Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) 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 2 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 also will 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 affects less than 0.08% of the meters 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.
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.
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.