AZ-CITIZENS FIGHTING UTILITY OVER Illegal Fees for Refusing So Called Smart Meters

Action Alert – APS Rate Case Public Comment Meeting at the ACC
Information & Opinion by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ March 19, 2017
This Wednesday, March 22, at 10 a.m., 1200 West Washington Street in Phoenix, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) will be holding an Open Meeting for Public Comment on the APS rate case. The official notice is here: http://www.azcc.gov//Divisions/Administration/Meetings/Agendas/2017/3-22-17sompc%20Phoenix.pdf

I strongly encourage anyone and everyone who does not want an extortion fee for refusing a “smart” meter to go and say so.

Those of you who have spoken at the ACC previously need to know that, with the exception of commissioner Burns, this is an all-new commission since the last “smart” meter related ACC meeting in December of 2014. So the newbie commissioners need to hear from you.

Those of you who have told your stories of “smart” meter related ill health to previous commissioners need to go and retell your stories. And remember, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) did not find “smart” meters safe. ADHS found “smart” meters “not likely to harm.” There’s a big difference since “not likely to harm” allows for the possibility of harm. Paying to avoid that harm or threat of harm is extortion.

Also, the ADHS found that “smart” meters transmit within FCC guidelines. All that means is that “smart” meter microwave transmissions won’t shock or burn you. But no one has ever complained of those two symptoms!

Those of you who don’t want to have to pay to avoid surveillance, the threat of a house fire or any of the other “smart” meter hazards need to go to the meeting and say so.

Remember, this is what APS — and the ACC Staff — want for those of us who have refused “smart” meters:

  • Commercial account holders no longer able to refuse a “smart” meter.
  • Solar account holders no longer able to refuse a “smart” meter.
  • No more analog meters for customers who refuse, only non-transmitting digital meters.
  • A $5 a month charge for meter reading, and a $50 set-up fee for new refusals, even though customers who refuse “smart” meters are already subsidizing the financially unsustainable “smart” meters that they don’t need or want.

I suggest you speak from prepared comments that you have timed to last 3 minutes, but I can’t write your speech for you. If you don’t know what to say, take a look through my filed testimony (here: http://docket.images.azcc.gov/0000175878.pdf ) and pick something out to talk about. Feel free to quote me or just plagiarize; I don’t own the English language.

Another idea would be to go to https://smartgridawareness.org/ and pick out one of the very well researched articles on which to base your 3 minutes. Put a topic in the website’s search feature and see what comes up. K.T. Weaver, who writes the articles, is a health physicist who was employed in the nuclear division of a leading electric utility for over 25 years. K.T. has earned a B.S. in
Engineering Physics and an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering with a specialty in radiation protection.

This rate case may well be the culmination of the Arizona “smart” meter battle that’s been waged since the first ACC “smart” meter meeting back in 2011. Don’t be Missing In Action.

For those of you in Yavapai County, I am told there will be another APS rate case ACC Open Meeting for Public Comment held in Clarkdale on March 29 so that people don’t have to drive to Phoenix. But the date and location are tentative as of this writing. I will let everyone know when the date and location are firmed up.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who emailed, the City of Sedona will not be signing the rate case Settlement Agreement. However, according to the City’s press release, “the city will retain the option to submit comment to the Arizona Corporation Commission about the case before the commission’s April 3 deadline for direct testimony to be filed in support of, or opposition to, the settlement.” To that end, the City will be holding its own public comment meeting currently scheduled also for March 29 at 3 p.m. in the Sedona City Council chambers at 102 Roadrunner Dr., Sedona. Sedonans will not want to miss that one.

Since the Sedona date conflicts with the meeting the ACC wants to have in Clarkdale, either meeting date may be changed. I will keep you posted when I find out.

If the two meetings end up at the same time, I’ll probably pick the Sedona one over the ACC one since I think it’s very important how the City represents us, and I will have been to the ACC meeting this Wednesday anyway.

