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PG&E E7 NEM smart meter

Discussion in 'California' started by Merrill, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    I still have the dumb meter from 2010 when I installed my solar system. I'm wondering if someone could tell me if they are on E7 NEM with a smart meter if they noticed any change in their billing after the smart meter was installed. They want to install a smart meter on my solar and just wondering if they are really smart.
     
  2. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    It just reports the same data automatically so they dont have to come out and read it. Its easier I assume for them to reprogram the meter also. I did not notice any difference in billing.
     
  3. Jeffgtx

    Jeffgtx Member

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    The benefit of a smart meter is you can get a device that talks to it and track your usage data real time.
     
  4. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    Smart meters give you way better data both in frequency and near real-time reporting. It also enables a smarter grid where EV and solar become the norm and metaphorically speaking, the grid can breathe in and out like a lung. The amount of energy metered does not change and will be accurate. The smart meter replacement is also free.

    - K
     
  5. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    I am surprised you don't have a smart meter. Its not something you opt into. Maybe a problem in your area?

    Anyway unless your old mechanical meter was running slower or faster than it should, the bill will be the same. BTW the data collected is only your net, not your usage. You would have to balance that with your production to determine your usage, but of course you may not care if your net is negative.
     
  6. kf93

    kf93 Member

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    It should help with time of use metering, you are being charged by PGE to do the time of day metering that is automatic with a smart meter. From the rate sheet:"Ongoing daily Time-of-Use (TOU) meter charges applicable to customers takingvoluntary TOU service under this rate schedule will no longer be applied if the customerhas a SmartMeterTM installed. "

    With solar you want TOU so you benefit from the afternoon production at the higher cost.
     
  7. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    He must have a digital bidirectional net energy meter, but one that does not report its data wirelessly. My in-laws had a meter like this until about June 2012. It accumulates energy usage data in pre-programmed time periods. This kind of meter is one reason that the PUC has not forced PG&E to follow the current DST schedule. The meter can be programmed and read by a serial optical communication cable that is placed against the front of the meter. Imagine RS-232 with a LED and photo-diode for transmitting and receiving.

    The meter charge rate that is waived with SmartMeter usage is 4.9c/day. Not really much of a motivating factor. That said, I don't see any downside to letting them install the SmartMeter. Well, unless you're partial to tin-foil hats.
     
  8. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Thanks for all the info, they said they will be installing a smart meter within the next month. I hope it will be a benefit, the smart meter on my second meter has been accurate since it was installed in 2013.
     
  9. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    PG&E did not install SmartMeters for solar customers at the same time as they installed the meters for the non-solar customers because the back-end billing system was not yet capable of producing the NEM/TOU bills from the SmartMeter data. I finally got mine two years ago, so I am surprised that Merrill's is this late.

    Yes, I was unhappy that PG&E delayed installing my SmartMeter for something like three years after doing most of the homes in my neighborhood. For my E-9 rate schedule the fee was about $.22 per day, but for those E-7 customers who started before 2007 and took the alternative of paying the ~$200 meter fee up front, then the fee is less than $.04 per day.

    The only disadvantage of the SmartMeter I've observed is that it does not display the totals for the TOU periods as the older semi-smart meter did. Instead the hourly data is transmitted to PG&E and the totals for the TOU periods must be calculated from the hourly data according to the TOU schedule.

    You can download the SmartMeter data from the PG&E website if you have created an account there, but the data is not available until the next day. Alternatively, you can install equipment to access the data from your meter and make it available via a computer in real time.
     
  10. cpa

    cpa Member

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    One comment and one question:

    I spoke to a solar representative at PG&E a couple of months ago on an issue with my smart meter during an extended power outage at night. She told me that the CSR-types at PG&E have been clamoring for more detailed reporting from said smart meters to be able to deal with customer calls, complaints and concerns. She said that the software types were going to work on a program that would reflect both received and delivered electricity for each hour of the day. This information would be available to us customers as well on our "My Account" section of PG&E's website. This data would provide us with the gross amounts, not the net amounts for each hour. She was not sure as to when this would become available, but she had hoped that it would be by the end of 2016.

