APS Lies at Sedona City Council Meeting + Other News
Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ April 2, 2017
Although it’s hard to say if APS lying is still news anymore, here goes:
Last Wednesday, March 29, Sedona City Council held a meeting so that Sedonans could weigh in on the ongoing APS rate case in which the City is an Intervenor. Also in attendance were two APS executives, Barbara Lockwood, VP in charge of Regulation, and Steven Quinn, the regional manager.
What’s on the rate case table now of interest to Sedonans who have refused “smart” meters are the following proposals in the rate case Settlement Agreement.
- Commercial and 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.
By the way, don’t be confused by the word, “Settlement.” It does not mean done deal. It simply means that this is what a number of Intervenors, APS, and the ACC Staff have agreed to. There are still hearings before a judge who will make a recommendation, and then the ACC commissioners vote. Intervenors such as myself are now submitting written testimony for or against the Settlement Agreement. In case anyone wants more detail on the points discussed below, I have attached my testimony in opposition (less 283 pages of exhibits) that I will be filing tomorrow.
After the Council took public comment, APS’s Lockwood was asked to come to the podium to answer any questions the Council members had. Incredible lying ensued as Lockwood attempted to explain why APS wants what it wants.
1) Commercial customers cannot refuse a “smart” meter (SM) because of the complexities of commercial rates. Total nonsense! APS has 1,844 commercial customers that cannot have a SM even if they wanted one because they are in remote locations where SMs don’t work. But I thought they had to have one because of the complex rates? I guess they do except when they don’t. Also, non-transmitting digital meters (“digitals”) are totally capable of “complex” rates and are what is being used right now for commercial customers who have refuse a SM. If those work now, what has changed that they can’t work in the future? Nothing!
2) Solar customers have to have 2 SMs so that solar juice can be safely integrated to the grid. Total and complete lie! SMs are not needed to integrate solar with the grid. See the solar section of my testimony. According to Northeast Utilities (a utility larger than APS in New England), “… metering systems are not necessary to integrate distributed resources [solar] ….” APS has been telling their solar lie for years and I have been quoting Northeast for years. Point is, APS is aware of the truth but goes on lying anyway. As well, neither FP&L in Florida nor SDG&E in California nor Hawaiian Electric in Hawaii require SMs for solar. What do they know that APS doesn’t?
3) Have to get rid of analogs because it is more efficient to read the digital meters with a handheld device. More nonsense. Either reading with eyeballs or reading with a handheld, reading takes about the same time. Reading a digital with a handheld can actually take longer because in many situations a meter reader can read an analog with binoculars without having to exit the truck.
4) Have to get rid of analogs because with digitals there are more rate options. What? Right now, if someone who has refused a SM wants a rate other than the standard rate (such as a TOU rate) then they can get a digital. But that has nothing to do with, and does not affect anyone else wanting an analog for a standard rate. So Lockwood’s answer was basically a non-sequitur. BTW, since 2011 I have heard APS say they can’t get analogs anymore, but somehow they keep coming up with them. I got a brand spanker just last September when I started service where I now live. What sense does it make that APS should come remove it and throw it out so I can have a digital which probably won’t last as long anyway? Perhaps this is why: visionmetering.com sells refurbished analogs for $15 retail. Price of new digitals = $104 installed. APS has an incentive to spend (waste) money on equipment so they can get their 10% return on same.
5) There is a “net cost benefit” to APS in having SMs. Another total lie, and no numbers were given, just that unsubstantiated assertion we’ve all heard for years from APS about SMs save money because no more trucks and meter readers. Lockwood is a senior VP and is the lead APS person in the rate case. She knows the numbers and the numbers show SMs to be financially unsustainable. Actually the “net cost benefit” to APS is by the return on investment that APS gets (proposed at 10%) on the massive amount of money APS wasted on SMs. See the Boondoggle section of my testimony.
6) Encrypted data is kept private. More nonsense. Everything gets hacked regardless how “very seriously” an outfit like APS might feel about the issue (Lockwood used “very seriously” countless times in answering the cybersecurity question). But there is a greater point here. You lose your privacy the minute they put a SM on your house and start collecting data. What APS is really promising is that formerly private data (that they have now stolen from you) will be kept “confidential.” There is a big difference between privacy and confidentiality. See the Privacy Violation and Cybersecurity sections of my testimony.
