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August 23, 2009



What is our city doing to create new jobs as a team effort?


Here's an interesting idea as written in the Wall Street Journal:

Since April 2008, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District has told 35,000 customers in their monthly bills how their energy use compares with neighbors', and with the district's most-efficient customers. Customers who received the additional information cut their energy use by 2%, compared with a similar group of users who didn't get comparison data.

Last month, the district expanded the test to cover 50,000 households. Ali Crawford, a district project manager, says officials want to see if the comparison approach reduces energy use more than direct appeals to consumers' wallets, such as offering rebates on the purchase of energy-efficient appliances.

The preliminary findings support research by Robert Cialdini, an emeritus professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, showing that people are more likely to reduce energy use to keep up with peers than to save money. Mr. Cialdini approached the district with the idea on behalf of Positive Energy, a start-up where he is chief scientist.


Today's SF Examiner has an article about whether the new Smartmeters are accurate or not. It starts with:

The installation of new digital “smart” meters for measuring gas and electricity has resulted in customer confusion and frustration across the state, prompting a class-action lawsuit and calls for a moratorium on the PG&E devices.

SmartMeters are currently being installed throughout the Bay Area. Large portions of Peninsula cities are scheduled to have their standard meters replaced by the end of 2010, according to PG&E’s deployment schedule. The rollout is slated to start in San Francisco in September.

The technology allows for two-way communication between the utility company and a meter, meaning usage information is now sent digitally to PG&E without the assistance of a meter reader.

The devices also allow individual consumers to track their energy usage online. According to PG&E, allowing customers to see how much gas and electricity they are using, and when their use is highest, will encourage changes intended to reduce energy use.

There have been widespread complaints, however, that consumers have seen higher bills after the SmartMeters were installed and that the devices are not accurate. On Friday, the California Public Utilities Commission agreed that the hiring of an independent consultant to test the meters was warranted in light of the concerns.

The rest of the article is at http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Smart-meters-come-under-fire-73831897.html

And here is the link to the PG&E page on the meters http://www.pge.com/myhome/customerservice/meter/smartmeter/index.shtml


PG&E Raising electricity rates by 2.9%

The average residential customer will pay an extra $2.66 per month--small businesses will see an increase of $10.73 on average. PG&E has also filed for a 6.4% increase in 2010---gotta plan ahead you know.

So when does peak rate (and bottom rate) pricing kick in? I'm ready to monitor my usage via my smart meter and cut my bill.


PG&E's Smart meter brochure that arrived in the mail last week describes the first thing that can be done with the new smart meters. A summer pricing plan can be put into effect for up to 15 "SmartDays" where PG&E wants to incent power reductions between 2 and 7pm. You can read about it in detail at https://www.pge-smartrate.com/smartrate-details/rates-details/

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