March 10, 2010 - In an effort to prove the reliability of smart meters, three dozen homes have been fitted with old meters and smart meters side by side in North and Central Texas. Both meters will record usage for the home, allowing Oncor to see whether the smart meter runs faster than the old meter. The power line company will begin reporting the results in about a week and continue weekly reporting for about a month.
"If there's an accuracy issue, we'll work with the [Public Utility] Commission and our vendor" to correct it, said Jim Greer, Oncor's senior vice president for asset management and engineering.
Company officials say electric bills rose during the past few months largely because of the cold weather.
Oncor, the PUC and legislators want consumers to have confidence that the meters are accurate. The state commission had pushed for the new meters, and the Legislature voted for the new meters.
Along with meter testing, Oncor is reviewing all customer records showing the last usage recorded from the old mechanical meter. Oncor aims to identify any errors humans made while taking the final reading from the old meters.
Oncor has said about 1 percent of the complaints about smart meters boil down to an incorrect reading of the old meter before the new one was installed.
Oncor also offered to install in-home monitors for 10 customers in Anchia's district. The monitors show how much electricity a customer is using, real-time. The PUC must first approve those installations.