My Smart Meter Experience

This site is devoted to sharing research and tools to consumers who have concerns about digital ‘smart’ meters.

I presented My Smart Meter Experience to the Dallas City Council on March 3, 2010. Maybe my experience sounds like yours!

I recently received a shockingly high electric bill and have learned that I’m not alone. Many consumers are complaining that their electric bills report a 200-300% increase in kWh usage since Oncor installed new digital ‘smart’ meters.

When I called the electric company to complain, the representative told me that if they requested a test from Oncor, the results would show the meter was good, it was the newest technology and the old meters were not charging enough. When he came out, the Oncor meter tester said the equipment he used did not verify usage.

An electric company representative said that even with no appliances running, no heat on, and everything unplugged, my home could be using lots of what he called “shadow electricity” (even more than a home with lots of appliances running he said).  He said that if there was a problem with the meter- the electric company did not have to admit it. He said that the TDSP/Oncor was responsible to admit it.

I asked both the Public Utilities Commission and Oncor what organization tested the meters for accuracy prior to installation. They said that the manufacturer and Oncor tested the meters.  Based on my inquiries, it’s unclear to me what accuracy testing was done by any party without a financial interest to the firm or its partners.

I have questions about when, where, how and who is programming the chips of the circuit boards in these digital meters and how they and the associated database management, back office software, and communication systems could be manipulated to favor one entity over another.  I have questions about the component or system supply chain and whether there’s a batch or source pattern to the meters from residences with complaints.

The PUC told me that if people call to complain about the new smart meters- they are not regarded as complaints but rather as “comments” because the PUC had approved the meters.  The PUC told me that if they do investigate a meter problem, they ask Oncor to do the testing.

People across Oncor territory are complaining about this meter– in Dallas, Killeen, Round Rock, Waco, Irving, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Hearne, Mesquite, Cooperas Cove, in California where’s there’s a lawsuit, and in Australia and Canada, for starts.  But at a community meeting February 21, 2010 where Kessler Park residents questioned Oncor abut the meter, a high level Oncor executive said that there were NOT other communities who shared our complaints.

I’d like to see someone step up to the plate on behalf Dallas area residents who are getting high bills and absurd explanations for them.  This system is losing public trust.

Who will advocate for individuals who don’t have the time, clout, energy, or television news present to give them leverage in hashing this out with one on one with Oncor?

I’m concerned that for some people the options will be: be cold, be hot, or be poor.

It also concerned when I heard an elected official suggest that people should sign up for a subsidy program or switch to a new billing company as neither addresses the Oncor smart meter complaint.  Referrals to another state agency with no regulatory power (the Office of Public Utility Counsel/OPC) do not seem helpful either.

I hope you’ll look into this matter before it impacts more of Texas.

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