Watt’s Up, Evan?

Fly noticed a familiar, comely face in the corner of MercuryNews.com last week but was slightly confused to see a blue and orange PG&E logo where Evan Low’s dimple should be.

The trail-blazing, openly gay mayor of Campbell, shilling for PG&E? It turns out to be an ad for the much-maligned SmartMeter Program, the PG&E initiative to replace all old power meters with digital ones supposedly designed to provide more accurate readouts and give customers a better way to monitor their gas and electricity usage.

However, the claim that some SmartMeters are racking up sky-high power bills is causing a major backlash. So, PG&E figured, deploy the cute local pol!

“SmartMeters work by focusing consumption so that the consumer really understands how much they are using,” Low assuages us.

Though Fly is of the opinion that SmartMeters are probably a good thing in the long run, voters all too recently showed that they do believe in evil after voting down Prop. 16, the deceptively named, PG&E-financed “Tax Payers Right to Vote Act.”

Seems like a tricky time to be pasting a PG&E logo so close to the name of a local politician. And ultimately, why Low? Wouldn’t Chuck Reed, who’s been supportive of the meters, have been a more logical choice?

Then again, maybe PG&E was looking to harness the power of a megawatt smile.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. PG&E installed a smart meter at my home several months ago. Since then, my monthly electricity bill is up about 30% although nothing has changed about my day to day electricity use.

    With so many similar complaints it seems obvious that there are accuracy problems with these meters. Of course PG&E’s “party line” is “The OLD meters were recording too low!” (Yeah, right…PG&E was just happily giving away all that power…)

    My calls to customer service proved to be a joke. They just mouthed the party line about how wonderful the new meters are, and if your bill suddenly goes up it’s YOUR fault. After several calls they sent a guy to “test” the meter. Big surprise, the PG&E rep said PG&E’s meter was working just fine.

    Apparently there is no independent agency that confirms the accuracy of the meters, it’s left entirely to PG&E! The Public Utilities Commission is pretty toothless and my calls to them were greeted by a very disinterested-sounding state worker who suggested that I, get this, call PG&E! (Hey Arnold, you looking for someone to lay off?) 

    Solar, here I come!

  2. Evan has no interest in his fellow citizens.  Like McLeod in Santa Clara and Reed in San Jose, Low regards his constituents as disposable voters like plastic bags.  McLeod thinks   the voice of the people belongs in a landfill. She has acted to punish Measure J supporters by refusing to support them for commission appointments.

  3. 47.5% of the voters actually voted for the “Tax Payers Right to Vote Act.” To discount them and insinuate the vote was a landslide is dismissive.  What’s more, kudos to Low for seeing they are entirely different issues (you, yourself, admit SmartMeters are a good thing) and not approaching everything through some rabid anti-PG&E mantra (which is tiresomely rolled out by many entitled activists that simply do want to have to personally pay anything for electricity—or anything for that matter).