When Customers Challenge the Wisdom of Smart Meters

first_imgWe’re by now familiar with the notion that smart meters are critical components of smart grids, the digital networks many utilities are developing to tightly monitor electricity usage, route power more precisely to meet demand, and incorporate renewable-energy sources into the delivery system. We’re also becoming familiar with some of the bumps on the road to smart-meter deployment.One of those bumps is customer dissatisfaction with the performance of smart meters – dissatisfaction grounded, in many cases, in suspicion that the meters are not fairly or accurately measuring usage. A recent New York Times story, for example, highlights the atmosphere of “open revolt” among consumers whose homes have been subject to Pacific Gas & Electric’s SmartMeter rollout in Northern and Central Caifornia. One of their principal complaints, aired in October at public hearings led by state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, is that the new meters are clocking more kilowatts, at higher rates, than customers believe they’re using. Some customers complained that, even though their usage in 2009 had dropped below comparable periods in 2008, they still were receiving higher utility bills.PG&E blamed the higher bills on the especially hot summer, and noted that the company has been applying rates approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. The rates have included increases intended in part to help pay for smart meter installations for both electric and gas usage. By the end of October, about 1.7 million PG&E customers had received SmartMeters for electric service, while 2.3 million had received them for gas service. The utility is expected to spend $2.2 billion on installations overall.Florez and other officials imposed on the CPUC to have the meters audited by an independent firm that will use historical and other data to determine their accuracy.Smart-meter accessoriesCustomer irritation with smart meters – which also has authorities in Connecticut and Texas scrutinizing their performance – is likely going to be only the first of many wrinkles in the development of smart-grid infrastructure. But the growth of smart-grid networks also seems inexorable as utilities both in the U.S. and elsewhere seek ways to reduce their operating costs, pinpoint usage patterns, manage pricing, and fine tune delivery. This month in the U.K., the government announced that every household will have a smart meter by 2020.Other utility-based energy efficiency programs also will be put into play more widely, although they’re unlikely to achieve the ubiquity of the smart meter. We’ve noted in previous posts the possibilities and difficulties inherent in trying to reduce energy consumption with the help of in-home energy monitoring gadgets and consumer-oriented software. It’s a bit early to judge the effectiveness of those offerings, although the use of the OPOWER Home Energy Reporting System, which is designed to tell utility customers how their rates of energy use rank relative to those of other homeowners in their service area, seems to be producing positive results. The operative elements behind the OPOWER service: peer pressure and the desire for social approval.last_img read more

Player of the week: Jason Perkins taking his game to next level

first_imgDuterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LATEST STORIES PBA D-League: Kouame stars as Cignal-Ateneo hands St. Clare its first loss Perkins bested Rain or Shine guards Ed Daquioag and Rey Nambatac, Barangay Ginebra big men Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter as well as San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo for the weekly citation.Phoenix faces the winner of the TNT-San Miguel quarterfinals matchup in a best-of-seven semifinals series.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MANILA, Philippines—-Jason Perkins had been solid for Phoenix and he even managed to up the ante on the big stage of the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.ADVERTISEMENT Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles The reigning Rookie of the Year on Sunday played his best game yet as he led the Fuel Masters to their first playoff win and a maiden trip to the semifinals.Perkins starred with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field while also collecting nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and a block as top seed Phoenix knocked off No. 8 Alaska, 91-76, in their quarterfinals matchup.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsREAD: Semis-bound Phoenix just getting started“We worked really hard for this. We get a lot of support from Phoenix [management]. Everyone invested a lot on this, the energy and time so finally getting this one is good,” Perkins said after the game. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew View comments SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READlast_img read more