• Letter to the editor re PG&E SmartMeters


    I am a retiree of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a non-for-profit technical R&D organization for the electric power industry.

    Regarding concerns expressed by your guest commentator in the February 25 “Smart Meters: It’s Time to Take Action”, I disagree with her call to take action, and I want to tell you what I know.

    Health – The health hazard perceived by some people is radio waves. Radio and TV have been emitting waves for a long time. Now we have cell phones, cordless phones, WiFi, baby monitors, garage door openers, and many other devices emitting radio waves. In this respect, the SmartMeters are no different. Public exposure to emissions from Smart Meters is far less than FCC standards, and less than from many other electronic devices in use.

    Hacking – Since transmissions of kwh readings are encrypted, a great effort would be required on the part of a hacker.  I see little incentive anyway.

    Accuracy  –  A few PG&E customers have complained about increased bills after the old meter was replaced. The California Public Utility Commission funded an independent study that showed SmartMeters, statistically, were actually more accurate. In some cases, the old mechanical meters were worn and under-reporting. In some other cases, a contractor had installed the new meters incorrectly.

    Deployment of SmartMeters is important because they are the key component of the smart grid. Perceived objections are outweighed by future benefits which include:

    ·         Overall efficiency improvement by load leveling. This will reduce greenhouse gases, reduce operating cost, and ultimately lower rates.

    ·         Quicker response to outages.

    ·         A more reliable grid, reducing the risk of major black-outs.

    -Robert Frischmuth, Pacific Grove


    posted to Cedar Street Times on February 28, 2011

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News


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