Smart Meters: PG&E Lost What Little Credibility They Still Had

This one sentence sums it up:

After months of denying any technical problems with its SmartMeter program, PG&E publicly detailed a range of glitches Monday affecting tens of thousands of the digital meters.

[From PG&E details technical problems with SmartMeters – San Jose Mercury News]

This is the first time that PG&E has publicly acknowledged technical problems with the meters, and I’m wondering why it took 43,376 confirmed problems for them to admit this program has problems. Given the willful obstruction by PG&E in acknowledging the problems with smart meters, any proposal that suggests PG&E can be trusted with auditing and reporting smart meter reliability testing and problem resolution is outright laughable on its face.

As I wrote last year, the closed system nature of utility smart meters in California risked making them the new e-voting machines when it came to trust and public support. PG&E has accomplished turning that risk into reality.

My own experience with smart meters indicates that something is very wrong… my bills remain significantly higher and comparing monthly consumption to previous year bills (non smart meter enabled) details higher consumption in current periods. The problem is that nothing in our physical house or family patterns has changed. There is simply no reasonable explanation for why my current period consumption is higher than years past so Occam’s Razor would suggest that the meter is wrong, or the old meter was wrong… and if the latter then a reasonable expectation would be that consumers are grandfathered into their old bills rather than absorbing the financial impact of a utility fixing a long standing inaccuracy. and VMware Spring Together and VMware announced a significant joint service called VMforce that allows developers to run Java applications inside Salesforce’s cloud. I would encourage you to read Salesforce’s blog announcement on this as it is quite detailed with regard to what it is and more importantly, why it matters.

From where I sit this seems pretty significant even if Java has strong competition from other development environments for hosted applications. What it means is two things, enterprise Java apps now have a clear path to the cloud, and secondly Java developers have the ability to write apps that take advantage of well established database, identity management, integrated search and mobile capabilities without having to adopt new frameworks or toolsets.

Time will tell whether or not Salesforce is successful in wooing Java developers but I have no reason to believe that they will not be. This partnership takes advantage of widely adopted services like Tomcat, Eclipse, and the Spring Framework, which reinforces the core messages that Java developers are welcome up in the cloud.

Several Enterprise Irregulars have offered their views, I would encourage you to read them:

Larry Dignan

Vinnie Mirchandani

Bob Warfield