PG&E May be Fined for Anti-Meter Spying

By Published On: April 27, 2012

Regulators are considering penalizing Pacific Gas & Electric for allegedly allowing an employee to use an alias to infiltrate anti-“smart” meter groups. In November 2010, it was revealed that a PG&E employee--William Devereaux, considered the “public face of PG&E smart meters,” according to an April 25 regulatory order--joined anti-meter groups under false pretenses. The California Public Utilities Commission April 25 launched an investigation into whether the utility violated state codes and/or laws because it allegedly “condoned or approved Mr. Devereaux’s behavior,” the order states. The Environmental Health Trust and EMF Safety Coalition reported in late 2010 that Devereaux wrote he was worried about smart meters “sweeping across town and wanted to learn more about them and join the conversation to see what I can do to help out here.” The email was signed by a concerned Ralph, not William. “It is not in keeping with PG&E’s core values of honesty and transparency,” Jeff Smith, utility spokesperson, responded after the matter was exposed by the press (Current, Nov. 19 2010). Devereaux, who resigned from PG&E in November 2010, also forwarded anti-smart meter groups’ emails to PG&E management, according to the commission. Devereaux, the former senior director of advanced meters, admitted to using an alias in communications with a group researching meter glitches and electro-magnetic field health impacts. The CPUC findings are based on its Consumer Protection & Safety Division staff report. The division believes that PG&E’s senior management failed “to detect and stop his behavior, failed to provide just and reasonable service to its customers and as such violated PU Code Section 451.” The order gives the utility the opportunity to keep confidential the Consumer Safety report.

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