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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE
CPUC: Terrie Prosper, 415.703-1366, firstname.lastname@example.org
Structure: Phyllis Goodson, 910.616-9160, email@example.com
CPUC ANNOUNCES START OF STRUCTURE'S
FIELD METER TESTING OF ITS INDEPENDENT EVALUATION
OF PG&E SMART METERS
SAN FRANCISCO, May 13, 2010 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today announced that The Structure Group, an industry leader in consulting services and business solutions for the energy and utilities industries, has started the field meter testing portion of its independent evaluation of Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) electric Smart Meters.
Last month, StructureTM was selected by the CPUC to conduct an independent evaluation of PG&E's Smart Meters in response to accuracy complaints received by the CPUC. Structure will focus on key areas including meter accuracy, end-to-end system performance, customer high bill complaints, and Smart Meter deployment practices used by PG&E.
Structure will collect and examine extensive data to determine whether PG&E's Smart Meter system is measuring, collecting, and billing electric usage accurately, both now and since Smart Meter deployment began.
Structure's independent evaluation will include verifying PG&E's installation practices by selecting a sampling of meter installations scheduled to be performed later this month. As part of this process, Structure will pull meters directly from the stock from the manufacturer to test in a lab environment, observe the Smart Meter installation process, and retest the Smart Meter on-site. Structure will also test the electromechanical meter that is being removed to determine if it is outside an established tolerance level.
Additional testing utilizing shadow meters, sometimes referred to as side-by-side meters, will involve the installation of a second lab-calibrated meter that will be installed at select customer locations. These meters will be used to establish the accuracy of the customer meters already installed by performing a weekly check of accuracy and to monitor billing of these accounts through at least one bill cycle. The results of the weekly check will be posted on a public forum.
Structure will also perform accuracy tests of a random selection of already installed Smart Meters. This testing will include the removal of the installed Smart Meter, placing the Smart Meter on on-site meter testing equipment, and running a series of tests on these meters prior to having the meter reinstalled. Structure will supplement the accuracy testing of the Smart Meters with a review of how past data recorded by the meter was received and processed by PG&E's back-end systems, including whether the systems properly handled exception conditions, such as communication issues, that sometimes occur in a typical Smart Meter system.
Structure will perform lab tests on a number of meters to determine how the meters react to various environmental conditions and how the PG&E system recognizes and treats abnormal data when introduced in the lab testing environment. Structure will compare the results from field and lab testing along with the review of PG&E's documentation on past and current operational and deployment policies, processes, and procedures against a framework of industry best practices. Structure will conduct analyses of the high bill customer complaints to determine the underlying nature of the complaint as well as looking at usage patterns prior to the installation of the Smart Meters.
Structure will perform the evaluation across representative samples of the meter population from high bill complaints from those officially filed with the CPUC, those provided by the office of Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter), and those gathered directly from PG&E. Customers whose meters have been selected for testing will be contacted by mail and/or by a representative of Structure to describe the process and coordination of the test, starting the week of May 17, 2010.
The outcome of the independent evaluation will be provided to the CPUC by Structure in a report later this summer.
To submit a complaint about your Smart Meter, the CPUC can be contacted at www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/CEC/e_complaint/a_utilitycomplaint.htm or call 1-800-649-7570, or write to CPUC, Consumer Affairs Branch, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102. There is also an online form to file a complaint at https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/.
Additional information about the CPUC's independent evaluation is available at: www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Demand+Response/solicit.htm.
Structure is a leading provider of business advisory and consulting services to the energy and utilities industries. Structure relies on deep industry expertise and proven methodologies to deliver projects across Distribution Operations and Automation / Smart Grid, SCADA and Energy Management Systems, Competitive Energy Market Solutions, and Energy Trading and Risk. For more information, visit www.thestructuregroup.com.