UTILITIES:

PG&E SmartMeter director resigns after online blunder

A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executive who had been suspended for using a fake name in an online group resigned yesterday, according to company officials.

SmartMeter program senior director William Devereaux admitted that he tried last week to join an online group opposed to the utility company's SmartMeters for their health effects. He used the name "Ralph," but his real name appeared next to his e-mail address.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it had suspended him indefinitely without pay. Devereaux had apologized for the action, saying he was trying to understand those who oppose the meters. He said he also monitored other online groups critical of PG&E for several months (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 11). -- AP