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Connecticut Attorney General Calls AMI Meter Use Punitive

aps logoSedona AZ (April 7, 2013) – “In support of their recent request to the Arizona Corporation Commission …  APS has put together an incredible collection of lies,” writes Sedona resident, Warren Woodward, in an opinion letter sent to the ACC and to the SedonaEye.com editor. Woodward continued by asking, “Republicans who beat their chests and bellow in defense of “private property”, “individual rights” and “rule of law”, where are you?” The following is Woodward’s opinion letter in full:

Warren Woodward
55 Ross Circle
Sedona, Arizona 86336

Arizona Corporation Commission logoApril 6, 2013

Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC)
Docket Control Center
1200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Re: Docket # E-01345A-13-0069

Commissioners;

In support of their recent request to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to be able to charge so-called “opt out fees” to people not consenting to APS’s microwave radio broadcasting networking equipment (AKA “smart” meters) being left on their property, APS has put together an incredible collection of lies.

Taking what seems like every possible opportunity to deceive, APS starts out their proposal by selectively quoting – and actually misquoting – ACC Decision # 69736:

“each electric distribution utility shall investigate advanced metering infrastructure for its service territory and shall begin implementing the technology….”

The exact quote minus APS editing is:

“… each electric distribution utility shall investigate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of implementing advanced metering infrastructure for its service territory and shall begin implementing the technology if feasible and cost effective.” I have placed what APS left out in bold. (Quote is on page 7, here: 0000075595 )

By law, APS is able to make back their up-front costs plus 8 to 10 percent on “capital investments”.  So how could APS not come to the conclusion that blowing millions of dollars on a “smart” grid was “cost-effective”? Under APS’ perverse “capital investment” incentive how can they lose? An 8 to 10 percent return on many millions is extremely “cost-effective” – for APS! Throw in getting rid of meter readers and it’s a cinch.

But ACC Decision #69736 also said,

“Utilities should investigate their needs and those of their customers to determine if the benefits of AMI outweigh the costs….”

APS never asked me what my needs are. APS never asked anyone I know what their needs are. Indeed, I have found no evidence that APS investigated anyone’s needs but their own.

ACC Decision #69736 also required the ACC to consider:

“conservation of energy supplied by electric utilities, optimal efficiency of electric utility facilities and resources, and equitable rates for electric consumers.”

That was never done, nor was a cost/benefit analysis despite the fact that the Decision stated,

“However, both the benefits and the costs of Advanced Metering and Communications should be considered before requiring full-scale implementation.”

In ignoring their own decision, the ACC has totally shirked their responsibility to look out for and protect ratepayers. Had the ACC done a proper, independent, forensic cost/benefit analysis then this entire wasteful, toxic and discriminatory boondoggle would have come to a screeching halt.

The Connecticut Attorney General did such an analysis and found that the “smart” grid would cost each residential ratepayer roughly $411 ($444 with “stranded costs” included) in order to save about $11 over 20 years. That’s a whopping 55 cents per year per customer in savings.

His 18 page report is here: http://www.w4ar.com/ATTY_GENERAL_CONN_05-10-03RE04_Brief.pdf

The Connecticut Attorney General’s report is a “must” read since it is based on the results of thousands of real people using thousands of real “smart” meters. It also addresses costs associated with a power company very similar in size to APS.

In asking for extra fees, APS attempts to scapegoat people who want to keep their analog meters as financial burdens to APS and other ratepayers. The Connecticut Attorney General’s analysis shows clearly that the opposite is true. Customers who do not want or cannot use “smart” meters are subsidizing the others. That is discriminatory and punishing.

He reports:

“Certain types of customers, due to no fault of their own, simply cannot shift their electricity usage to off peak times. These customers include many elderly, those with sick or young children at home, as well as those customers who work second or third shifts. Also, many businesses simply cannot change the times that they use electricity. Forcing these customers to purchase AMI meters is punitive. First, these customers cannot take advantage of the time-based rates that the AMI meters are intended to facilitate. Second, these customers will not only be forced to pay for their own meters, but they will also be required to subsidize any savings achieved by those customers that can benefit from time-of-use rates. Third, even if they could shift the times of their electric usage, many of these customers cannot afford the associated controlling technologies that are required to make the AMI meters truly effective.”

To this I will add an anecdote that shows how, under APS‘s “smart” grid scheme, people with lower incomes are subsidizing the more well-to-do. My wife recently bought a modest, “non-luxury” duplex rental.  When signing up for electrical service, APS told her that Time Of Use rates would probably not be cost effective for either her one bedroom unit or the two bedroom one. APS said that larger dwellings were needed for savings to be achieved with Time Of Use plans. In short, her tenants have no use for “smart” meters yet will be subsidizing those in larger homes who might want them.

