Wanna Test Out PG&E's Smart Meters?

That whole PG&E (s PCG) smart meter debacle — the one where customers complained about higher rates in Bakersfield after the California utility installed smart meters in their homes — is being sent out to third party independent contractors for testing. Interested in being the ones to test out the gear and see if PG&E’s system is really responsible for the rate increase? The California Public Utility Commission on Friday sent out a solicitation calling for all interested contractors to apply by December 11 (that’s the end of this week) to conduct independent testing and validation of meters in the area.

The chosen contractors will need to test the meters, communications, meter data management system (MDMS), and billing system of both older and newer systems that have been installed. Initially PG&E installed first generation gear from Distribution Control Systems Inc (DCSI) and then switched to a system developed by Silver Spring Networks.

Both the CPUC and PG&E want the issued resolved as soon as possible — it’s created a PR headache for the utility — and the CPUC says it wants the testing project started by January and completed by the first quarter of 2010. Potential contractors interested in becoming the prime or a sub-contractor need to send in: a summary of related experience, a outline of the testing project and players involved, and any potential conflicts of interest.

Image courtesy of Juverna Flickr Creative Commons.