Pacific Gas and Electric Company

California Adopts Smart Meter Data Privacy Rules

By a 5-0 vote, California’s Public Utility Commission has unanimously adopted the world’s first comprehensive set of rules assuring consumers can access the detailed energy usage data provided by their smart meter while simultaneously protecting the data’s privacy and security.

New Technology Gives Power Signals a Boost

A new technology developed by San Diego start-up On-Ramp enables data to be transmitted up to 45 miles. Using current technology, a typical wifi signal travels around 300 feet before becoming too weak to be detected by a computer.

eMeter CEO Talks Smart Meters

Headquartered in San Mateo, eMeter has emerged as one of the leading smart grid companies in Silicon Valley. eMeter’s software helps utilities manage the data they collect from electric, gas and water meters, and turns that data into useful information for utility operators and consumers alike. A privately held company, eMeter is backed by Foundation Capital and Sequoia Capital, with 40 utility customers around the world, including municipal utilities like Silicon Valley Power in Santa Clara, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative in Texas, and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which manages Ontario’s electricity system.

California Sets Rules on Consumer Privacy

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has published its long anticipated proposed ruling over consumer privacy related to home devices that use smart meter data and are locked into one company’s platform or technology but leave customer-owned data sources outside of its authority.

PG and E to Replace Defective Landis+Gyr Meters

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has announced it will replace some of Landis+Gyr’s electric SmartMeters because of a rare defect in the devices. Landis+Gyr reports the error affects fewer than 1,600 of the two million meters it supplied to PG&E. The utility will replace the meters at no cost to customers and issue full refunds to customers who received inaccurate bills.

PG&E Corporation’s Embattled CEO Steps Down

The Board of Directors of Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation will elect a new lead executive in the coming weeks in light of current Chairman, CEO and President Peter Darbee’s announced retirement, effective April 30, 2011. The company’s utility unit, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Company, will continue to be led by President Christopher P. Johns.

BGE and PG&E Selects OPower

Earlier this year, energy efficiency company OPower said it wanted to double its utility company clients from 50 to 100 in 2011. Two new deals move the company only incrementally toward that goal, but the scale of the projects underscores OPower’s domination in the customer engagement arena.

Solar Projects Set for California

Eurus Energy America and NRG Solar are collaborating to build the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) generating facility in California. When operating at full capacity, the three Avenal zero-emission solar projects—Avenal Park, Sun City, and Sand Drag—will generate a total of 45 megawatts (MW). That is enough power to meet the needs of 36,000 homes.

Evaluation of PG&E Smart Meters Released

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released a third-party evaluation of Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) SmartMeter program.  Prepared by Houston-based Structure Group, the report determined that PG&E’s new meters are recording customer electric usage accurately. In addition, it also found that early issues were limited in scope, were being appropriately addressed by PG&E, and generally were caused by factors unrelated to the meters.

Ivanpah System Gets Approval

A California Energy Commission committee has recommended approving BrightSource’s 392 megawatt project, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. When built, Ivanpah will be the world’s largest solar energy project, and will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the United States. BrightSource previously received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy for $1.37 billion in loan guarantees to support the Ivanpah project financing.