Thursday, October 18, 2012

What can I do about Smart Meter

Hopefully, you have read my first 3 pages to understand why your bill is too high.  So what can you do.
1)  Contact your electric company and tell them I am mad as hell and won't put up with their rate increase.  You will not get any satisfaction here, but they need to hear your complaint.
2)   File a formal complaint at  If you call, they will just forward you back to the electric company who will patiently listen to you and tell you to go back to cpuc. 
2a)  It is important to indicate that you feel your rates have risen since the new smart meter and you wish to go back to the analog meter but don't want to pay their $75 fee or the $10 monthy fee.  Also, be sure to tell them you don't trust their usage figures since they will not provide meter readings.
3)  Contact any and all representitives who will listen to you.  The Governor would not take my call, the district attorney hung up on me,  Senator Feinstein referred me to cpuc.  Your local representitives seem to be the best bet at a minimum.  If you have a city councilman, or mayor, call them.  And follow up on any progress, if any.
4)  Talk with neighbors, friends, colleagues, family members, church groups, or whoever you can to get the message out, and send them to Contact newspapers, radio and TV stations and the like to get the message out.
5)  If you are considering solar to your home, be forwarned that this new rate structure throws all your overproduction into the lowest tier currently $.13 per kwh.  On day one you may be paying $.32 per kwh, but on day 2 if you overproduce they pay only $.13.
6)  E-mail me at to let me know what you think.  I may not respond, but will try to keep you informed if I decide to take this to a class action lawsuit.

I am mad as hell and I need your help because I cannot do this by myself.  You and several million of our friends can make a difference.  Thanks for your time.

Smart meter continued (page 3)

Ok, I know families who own large 2 story homes and set their thermostat to 72 degrees all year.  When it's hot the air kicks on and when it's cold the heater kicks on.  These people can afford their $1000 monthly utility bill and wish to be comfortable at any cost.  The smart meter will not effect these weathly folks much as they are consistently in the high tier.  However, if you are retired or living on limited income and watch your monthly expenses like me, or wish to conserve the new smart meter penalizes you. 

I personally feel that we cannot stop technology and I think the smart meter can be a good way to reduce electrical costs by eliminating low tech jobs.  However, I think a government monopoly such as the electric company should pass through the savings to rate payers.  There is an option to opt out of the smart meter.  There is a $75 charge to replace your existing smart meter if you already have one or you can refuse to have them install the new smart meter for the same $75 fee.  In addition, you will now have a new $10 monthly fee tacked to your bill to read the meter.  No other utility company charges to read their meters. 

I feel that they are using these meters to increase our rates without having to ask some regulator to raise our rates.  What is there to stop them from taking the 16 kwh per day and dividing by 24 hours and allow .67 kwh per hour and charge higher tiers on an hourly basis.  Then the first second you turn on the air conditioner you will be in the highest tier.  The really scarry thing about these smart meters is they can moniter your usage on an hourly basis and see exactly when you use most of your energy.  That is when they will charge you the highest rates.  If you change your behavior, they will see it and immediately change.  Please go to what can I do about Smart Meter.

Smart Meter Continued (Page 2)

It gets worse.  On Sept. 20, 2012, they said I used 102 kwh plus the 18 kwh I produced in ONE DAY!!!  That is 120,000 watts in one day.  To put this in perspective, it is the equivalent of running 50 100 watt light bulbs for a full 24 hours.  That is 6 times my daily summer usage.  They are telling me I used 22% of the full month of my July - Aug. billing period.  Ambient temperature that day was 96 degrees, which was below our peak summer temperatures this year in Nuevo, Ca.  My bill for that day was calculated and billed as follows:  16 kwh @ $.13 + 4.8 kwh @ $.16 + 11.2 kwh @ $.25 + 16 kwh @ $.28 + 54 kwh @ $.32 = $27.41

OK, Let's take an extreme example and assume that we had a heat wave for 7 days straight and I am billed for 102 kwh times 7 days equals 714 kwh as in the example above.  I close up my house, disconnect the electric for the rest of the month on a 30 day billing period.  Under the smart meter the utility company bills me $191.87 for the 30 day billing period.  With the analog meter my bill would be $107.94.  This is a wopping 78% increase in my monthly bill with smart meter.  And according to the electric company, my rates stay the same.  With the smart meter they were able to bill me 27 cents for each kwh I used, while the analog meter I only pay 15 cents for each kwh.  Let's further assume you generate just 7 kwh per day excess electricity for the following 23 days with your solar equipment.  Your bill with smart meter is $170.94, with analog is $74.04 a whopping 131% higher.  This is why I call this the smart meter a ripoff and why your bill is higher.  People who paid to have solar equipment are really getting screwed.