Additionally, there is no need for “smart” or even digital meters to implement Time Of Use rate plans. Such plans were available in the past via analog meters that had time switches built in. APS flat out lied in their fee request when they said,

Customers with analog metering will be unable to take service under time-of-use (“TOU”) rate schedules due to the relatively limited technology of these meters….

APS lied again when they said,

“...a customer who elects an analog meter will not be able to track, analyze, and manage energy usage to the same extent available to customers with automated metering.

There are plenty of reasonably priced devices that anyone can buy to monitor their electrical use. Some gadgets will even do it in real time, not with a delay as with the APS system.

Here is one example of an energy monitor: Black & Decker EM100B Energy Saver Series Power Monitor.

The vast majority of people know when they are using electricity anyway, and they should not have to subsidize the few who feel the need to scrutinize their every watt. Electrical usage is not a mystery that needs solving by APS “smart” meters. Most adults know when the meter’s running. APS is touting an “advantage” few have asked for or need. In short, APS is engaging in hype and we are being scammed.

APS lied again when they said people’s health concerns about being bombarded with “smart” meter microwaves 24/7/365 were proven unfounded” because their paid scientist, Leeka Kheifets, said so. Kheifets is well known as an “industry scientist”. Her and her “methods” have been exposed as a fraud in The Real Junk Science of EMFs and elsewhere: (http://www.microwavenews.com/junkscience.html)

APS touts Kheifets’ presentation at the ACC’s first “smart” meter meeting in September of 2011, but that presentation has been thoroughly debunked by numerous independent studies posted at ACC Docket # E-00000C-11-0328.

APS lied again when they said that customers with analog meters would not be able to participate in “pre-pay billing”.  Long before “smart” meters and long before auto-pay billing arrangements with banks, if going out of town for long periods I would “pre-pay” my electricity and other regular bills with a check hefty enough to cover the expenses incurred while away. This claim by APS is shear nonsense.

APS lied again (notice a pattern yet?) when they said customers with solar would not be able to have an analog meter because,

“…an analog meter is not able to record the bi-directional electricity flow necessary to support certain distributed generation programs.”

More complete nonsense!

Metering solar with analog electrical meters was (and is still) done in one of two ways: 1) with a bi-directional analog meter that can spin in either direction depending on whether the system is using or producing power, and, 2) metering is done with two analogs in tandem – one meter records power in and one records power generated and returned to the grid.

There are probably thousands of systems like this since grid-tie solar systems have been around much longer than “smart” meters.

APS is so completely over the top with greed in their current fee request that they are delusional. APS has the audacity to say,

“Customers who create increased costs due to participation in an automated meter opt-out program should bear responsibility for those increased costs or a portion thereof.”

What about power companies “who create increased costs”?!  The reality is APS has removed and likely ruined about a million perfectly good analog metersmeters that currently cost about $32 retail – and replaced them with meters that cost about $150, or about 5 times more.

Add in all the “smart” grid extras: field equipment such as collectors and routers (basically APS has had to build their own cellular network) plus software, plus contractors to figure it all out and install it. Then add in the ongoing costs – operating and maintaining the network, managing the data, back office software, servers and cybersecurity costs – and it is pretty clear why, in their request for added fees, APS did not provide any concrete, real world examples of other companies that have reduced rates as a result of implementing the “smart” greed, I mean “grid”. And the reason APS did not provide any examples is because there aren’t any!

APS wants $75 upfront for anyone not wanting a radio broadcasting networking station (AKA “smart” meter) at their house. This is unbelievable audacity for many reasons. Briefly,

  • If APS wants to site a radio antenna on people’s private property then APS should pay for that.
  • If APS wants to site networking equipment on people’s private property then APS should pay for that.
  • People harmed by the Radio Frequency of APS’s networking equipment should not have to pay APS to avoid harm (commonly called extortion).
  • People wanting to avoid the surveillance capabilities of “smart” meters should not have to pay APS to avoid that (commonly called extortion).
  • People wanting to avoid known risks of “smart” meters such as over-billing, house fires, appliance failure, medical implant shutdowns, GFI interference, etc. should not have to pay APS to avoid that (again, commonly called extortion).
  • There are no “installation” or “set-up” costs for people who already have analog meters.
  • There are only “installation” or “set-up” costs for people who do not have analog meters because APS removed those people’s analog meters. Such costs belong to APS. “You broke it; you bought it.”
  • People not wanting a “smart” meter are still paying for the cost of the “smart” meters of others (plus installation, related equipment, etc.) and without getting one themselves. They should actually get a refund.
  • There are no “higher infrastructure costs” involved with analog. For one thing, as previously mentioned, the analog meters themselves are 5 times cheaper.
  • If meter reading is such a huge expense then people can get a reduction on their bills for self-reading.
  • APS lists “refurbishment of analog meters” as an associated cost. Is that a joke?
  • APS also lists “development and administration of an opt-out program” as a cost. Is that another joke? What kind of system did they have for, say, the last 100 years?  

