Victory in Sedona!
Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ April 12, 2017
At last night’s Sedona City Council meeting, Council voted unanimously to send a letter to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) recommending against all of the major “smart” meter related proposals in the APS rate case Settlement Agreement. (Remember, “Settlement” does not mean done deal; the rate case has more steps to go.)
Council’s letter to the ACC takes a stand against solar and commercial customers not being able to refuse a “smart” meter, against APS’s desire to get rid of analog meters altogether and immediately, and against a fee of any amount charged to customers who refuse “smart” meters.
The letter will be formatted, signed and docketed probably next week.
Although Council’s vote was unanimous, the letter was not without some contention while being discussed at the meeting. Both Mayor Moriaty and Vice Mayor Martinez were in favor of charging a fee to customers who refuse “smart” meters. Despite being corrected by their peers, both of them mistakenly insisted that, because they had “smart” meters, they did not have a meter reading fee on their APS bill. The fee is on all APS customers’ bills, “smart” meters or not.
Vice Mayor Martinez asserted that customers who refused “smart” meters were getting a “free lunch” if they did not pay to have someone read their meter. By that statement it was clear that Vice Mayor Martinez had either not read the information I’d sent him several times or, if he had read it, did not understand it. So during public comment I repeated that, based on APS’s own numbers, it was costing APS more than $8.8M to “save” $4.75M per year given a 20 year “smart” meter life, or more than $28M to “save” $4.75M per year given a more realistic 6 year “smart” meter life. I pointed out that customers who refused “smart” meters had the cheaper meter reading system therefore, and so were actually subsidizing “smart” meter customers like him.
Neither Mayor Moriarty nor Vice Mayor Martinez were dissuaded by facts, however, and both voted against a no fee stipulation in the letter to the ACC. Thankfully, the rest of Council voted for no fee, and in the end both the Mayor and Vice Mayor voted for the final letter which included the stance against charging a fee.
Thank you to everyone who wrote and phoned Council, and a special thank you to those who spoke before Council. It would have been awfully disappointing to have Council advocating against the very people on whose behalf Council intervened in the rate case in the first place.