Use the PG&E Website — and Sign Away Your Rights

Anyone using online sites to manage or pay bills, or transact business of any sort, is familiar with “signing” one of those long detailed legal agreements usually called “Term and Conditions”–merely by checking a box.

Watch out.

On PG&E’s website for residential accounts, you may be signing away your right to any compensation over the paltry sum of five hundred dollars. This news comes to us from the San Jose Mercury News Action Line. A reader wrote in with this story:

I was surprised to find on page three of a four-page document that if I signed up online, I would be agreeing to the sum of $500 as damages against PG&E under any theory of liability. I called PG&E and asked about this language and was told that this is limited to my account. But my account is my home!

Well put: our utility accounts affect us where we live. For those of us who have been harmed by PG&E’s smart meter roll-out–either from harm due to RF pulses or doubled or quadrupled bills they are themselves blamed for and forced to pay–or fires and appliance damage–or who have seen the devastation that their negligence in San Bruno brought–it is hardly surprising that this corporation would sneakily slip in such a limit on their liability.

Many website users won’t catch the fact that they have just agreed to this outrageous clause. Yet someday soon PG&E may go the way of many corporations, and charge you money if you pay by mail and don’t agree to online billing–essentially forcing you as a customer to consent to this legal agreement.

We will be monitoring this, and post an update when we get further information.

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4 Responses to Use the PG&E Website — and Sign Away Your Rights

  1. PG&E Employee says:

    PG$E ORGANIZATION & EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT vs. PG&E EMPLOYEES

    PG&E has many quite decent caring people working there and some heroic linemen.

    The PG$E organization and PG$E Executive Management are willing to kill people and harm millions of children for their own money, job security and short term performance parameters.

  2. Pingback: Be Careful What You Sign For…. - Stop Smart Meters! (uk)

  3. Redi Kilowatt says:

    The main reason that utility corporations are promoting the automated radio meter projects is the claim that the project saves energy.
    If one reads the marketing brochure that PG&E had the ratepayers pay for that was sent with the original letter of intent by PG&E, they described that, how in the future a meter customer can go online, register and sign up for an online account using your existing PG&E account number and home phone number to view previous total electricity usage of electric and gas up to the previous 24 hour period.
    To me , that feature is completely useless because I know how much electricity that I use because I am here using it.
    I don’t have a new radio automated meter but I was very curious about this online service about viewing previous electrical consumption, because on my monthly bill that information has been provided for the last 20 years on my printed bill.
    So I called the information number for the SmartMeter program that was on the brochure which is 1-866-743-0263.
    I did not use my home phone, but a friends phone and I pushed *67 to normally block the number. I know that calling 866 and other 800 numbers that the caller cannot block the number because they are toll free numbers. Sure enough, my friend got a robocall the next day from PG&E confirming that the number was not blocked and asking to interview her about customer satisfaction.
    I did a lengthly inquiry with the phone rep about the statements made on the marketing brochure that I paid for . The question about being able to view up to the previous days total usage was answered by the rep stating that, ” this service is not working now, but it is something that we are working on”. She stated that” if 100% of the automated meters are installed, and 100% are actually being read remotely, then if 80% of the customers request that service of previous days usage online, that they will start to try and make it work”.
    The results of my inquisition are documented in the FAQ section on this site about HAN’s and billing issues.
    The most important thing that I want to stress about the subject of this thread is, do not sign up for an online account with PG&E to view your usage history, the information has been on all customers printed bills for at least the last 20 years.
    And for those worried about privacy, all customers usage has been documented and stored on the central servers of the revenue assurance department at PG&E. That information is totally secure and can only be accessed by law enforcement with a court order, but if a customer signs up for and online account to receive price alerts or previous usage information online or by mobile phone networks, then all bets are off for privacy. Mobile phone networks and the internet HAVE BEEN HACKED or compromised, and keep in mind that if you put that information on your computer, it can be hacked again.
    The total usage data sent to PG&E from the meters on the radio networks is done in bursts once every four hours, it is a compressed data packet that lasts a few seconds, and there is no possible way that anyone with a radio scanner could glean any sensitive information from that radio transmission, whether it is encrypted or not, it doesn’t matter. The bottom line, if you are worried about privacy, don’t put that information online.

  4. Another PG&E Employee says:

    I agree with the other employee, that most first line employees really do care about providing safe service to the public as well as the work safety.

    However, the influence from all levels of management puts employees into positions where safety is no longer a priority. Risk management practices by upper level management have placed the public and the employees into various forms of danger.

    Many of these dangers are way too large for any one or two employees to resolve. Any employee that “brushes against the grain” of the PG&E mandate, or practice at the time, will suffer some sort of retribution from pressure or harassment to even threats of different natures.

    Most employees’ have a high level of distrust as well as various degrees of paranoia with their employer, PG&E and what they may retaliate with. I have spoken with one employee that have mentioned fears of being “gunned down” in front of their home if they were to disclose illegal practices by the company.

    Also within two separate employees on separate occasions, they were concerned that the food that PG&E was serving us during a meeting might be “tainted”. I am in no way suggesting that this is an even remotely or likely possibility that either of these outcomes would happen, but I wanted to emphasize the extent at which the paranoia is, however unjustified it may be.

    The company has created an atmosphere of intimidation, it has strangled it’s employee’s creativity, self-worth and sense of wellbeing. Leaving us in despair with their action-less, empty words, we are without direction and a common goal. The psychotic nature of PG&E is a place where, “Black is White”, “Up is Down” performing tasks that contradict the common senses.

    It’s more important to PG&E to “look like” they’re saving money than “actually” saving money.

    If you’re the type of person that “cares”, than this company is hard company to work for.

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