People who complain about their smart meters may have a point, but their anger is misdirected. In most cases, it is not the smart meter that’s the problem but the customer service they receive when they submit their complaints. This was the finding of an independent, five-month audit of PG&E’s smart meters, conducted by the Structure Group of Houston, which was released on Thursday.

The study was ordered by the California Public Utilities Commission after receiving a torrent of complaints that recently installed smart meters failed to gauge electricity use accurately. The study noted that the installation coincided with a heat wave, when people tend to use more electricity than normal, and that the responses they received to their queries from PG&E staff were inadequate and untimely.

PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Helen Burt admitted the problem, saying that the power company has “taken steps to address that real shortfall in our program.” Nancy Ryan, who serves on the Utilities Commission, said that PG&E must work harder to promote “customer engagement, education, and trust.”

Some 5.5 million homes serviced by PG&E currently have smart meters. The company hopes to expand that to 9.8 million in 2012.
Read More at CBS 5.