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ConsumerWatch: PG&E Customer Blames Smart Meter For Huge Bill

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) - Michael Taylor was shocked when he opened his July PG&E bill. It said he owed the utility company $880. Taylor said his bill is normally about $300 a month.

"All of a sudden it jumped on its own, without us doing anything different from our normal routine," Taylor said.

His next bill was about to be even higher – over $1,000. That's when he said he called PG&E. After several phone calls, Taylor said PG&E refused to help.

"Basically they weren't going to do anything about it," he said.

With little help, Taylor turned to ConsumerWatch for help. Once our volunteers got involved PG&E agreed to check Taylor's smart meter on whether it was accurate. During the first inspection PG&E workers said the sudden price jump was due to the spa heater.

"There's no way for this to stay on and us not know it," he said.

Then PG&E workers blamed on the fish tank. But Taylor said he wasn't convinced. Mark Toney from the Utility Reform Network said several PG&E still remain unhappy with the smart meters.

"We are getting 20 to 30 smart meter complaints each and every week," said Toney.

Matt Nauman from PG&E recently tested Taylor's smart meter and found no wrong doing.

"We tested his meter and the meter showed the testing was accurate," he said. Nauman adds it's still not clear why Taylor's bill spiked in August.

"In this case it was very difficult to determine what indeed had happened," he said.

Taylor was finally able to receive a $548 credit after ConsumerWatch made numerous calls to PG&E. According to Nauman, consumers shouldn't have a hard time reaching out to PG&E.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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