Smart meters also contentious in other states

Smart meters also contentious in other states

Oklahoma is not the only state that has heard from opponents of smart meters.

Arizona: The Arizona Corporation Commission ruled in December that customers there could opt-out of smart meters if they were willing to pay an opt-out fee of $50 and then a $5 monthly charge — considerably less than what Arizona Public Service Co. sought to charge. Since then, however, the commission has barred the utility from collecting the fee at all, deferring the matter until APS brings a full rate case before the commission for consideration in 2016.

California: Utility regulators approved rules in December 2012 that allow utility customers to opt out of smart meter technology for a one-time fee of $75, and a $10 a month charge for reading older, analog-style meters. A cheaper opt-out fee and monthly rate also was set for low-income customers.

Maine: Public utility regulators authorized utility customers to refuse smart meters and ruled utilities could only charge a customer a $20 opt-out fee and a $10.50 per-month charge to have a “radio-off” smart meter instead, or a $40 opt-out fee and a $12 per-month charge to continue using an analog-style meter. However, opponents have appealed that decision to the Maine Supreme Court, claiming the commission ignored smart meter health risks and that the opt-out fee it approved is an unreasonable burden on customers who don’t want them.

Michigan: The Public Service Commission in 2013 authorized Consumers Energy to begin to charge customers a monthly fee to fund its program to convert to smart meters. The commission also authorized the utility to charge customers up to $124 to keep their old meters. Opponents appealed the commission’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals. In April 2015, the court ordered the commission to study the issue further.

Nevada: The Public Utility Commission authorized NV Energy to begin installing smart meters on its customers’ properties in 2011 and approved an opt-out fee for utility customers of about $52 and a monthly charge of about $8.75. This year, the commission ordered an independent investigation after more than 70 meters caught fire while they were being used. Underwriters Laboratory evaluated the meter NV Energy uses and submitted a report to the commission that says the meter meets current safety regulations, but the commission’s inquiry remains open.

Vermont: The state Legislature approved a law in May 2012 that allows customers to opt out of smart meter usage without a fee or monthly charge.

The issue also is being debated in Georgia, Virginia, Texas and Florida.

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