Opting out of PSO smart meters
Concerns mount after thousands of meters explode in California
If you check the PSO website, it says customers can not opt out of having so-called “smart meters” installed on their homes or businesses, but that’s not precisely correct.
A check of the site Wednesday afternoon showed that on the FAQ page, under the heading “Can a customer opt out of the new meter if it is not wanted?” it still says “No, in order to reap the full benefits of AMI from an operational and cost standpoint, AMI needs to be fully deployed throughout the project area. In turn, our operational structure is changing to support the new technology and work practices.”
But, as KRMG first reported several weeks ago, the company does plan to allow customers to opt out, though they make it clear that not many customers have chosen to do so.
The company says it’s waiting to hear back from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on an exact procedure for opting out, and how much it will be allowed to charge customers who choose to do so.
A letter PSO will send to those customers, which the utility provided to KRMG, reads as follows:
This letter is to summarize our conversation held on Select Date. At that time, you requested to decline PSO’s standard advanced meter installation at your home or business and to instead retain your non-standard metering equipment.
Currently, PSO does not have an approved non-standard meter option or “opt-out.” However, we are in the process of seeking approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) for a non-standard meter option and pricing schedule. While the pricing is not yet established, we anticipate that there will be an upfront, one-time fee, as well as an ongoing monthly meter reading fee.
If you do not currently have a standard, advanced meter installed at your home or business, we will honor your request to not install one at this time. However, when a non-standard meter option is approved by the OCC, we will contact you again to advise you of the outcome and further discuss your options at that time.
Please be advised of the following limitations of choosing non-standard metering equipment:
- You may experience longer restoration times in case of a service interruption or outage, as the non-standard meter does not have outage detections capabilities.
- You may receive estimated bills when your meter cannot be read.
- You will not be eligible to receive future customer service benefits that are only made possible by advanced metering.
- As stated above, you may be required to pay a non-refundable one-time fee for non-standard metering service, in addition to the monthly fee to cover the additional costs incurred as a result of the opt out.
- As a customer with a non-standard meter, you will be required to provide PSO with sufficient access to properly operate and maintain your meter for monthly readings and periodic testing. If access is denied, you could be subject to additional fees related to inaccessibility.
You can call the PSO customer service line at Call PSO at 1-888-216-3523 for more information.
However, there’s no specific option on the line to request the company not to install a smart meter.
While there’s a lot of discussion about the possible health effects of non-thermal radiation emitted by the devices, other safety concerns are getting attention as well.
An incident this week in Stockton, California in which a truck hit a power pole has highlighted those concerns.