Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will replace a small number of the electric SmartMeters supplied by Landis+Gyr due to a rare defect in the meters. 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.
"We take this issue very seriously and will do the right thing for our customers. We are committed to accurate metering and billing and will contact our affected customers immediately and issue full refunds," said Greg Kiraly, Vice President, SmartMeter Operations.
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 affects less than 0.08 percent of the SmartMeters supplied to PG&E 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, the diagnostic signals will flag the meters for immediate replacement.
"We are confident that we have identified the small population of meters with this defect based on the diagnostic flags and extensive additional testing in our labs and in the field," said Jerry Figurilli, Chief Operating Officer for Landis + Gyr North America.
PG&E will share the technical analysis of the meter issue with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for its review, and with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which approves the relevant testing standards for the metering industry.
PG&E is installing SmartMeters throughout its service area in keeping with California's statewide policy to provide customers with more affordable, reliable and environmentally sustainable energy services. As verified in independent tests, SmartMeters remain the most accurate and reliable tools for measuring customer energy use. The meters give customers more control over their energy use and bills by letting them see how much energy they consume each hour and each day. The meters will also help PG&E and other utilities pinpoint electrical outages so service can be restored more quickly. They are an integral component of a larger national smart grid program, which will modernize the electric system and permit increased use of clean, renewable energy.