SACRAMENTO – California State Senator and Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) indicates he is pleased with this development but won’t be satisfied without real answers for California consumers.
Florez reacted with a wait-and-see attitude to today’s announcement that the California Public Utilities Commission has at long last selected an independent evaluator – a company called Structure — to investigate the accuracy of PG&E’s so-called Smart Meters.
Florez has held numerous hearings into Valley residents’ concerns about the new digital meters, which many feel are responsible for dramatic spikes in utility bills. Some of those who testified indicated their bills tripled – or worse – even after installing energy-saving appliances or while their homes were vacant.
In recent weeks, legislators, concerned residents and the media have been sharply critical of delays of testing, even as PG&E attempted to speed up installation of the questionable meters. Florez is pleased a company has been selected to begin this important work, but will not be satisfied until he sees real results and answers for consumers.
Florez, who was recently named chairman of the newly formed Select Committee on the Smart Grid and announced additional planned hearings, today issued the following statement on the latest development:
“I believe that transparency throughout the entire evaluation process will be one of the key components to consumer confidence in PG&E’s smart meter program, and not to mention the PUC’s commitment to ensuring that the system works. Any hint that information was concealed, or if customers’ complaints are overlooked during this evaluation, then I would argue that the PUC’s efforts were wasted.
“Structure officials should know that the public will be watching and that a public hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Smart Grid will be forthcoming. I’ve said it from day one, simply interviewing customers will not be enough. Structure officials will need to conduct a forensic analysis of individual homes to show what really happened at these locations that resulted in bills doubling and tripling.”
In my opinion one of the primary roles of Government is oversight of public services (including quality and costs). The public hearing to be held by the CA Senate SmartGrid Committee when the selected company (STRUCTURE) reports their findings will be most interesting.