Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s recent admission that there are problems with some of its SmartMeters will be the focus of a hearing April 26 at the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Florez announced Thursday.

The hearing is to be the first meeting of the new Senate Select Committee on the Smart Grid, which is headed by Florez, one of PG&E's leading critics in Kern County.

On Monday, Bloomberg reported that a PG&E spokesman conceded in a phone interview that there have been "a handful of incidents where the wireless meters have stopped relaying usage information."

In some instances, spokesman Jeff Smith reportedly said, customers were issued estimated bills that were later reconciled with actual usage when data became available.

Local PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said earlier this week that the devices' communication problems extend to the newer generation of SmartMeters installed in Bakersfield, and that they have led to some customers getting delayed bills.

Some Bakersfield PG&E customers have blamed SmartMeters for soaring bills last summer. The company has attributed those high bills primarily to hot weather and rate increases.

Florez, D-Shafter, has asked Peter Darbee, the chairman, CEO and president of the utility's parent company, to testify at the hearing.

The senator said he hopes Darbee will "set the record straight, come clean what the defects are."