Utility Exec Busted Trying to Spy on Consumers

SpyingPacific Gas and Electric Company's executive in charge of its "SmartMeter" program got caught using a fake name to try and join an Internet talk list operated by people who are fighting installation of the new meters. PG&E, which provides natural gas and electricity to most of Northern California, has installed 7.1 million wireless "SmartMeters" on properties throughout central and northern California. The meters record power consumption and report the information back to the utility at least daily. The power company touts the meters a stepping stone to an improved, more flexible electricity grid, but consumers complain that their monthly utility bills spiked after installation of the meters, and have expressed concern about exposure to the meters' electromagnetic fields. William Devereaux, the senior director of PG&E's $2.2 billion SmartMeter program, posed as an anti-smart meter consumer using the fake name "Ralph" to try to gain admission to the online discussion group for people trying to block use of the SmartMeters. Devereaux used his usual email address, which appeared next to his name, and the list moderator recognized him.


Not a technical issue that caught a decent person. Rather the guy is and was slime. Arrogant and brutally selfish and offensive.

He knew all the information that the group of parents and scientists had that he tried to covertly break into. They had shared the information with him, or tried to on many occasions.

He was only interested in interfering with their communication of that information to others and attempting to discredit it.

If their research information was not valid, he would not have cared about them. But their information is solid and it was threatening the misinformation that PG&E had been delivering to an initially naive public. These people had awakened the public and city councils and state senators, etc and PG&E was miffed. PG&E has their eyes on huge amounts of $$$$$$$, and no matter the cost to their customers.

This sort of sneaky nonsense is exactly how Wild Oats (a decent company) was gobbled up by Whole Foods (unethical). This is fraudulent behavior and should be prosecutable. I'm beginning to see CEOs as sociopathic. Perhaps this is a requirement to hold these positions. It's certainly a requirement for serial killers.

have expressed concern about exposure to the meters' electromagnetic fields.

When will people accept that there is no credible evidence that weak electromagnetic fields are harmful? The earth is a giant magnet and we live in its magnetic field every day of our lives. All of our electrical appliances emit EM radiation. Wireless phones, Cellular phones, microwave ovens, wireless internet routers, wifi cards in notebook computers. All of these things are IN THE HOUSE washing us with the dreaded EM radiation day and night. The power meter is outside transmitting a radio signal. Just like the broadcasts coming from all of the cell towers, radio stations, and television stations in our cities.

Now the unexplained spike in peoples bills is a different issue entirely and definitely should be looked into.

If these people are worried about the effect of the meters' electromagnetic field, they need to move the $%#& out of the city, because there would be no more of an EM field than from their TV, their radio, cell phone, overhead power lines, Wi-Fi, etc... What a joke.

I also agree that if they have legitimate complaints about the actual meters, that's one thing. They put those in place in Utah, the reasoning is to make meter reading faster and more accurate, which is fine, but they didn't calibrate the system first, and they didn't run the two side by side. As a result, they undercharged thousands of people in Utah and THEN had the gall to say that they were going to recoup those losses by tacking on the undercharged amount to the users' bills, due all in one payment and immediately. THeir response to consumer outrage is that the users should have asked why their bills went down, ignoring the fact that the consumers could have just as easily assumed that their bills went down because of the more efficient system.

These aren't an invasion of anyone's privacy, nobody's gonna get cancer from the meters, but just like in Utah, they need to run the new system side by side with the old for 3-6 months first to see if it is consistent.

Oh yeah, the guy is kinda a doosh for pulling this, he had other ways to anonymously read user feedback...