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Up to 23,000 Calif. energy bills wrong

SAN FRANCISCO, May 11 (UPI) -- Officials with a California utility provider said as many as 23,000 customers with newer SmartMeters received inaccurate bills.

Pacific Gas and Electric officials, who earlier said only a "few" customers received inaccurate bills, said they will be overhauling customer service efforts after failures in dealing with complaints about the SmartMeters, the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday.

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"While we have confidence in this technology, some of our customers question whether they can have faith in our SmartMeter program, and frankly in PG&E," said Senior Vice President Helen Burt, the chief customer officer. "Restoring this trust is absolutely critical to us."

The company did not specify how many customers were overcharged or undercharged.

California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on the Smart Grid, said questions remain about the SmartMeters.

"There is still the unanswered question as to why so many customers have seen a spike in recorded energy usage following the installation of a SmartMeter in their residence," he said.

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