7) APS hasn’t made any accommodation to anyone over SMs for health reasons. Not true and she should know it. Go to 6:25 of this news report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7iFpvT24_o&feature=youtu.be . Look at the number of SMs on this poor lady’s walls! Prescott mayor Marlin Kuykendall intervened and got APS to remove all the meters, not just hers. And this raises another point. Even if this lady had $5/mo. to get hers removed, that would be a spit in the ocean. $5/mo. does not solve the problem. Neither does a no cost right of refusal. There needs to be a safety recall.
8) The AZ Sun II provision was mentioned. This is a Settlement Agreement proposal whereby APS takes 10 to 15 million dollars per year from all of us so that a very select few get APS-owned solar on their roofs plus a $10 to $50 bill credit every month. This is supposed to be glorious because a majority of the select few will be “low income” who cannot afford to go solar. They probably can’t afford Cadillacs either so should there be a program for that? The irony of this preposterous AZ Sun II program is that customers who refuse SMs are accused of being a burden on everyone else because we need a human to read our meter and, all up, that’s costing APS $3M a year (so APS claims). But hey, blowing three to five times that amount so a select few can have solar is OK. So “cross subsidies” are good, except when they’re bad.
9) Analog meters slow down and so customers with analogs have not been paying their due. This fib was painful to hear and, from the body language of the APS regional manager who told it, it looked like it was painful for him to tell it. Where to start? Read the Inaccuracy section of my testimony. A recent study published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ magazine tested nine different SMs. Seven were totally inaccurate (by as much as 582%!). They used an analog meter as the control. Why? Because analogs are more reliable! Electric Power Research Institute also did a study and found similar. There are design flaws in solid state (non-analog) meters. And all the nonsense about analogs slowing down? Yes, it can happen, but that does not mean APS is helpless to do anything about it. APS has a “meter maintenance and testing program for [all] electric meters in order to ensure an acceptable degree of performance.” Everyone pays for the program and yearly reports are filed at the ACC. By the way, the IEEE article mentions that SMs have also incorrectly measured solar going back to the grid and in the utility’s favor. Maybe that’s why APS wants all solar customers to have SMs. The EPRI study mentions that SMs can have metering “glitches” that can be indiscernable during testing — perhaps another reason APS loves SMs.
10) APS doesn’t know how often their SMs transmit. This is their new mantra now, having successfully used that excuse for not answering my question about same in rate case discovery. I made several motions to the judge in an attempt to get APS to answer, but ultimately the judge sided with APS, saying APS cannot be compelled to provide something they don’t have. The problem of course is that we have to take APS’s word for what they do and don’t have, and I think we all know how good APS’s word is. Just for example, five years ago at an ACC meeting they said their Elster SMs transmitted a total time of 15 minutes per day. Now APS says 17 seconds. Really.
Sedona Council made no determination at the meeting regarding how they would represent Sedona in the rate case in the future. From comments made and questions asked, they seemed to understand the discrimination against commercial and solar customers, as well as the absurdity of getting rid of perfectly good analog meters. However, it appeared to me that they are still unable to fully grasp that $5 per month is not OK. So, if you have not already and you live in Sedona, I ask that you email Council and tell them that if they want to represent you in the rate case then they must do it by advocating against any fees. Council emails: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Lastly, I am happy to announce that Dr. Sam Milham, MD, MPH, author of Dirty Electricity, will be our expert witness in the rate case, and that I have also hired a forensic electrical engineer who will verify that “smart” meters do in fact put kilohertz frequencies on house wiring as shown in my YouTube, Nerve Disrupting Frequencies Radiating From “Smart” Meters.
The response to my previous fundraising appeal was truly great and I got out of the red on my SM-related expenses plus had a nice cushion of cash. But between the expert witnesses (who, unlike me, don’t work for free) and more massive printing (20 copies and mailing of my latest 338 page testimony), I am back in the red again so donations of any amount are most welcome.
200 Sierra Road
Sedona, AZ 86336
and receiving PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS – Here’s a great new video worth watching — fast paced with lots of SM info, including the money trail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUPsh8dXASw
PPS – The location of the 6 p.m. Monday, April 3 ACC Public Comment meeting in Flagstaff has changed from the City Council chambers to the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 219 E. Cherry Ave., Flagstaff.