Wednesday, March 10, 2010
INSTALL YOUR OWN 'SMART METER'
Recently I attended a local energy/economic summit where the representative of a national homebuilding/development company revealed he had installed his own meter in his home to monitor his electrical use. The one he installed was called TED. If you go to Amazon.Com, you will find a wide range of alternatives, with a wide range of prices. The homebuilder explained that his meter – as opposed to P.G. & E.’s “smart meter” – can better pinpoint usage and allow him to cut back if necessary. Likely it could also help him check the accuracy of the utility company’s controversial “smart meters.”
After some foot-dragging, the California Public Utilities Commission said it would soon select a contractor to test the accuracy of P.G. & E.’s “smart meters,” which have sent some customers’ energy bills soaring. Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, has been hammering away at the CPUC to get an audit going. He also wants a moratorium on installing “smart meters” until the audit is completed.
Customer outrage over this remote monitoring of energy bills is spreading, with utility companies nationwide watching with great concern the “Bakersfield Problem” – so named because the rollout of “smart meters” was spearheaded in blazing hot Bakersfield. Early complaints seemed to be “dismissed” until customers in the Bay Area experienced similar spikes in their energy bills after “smart meters” were installed.
Not all of us can afford to have an electrician come out and install a TED monitor in our homes. But there are cheaper alternatives. And some of us might be using other methods to check up on the accuracy of the “smart meter” attached to their homes, or to curb their energy use.
What are you doing? Post your suggestions here, or e-mail John Hardisty (Jack) at firstname.lastname@example.org.