As part of their proposed extortion racket, APS also wants $30 a month from people with analog meters. All the reasons listed above apply again to that greed-crazed idea.

  • Here’s some simple math to show how totally outrageous $30 a month is.

There are no “smart” meters in Sedona. APS currently charges the 6,500 residences there $1.86 per month each for meter reading. This adds up to $145,080 per year to read all the residences.

  • If no one in Sedona wanted a “smart” meter then APS’s $145,080 would jump to $2,340,000. The individual residence yearly meter reading charge would go from $22.32 to $360.

Isn’t it is safe to say that APS has lost their minds in hubris and greed?

APS says that “…to date, less than one-half of one percent of the Company’s overall customer base has requested non-transmitting analog meters.”

  • This should not be a surprise when APS is allowed to deceive the public with lies that seem unending. This should not be a surprise when most media either do not understand this issue, do not deem it “newsworthy” or are on the receiving end of APS advertising money.

Indeed, I proved APS was lying about how often and how strongly their “smart” meters were broadcasting. I brought my findings to 47 newspapers and TV stations in the APS service area and only 3 small independent papers picked up the story.

I proved APS to be lying about the surveillance capabilities of their “smart” meters and the same thing happened. APS runs a nuke plant and no one cares they are serial liars?!

If by chance there is ever a mainstream media story about “smart” meters, APS are presented as “officials” and those against as a minority of oddballs and Luddites. The recent news story about this APS fee request read like it was an APS press release. So when APS claims less than half of one percent do not want a “smart” meter it should come as no surprise.

  • As long as public monopolies such as APS are allowed to lie with impunity what else should we expect? As long as public monopolies such as APS are allowed to influence media through advertising dollars and to influence elections and politicians via campaign contributions what else should we expect?

APS’s $7.8 million per year “charitable giving” is also a form of advertising and influence peddling. A city council member of one Arizona town confided to me that he did not expect others on his council to go against APS on the “smart” meter issue because of “all” that APS did for the community. Isn’t it a downright sickening disgrace when charity corrupts?

APS can add belligerent to their list of character flaws. As if throwing down a gauntlet, APS says that one must “qualify” to pay protection:

“…customers must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for service….” APS then admonishes that we “must provide unassisted access” to the meter. Like we don’t have to do that already?

As though we were a pack of total troublemakers, and as though this was not already the law, APS further states in their request that,

“…customers who in any way alter the accurate measurement of energy or otherwise engage in energy theft, or have exhibited threatening behavior to APS meter readers or other Company employees, will become ineligible and will be automatically removed from the program by the Company.”

Wow, better snap-to all you analogers. And no making faces either.

Finally, let’s be clear that we are involved in word game with APS and have been from the start.

All along APS has been attempting to control the debate, manipulate perception and bamboozle people by using deceptive language.

What they call “opt out fees” is really extortion. What they call “AMI” or “smart” meters are really microwave radio broadcasting networking equipment. Yes, these devices have a metering capability but in actuality they function as much more than a “meter”.

APS needs to keep calling their networking equipment “meters” in order to skirt the fact that they are violating the ratepayers’ current easement agreement and are engaging in trespass and theft by parking their networking equipment on private property without permission, payment or legal authority.

Republicans who beat their chests and bellow in defense of “private property”, “individual rights” and “rule of law”, where are you? Oh that’s right, you comprise the entire ACC, have a majority in both legislative houses and hold the Governor’s office. So why so quiet? Is it that G.O.P. soft spot for big business and big donors?

APS parent company Pinnacle West contributions by Political Affiliation in 2012:

follow the money

 

[link to money pie chart in case not displayed in this email copy: http://www.followthemoney.org/database/topcontributor.phtml?u=8481&y=2012&incy=0&ince=0&incs=0&incf=0 ]

As good as the money is, Republicans should start living up to their beloved “values” and distance themselves from APS. Indeed, Republicans should find the spine to stand up to APS because their big business/big donor is also a big liar and a big bully.

Sincerely,

Warren Woodward

Cc: Governor Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne

 

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2 Comments

  1. You trust the government to protect us from utility monopolies? That’s why Rural Co-ops formed.

  2. […] in the letter may be found online here: Connecticut Attorney General Calls AMI Meter Use Punitive http://sedonaeye.com/connecticut-attorney-general-calls-ami-meter-use-punitive […]

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