities commission to mandate that PG&E hires a third party to test the accuracy of smart meters.

"Were moving in the right direction, when you have hearings and ask the right questions hard you can actually get some actions taken."

Except for Sunday, the answer center will be open from 10 until 7 through Friday.

Meanwhile, Senator Florez will hold a town hall meeting to discuss these issues. It will be in Fresno on Wednesday at 6:00 inside the State Building.

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