It gets more complicated, because the winter rates start Oct. 1 and go through May 31, so two months of the year they have to prorate your bill because you go down to 10.5 kwh in the low tier rate.  The electric company refuses to give their customers a calendar monthly billing which should be no problem with the new smart meter as they are not read anymore.  Please go to page 3

Smart Meter Rip-off

Have you noticed higher electric bills since Southern California Edison Company replaced your analog meter with the new smart meter.  There are many advantages to this new meter.  It's digital, so it is easier to read, you can moniter your usage online, and the electric company can lay off all meter readers which saves them money.  Did the electric company reduce your rates for that savings?  No, they are actually using the technology to raise your rates without you knowing it.  They actually confuse the public and send you an 8 page bill with all kinds of information regarding transmission charges, delivery charges, taxes and the like.  I am a degreed acountant and find it difficult to figure out.

 Since the electric company has a monopoly to provide your electricity, the government regulates how much they can charge you.  They determined that a small apartment needed a minimum amout of electricity to operate their household per month.   That is how they came up with these tiered rates.  The tiered rates are also meant to encourage conservation.  People with smaller houses would generally use less energy and would not be subjected to the higher rates.  So the government and utilities agreed on a monthly allowance of energy usage.  Currently in my area, they agreed to 480 kwh per month during the summer months, June - September and 315 kwh the rest of the year.  People with analog meters pay 13 cents for the first 480 kwh used during the summer months, 15 cents for the next 144 kwh, 25 cents for the next 336 kwh, 28 cents for the next 480 kwh, and the final tier is 32 cents per kwh.  Because the electric company bills for different number of days in a billing period, they divide this 480 by 30 days which gives you a daily allowance of 16 per day. Their billing period changes from month to month from 28 to 32 days. 

As you can see, it is in the electric company's best interest to shift your rates to a higher tier whenever possible.  Tier 2 is a 16% increase, tier 3 is a 92% increase, tier 4 is 115% increase and the final tier 5 is a whopping 146% more per kwh.  With the older analog meter, your meter is read once monthly and you are charged based on your monthly useage.  If you use less than 16 kwh on average for the billing period you are billed at 13 cents per kwh.  You do not pay higher tier rates until you exceed 480 kwh on a monthly basis.  So if you noticed you are using too much energy at the beginning and middle of the month, you could reduce your usage the rest of the month, maybe go out of town for a week. 

Lets see what happens with the new smart meter.  With this new meter, they no longer give a full 480 kwh at the low tier unless you use the full 16 kwh every day.  Your bill is calculated every day based on that daily usage.  Under this plan you cannot conserve energy another day to reclaim your overusage from a previous day.  This is how they throw you into higher tiers and increase your costs even though you may not be using more energy.  Each day you get 16 kwh, if you exceed that amount you are thrown into a higher tier for that day by this calculation.  You get 4.8 kwh(30% of base) at tier 2 rates, 11.2 kwh(70% of base) at tier 3 rates, 16 kwh(100% of base) at tier 4 rates, and the balance into tier 5 rates.  With central air conditioning on hot summer days it is very difficult to stay in the low tier for the day. 

Here is an annalysis of my August 17 bill.  This billing period was for 29 days, all in the high useage summer period.  I used 454 kwh this billing period.  Under the analog meter all my units would be in the first tier at 13 cents per kwh.  This is because I qualify for 29 days times 16 kwh per day which comes to 464 kwh in the first tier.  454 kwh times 13 cents equal $59.02 which is what my bill would be with the old meter.  They billed me $68.98.  This is a 17% overcharge and this is on a relatively small bill. 

In the understanding your bill, they hide their overbilling by showing your average cost per kwh.  What they do is shrink the tiers to justify their overcharges.  As you can see in the chart, they reduced my tier 1 rates to 287 kwh, 77 kwh in tier 2, and 90 kwh in tier 3.  Based on their average cost per kilowatt hour chart, I should get 30% of my base kwh which comes to 86.  So this chart is not accurate.  They use it to hide the days I went into the 4th tier and did not know it.  Please continue to my next post Smart meter continued.