Frequently Asked Questions and Help

How the SmartMeter™ system works and what it can do for you

The SmartMeter™ system collects electric and natural gas usage data from your home or business. SmartMeter™ electric meters record residential electric usage hourly and commercial electric usage in 15 minute increments. SmartMeter™ natural gas modules attached to gas meters record gas usage daily. This data is periodically transmitted to us via a secure wireless communication network.

If you are a residential customer, we offer several convenient ways for you to opt-out of the SmartMeter™ Program:

  • Online: Visit the SmartMeter Opt-Out page to learn more and to submit your meter preference online.
  • At your local PG&E office: You may submit your opt-out request by visiting your local PG&E office.
  • By phone: Call our dedicated 24-hour SmartMeter™ line at 1-866-743-0263 to use our automated phone system, or speak to a SmartMeter™ representative to submit your opt-out request.

Protecting our customers' information is a top priority. PG&E applies the same privacy protection standards to all data collected by the company from customers including the usage data collected by the SmartMeter™ system. We treat each customer's personal information and data as confidential, consistent with all regulatory requirements, including those established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). See PG&E's Customer Information Privacy Policy.

PG&E uses wireless radios attached to an electric meter to send customer usage information securely and wirelessly with its SmartMeter™ devices to PG&E for data collection. This technology allows our customers to better manage their energy consumption. For more information, see the Understanding Radio Frequency page.

The SmartMeter™ system lets you track your energy use anytime throughout the month, so you can make smart decisions and control your energy costs.

SmartMeters™ are available to all PG&E customers. Most PG&E customers will have SmartMeters™ installed in 2012. Some of our residential customers have chosen to opt-out of the SmartMeter™ Program in favor of analog meters.

The SmartMeter™ system will allow PG&E to read your meter without setting foot on your property and without interrupting your schedule.

In the future, the SmartMeter™ program will help us improve your service by giving us the ability to pinpoint power outages and restore your power faster.

You do not need to be present for the upgrade, but we will need unobstructed access to the meter(s). And going forward, we'll collect your meter readings without setting foot on your property.

It takes less than 15 minutes to install the SmartMeter™ device. The upgrade will take place during regular business hours and in most cases will take about five minutes.

How the Meter-Connector works and what it can do for you

A Meter-Connector is a type of SmartMeter™ that has built-in cellular technology to enable meters to communicate usage data in areas with poor network coverage. The technology allows for two way communication, extending the smart grid network’s reach and providing a stronger connection (especially during storms). In some areas, network connectivity is low or there is interference preventing standard SmartMeters from consistently maintaining a connection with the network (i.e. foliage, trees, buildings, construction, terrain etc.). Meter-Connectors are able to send usage data for surrounding meters.

A standard electric SmartMeter™ periodically transmits meter reads via a dedicated radio frequency (RF) network back to PG&E. Each SmartMeter™ for electric service is equipped with a network radio, which transmits meter data to an electric network access point. The system uses RF mesh technology, which allows meters and other sensing devices to securely route data via nearby meters and relay devices, creating a "mesh" of network coverage. The system supports two-way communication between the meter and PG&E.

A Meter-Connector is a type of SmartMeter™ that has built-in cellular technology. If a standard SmartMeter™ is unable to connect to PG&E’s dedicated radio frequency (RF), a Meter-Connector is installed to act as both a SmartMeter™ and a cellular electric network access point (so it can collect information from neighboring non-communicating meters). It is able to transmit meter data for itself and other nearby meters back to PG&E.

The Meter-Connector either transmits 1.25 watts or 2 watts depending on the speed of the cellular network in your area, compared to a standard SmartMeter that transmits 1 watt. Meter Connectors transmit usage data back to PG&E approximately four times a day. Total transmission time will vary slightly, but will typically be 5 minutes or less per day. Standard SmartMeters communicate intermittently, with each RF-signal typically lasting from 2 to 20 milliseconds. These intermittent signals total, on average, 45 seconds per day. For more information, see the Understanding Radio Frequency page.

Protecting our customers’ energy usage information is a top priority. PG&E applies the same privacy protection standards to all data collected by the company from customers including the usage data collected by the SmartMeter™ system. We treat each customer’s personal information and data as confidential, consistent with all regulatory requirements, including those established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

  • This technology allows us to become active energy participants where we all can benefit from more reliable power, reduced carbon footprint and cleaner energy development.
  • Login at pge.com to see your energy use by month, by day, by the hour.
  • Sign up at pge.com to get notified by email, text message or phone when your electric use is moving toward a higher-cost tier.
  • See your electricity use in 5 to 15 second increments on your HAN device.

We support individual choice for residential customers when it comes to meter selection at your home. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authorizes residential customers to opt-out for any reason, regardless of whether they have a SmartMeter™ or an analog meter in place. The CPUC did not approve a SmartMeter Opt-Out Program for commercial customer.

Please visit SmartMeter Opt-Out for more information.

 

For More Information

  • For information on SmartMeter™, the SmartRate™ program, Energy Alerts and more, call us at 1-866-743-0263.

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Independent Safety Review

  • "There is no evidence that additional standards are needed to protect the public from smart meters."


    CCST is a nonpartisan and not-for-profit corporation

    Source: CCST report on Health Impact of Smart Meters

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