    Now my question: Since my background is in accounting and auditing with a touch of fraud investigation, how do we consumers really know that our electrical (or gas) meters are, indeed, accurate? What controls are in place at utilities to ensure the accuracy of their meters? I know of no testing service or equipment that we can use to verify over a lengthy period of time that what the meter displays is accurate to a very small number (maybe a milliwatt-hour?) I concede that any one "average" user would not accumulate more that about 10-15 cents per year of a putative overcharge, but when we consider the tens of millions of meters out there, could not any utility reap millions of dollars of unjust enrichment because of faulty equipment? You can be assured that they aren't losing much money if the meters underreported usage!
     
  11. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    They installed my Smart meter today, the gentleman who installed it said only recently did PG&E have a smart meter that worked with a net metering solar system. What ever recent is I have no clue, and the only way for me to check to see how this meter works compared to the older unit is off of my spread sheet that I have from 2010 to now which is done on a monthly basis. We will see.
     
  12. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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  13. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Oh, quit monkeying around.
     
  14. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Smart meter with Solar is not new, but on the E7 plan is (since late 2011). E7 had a small window around 2008 to get solar (like 90 days if you knew about it) and then we were locked out. Later they changed the plan to allow E7 and NEM with new meters. Now it sounds like this may be short lived as the rumor is that they want to terminate E7 and move us all to another plan.
     
  15. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    Put it this way. The meters have to be accurate because the law says so, and they are. They are tested by public regulators or their delegates. Also, keep in mind that PG&E and all California investor-owned utilities are decoupled. This means, they do not make more money the more energy they sell. That's right, read that sentence again. :) They are actually incentivized to operate efficiently and can make an authorized return on the installed capital base.

    How much electricity PG&E sells, for example, does not impact the profit line at all. This is why PG&E is so proactive about things like solar or energy efficiency audits or giving away free LED light bulbs at community events. A company that makes more money by selling more power, would never do that. This law that is enacted in California, has led to our state having a flat per-capita consumption curve for the last few decades while the nation kept using more energy per capita. But I digress.

    If I want to audit the meter data, I can do so via my SunPower app. I have solar on my roof and SunPower installs a power monitor that gives you gross and net. It graphs it out really nicely too. :) So there are ways. And in my experience as one customer, the meters are accurate.

    - K
     
  16. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    That's interesting. The meter can't tell how much energy is being produced by the solar system and consumed locally rather than being pushed out to the grid, though; it can only tell if the local consumption is more or less than what's being produced.
     
  17. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    That's correct. I have a smart meter, and the PG&E hourly charts are all net to/from the utility. They don't include energy consumed before it hits the meter. I separately monitor my consumption and generation, and can confirm this.
     
  18. kf93

    kf93 Member

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    I wish we had more detail also. We've only had solar since April so I haven't been through a winter cycle yet. The summer was a huge boom season banking up a ton of power but our production fell off the cliff this month and usage was also very high. I can't tell if usage went way up and production went down or if it was just one or the other.
     
  19. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    NEM Smart Meters have been available from PG&E since 2012. I got one with my initial solar interconnect in December 2012 and my in-laws had theirs changed from a digital non-smart NEM to Smart NEM sometime around June or July 2012. Maybe in utility time scale this is "recent". In terms of technology cycles, in my opinion, this is definitely not recent.

    Some PG&E Residential SmartMeters, like mine, accumulate in 15 minute intervals while others accumulate in hourly intervals. I have no idea where and why they apply different intervals.
     
  20. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    Mine was not installed until May, 2013.

    My SmartMeter is a GE I-210+ model. My download data is only in hourly intervals, but I would prefer 15-minute. My home is located in Sunnyvale not far from Los Altos.
     

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