PS – The “smart” meter boondoggle is a major reason why there’s an APS rate increase being proposed. Rate increases happen everywhere “smart” meters get installed. Why? Because contrary to industry hype, “smart” meters do not provide enough operational savings to offset their huge costs, and utilities such as APS get a guaranteed return on what they spend. Don’t you wish you could get paid to waste money? I will be speaking to the commissioners on that topic this Wednesday and provide the dollar amounts I have uncovered.

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Texas Bill Would Allow People to Opt Out of Smart Meters, Undermine Federal Program

Texas Bill Would Allow People to Opt Out of Smart Meters, Undermine Federal Program

AUSTIN, Texas (March 15, 2017) – A bill introduced in the Texas House would allow utility customers to opt out of installing “smart meter” technology on their homes and businesses. Passage of this bill would allow Texans to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.

Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian) introduced House Bill 3656 (HB3656) on March 9. The legislation would allow Texas utility customers to opt out of any utility company smart meter program with no charge or penalty.

Smart meters monitor home energy usage in minute detail in real time. The devices transmit data to the utility company were it gets stored in databases. Anybody with access to the data can download it for analysts. Without specific criteria limiting access to the data, these devices create significant privacy issues. Smart meters can also be used to remotely limit power usage during peak hours.

Under the proposed law, utility companies would be required to inform customers in writing that they have the right to decline installation of a smart meter. The company would not be allowed to charge the customer for for declining installation, nor for the cost of traditional metering service. HB3656 also includes provisions giving utility customers the right to have an existing smart meter removed. The company would be allowed to charge the customer the cost of installing the replacement traditional meter.

PRIVACY CONCERNS

The proliferation of smart meters creates significant privacy concerns. The data collected can tell anybody who holds it a great deal about what goes on inside a home. It can reveal when residents are at home, asleep or on vacation. It can also pinpoint “unusual” energy use, and could someday serve to help enforce “energy usage” regulations. The ACLU summarized the privacy issues surrounding smart meters in a recent report.

“The temptation to use the information that will be collected from customers for something other than managing electrical loads will be strong – as it has been for cell phone tracking data and GPS information. Police may want to know your general comings and goings or whether you’re growing marijuana in your basement under grow lights. Advertisers will want the information to sell you a new washing machine to replace the energy hog you got as a wedding present 20 years ago. Information flowing in a smart grid will become more and more ‘granular’ as the system develops.”

The privacy issues aren’t merely theoretical. According to information obtained by the California ACLU, utility companies in the state have disclosed information gathered by smart meters on thousands of customers. San Diego Gas and Electric alone disclosed data on more than 4,000 customers. The vast majority of disclosures were in response to subpoenas by government agencies “often in drug enforcement cases or efforts to find specific individuals,” according to SFGate.

“Mark Toney, executive director of the Utility Reform Network watchdog group, said the sheer number of data disclosures made by SDG&E raised the possibility that government agencies wanted to sift through large amounts of data looking for patterns, rather than conducting targeted investigations.”

Refusing to allow a smart meter on your property is the only sure-fire way to ensure your energy use data won’t fall into the hands of government agents or private marketers, or end up stored in some kind of government database. Passage of HB3656 would make opting out a legal option for Texans and give them control over their own privacy.

IMPACT ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS

The federal government serves as a major source of funding for smart meters. A 2009 program through the U.S. Department of Energy distributed $4.5 billion for smart grid technology. The initial projects were expected to fund the installation of 1.8 million smart meters over three years.

The federal government lacks any constitutional authority to fund smart grid technology. The easiest way to nullify such programs is to simply not participate. HB3656 would make that possible. If enough states pass similar legislation, and enough people opt out, the program will go nowhere. Opting out follows a strategy James Madison advised in Federalist #46. “Refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” provides a powerful means to fight back against government overreach. Such actions in multiple states would likely be effective in bringing down federal smart meter programs.

https://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2017/03/texas-bill-would-allow-people-to-opt-out-of-smart-meters-undermine-federal-program/