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ACC Oversight and Regulations Skewed in Favor of APS

Sedona AZ (June 28, 2013) – In a Letter to the SedonaEye.com editor, Sedona resident Henry Twombly writes of his disappointment and concerns with lack of proper oversight by the Arizona Corporation Commission of APS:

Dear Commissioners,

I write to ask that you re-examine your oversight of APS. I can understand how tricky it must be “to balance the customers’ interest in affordable and reliable utility service with the utility’s interest in earning a fair profit.” Let me tell you why I think the scales of regulation are heavily skewed in favor of APS.

First you allowed APS to levy an “environmental benefits surcharge” that benefits a few at the expense of many. The programs funded by these fees were to make homes and businesses more energy efficient. The solar energy home rebate was so successful that it backfired financially.

aps logoAPS was trying to expand its solar grid and exploit these homes by selling them extra electricity more expensively than they bought it back. Incredibly they didn’t foresee that these homes would generate enough electricity to buy so much less than before. Decreased revenues also resulted from the Solutions for Business programs, again give-aways funded by the many for the few. All those subsidies, rate cuts, etc. to light, refrigerate and/or air-condition the workplaces also cut their electricity costs.

In short APS was gradually depleting its resources to the point where it had to request the LFCR fee. Though the goals of these programs are noble, their ongoing implementation is fiscally irresponsible and smacks of gross mismanagement. Why do you all at the ACC allow APS to continue these programs that lose money? Why do you then allow APS to ask for (and then grant them) another fee (LFCR) to recompense itself for its ineptitude?

Secondly, you granted this Lost Fixed Cost Recovery fee, an egregious tax which must be unprecedented in American capitalism. You are ordering us to pay a fee to keep APS afloat, when we receive no extra service or benefit in return. Imagine if all businesses decided to add a help-our-bottom-line-we-screwed-up fee. People would be so poor they wouldn’t be able to spend any money; so the economy would collapse. This fee defies all the tenets of free enterprise upon which America was built. Legally it seems criminal and feels like the ACC is legitimizing APS’s ineptitude as a form of extortion. Why are you allowing APS to commit fraud? Is APS too big to fail?

Thirdly, you are allowing APS to install smart meters. Are you doing so because the meters often overcharge customers and/or APS can make 8-10% profit on capital investments? Maine’s PUC showed that smart meters, instead of saving $363m, cost ratepayers $99m. A study by Connecticut’s Attorney General discovered ratepayers had to spend $444 to save only $11 over 20 years. Moreover, other studies of smart meters have proved them to be unhealthy for a surprising number of people. Where in this scenario are you at the ACC regulating APS for the public good?

Arizona Corporation Commission logoThen to add insult to injury, APS wants you to consider an initial and then monthly opt-out fees, which will add 25-40% to customers’ bills, which would be especially hard for those on fixed incomes. A fee for a service that one has declined. That must be another first in economic malfeasance and even more extortion and fraud.

Why are you even allowing APS to spend monies they don’t have on replacing perfectly operable and safe analog meters? Especially when the salary of the APS CEO has risen from $5.66m (2010) to $7.9 (2011) to over $11m (2012). How can you justify your inaction?

You have had all sorts of red flags flying in your face. Yet you do not acknowledge them, let alone act on them. I don’t mean to impugn your integrity, but something is amiss and askew with your oversight. A jaded political and/or economic observer might think that you had stock in APS; and that your gross negligence is due to your conflict of interest. I am sure that this is NOT the case. But from the outside looking in, your lack of regulation for the public good does not look good.

Any business executive brought in to turn around a company would take these measures with APS. He would eliminate all those so-called energy efficient programs that cost the company money. He would never have started and now would stop the installation of smart meters, because it’s a waste of time and money. Why destroy good equipment for unhealthy, more expensive substitutes? He would cut the salaries of the CEO and other overpaid management and allow attrition to eliminate jobs. Simultaneously he would stop outsourcing some APS operations and thus would save some jobs for APS employees. He would cut dividends to shareholders. After all APS is a public utility, not a hedge fund for venture capitalists. Obviously it is not the ACC’s job to manage the company, but it is also not the ACC’s job to prop it up and enable its further ineptitude. Furthermore, it IS the ACC’s job to prevent APS from gouging the public. So eliminate all these fees, i.e. the environmental benefits surcharge, the LCFR, and the opt-out fees. Make APS get its financial house in order the good old capitalist way.

In conclusion, your balance is lopsided. “Customers’ interest in affordable and reliable utility service” is being ignored in favor of the “utility’s interest in earning a fair [unfair?] profit.” Is it fair for the ACC to enable APS mismanagement at the public expense? Is it fair for APS to subsidize businesses at residents’ expense? Is it fair for APS to foist unhealthy meters and higher costs on its customers? I urge all of you commissioners to right the scales and protect the public at the expense of APS. Let APS fail, if it must. Someone will come in and run it more efficiently. As regulators of utilities and corporations, your allegiance should be more heavily weighted towards the public rather than corporations, which are more apt to exploit the public.

I thank you for reading this long letter, taking in my observations and opinions. I know your job is not easy, as you are caught between vying interests. I just ask that you act for the highest good of everybody, instead of a few special interests. Thank you again for all your hard work and your consideration of my concerns.

If you feel so moved, please let the ACC know your views. Here are their e-mail addresses: BitterSmith-web@azcc.gov, Burns-web@azcc.gov, RBurns-web@azcc.gov, Pierce-web@azcc.gov and Stump-web@azcc.gov.

Henry Twombly
350 Arroyo Pinon Dr.
Sedona, Az 86336

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!



  1. Steve says:

    Opted out. Thanks.

  2. Nancy Baer says:

    Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy sent this document to me today and since I had not run across if in the past two years, I’m sharing it here:

    Where can I find out more about Electro-sensitivity and wireless Smart Meters?

    Ill health from wireless Smart Meters:

    The most wide-ranging report on health and other problems with wireless Smart Meters is by
    Dr Jamieson (256 pages); it includes numerous references to the scientific literature.

    Documents and reports on health problems of wireless Smart Meters:

    American Academy of Environmental Medicine (2012) Statement opposing wireless Smart
    Meters, http://www.es-uk.info/news/20120203-american-academy-view.pdf

    Hirsch, Daniel (2011) http://www.committeetobridgethegap.org/pdf/110212_RFrad_comments.pdf

    Jamieson, Dr Isaac (2011) “Smart Meters: Smarter Practices”, Radiation Research Trust, http://www.radiationresearch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=173&Itemid=

    Maret, Dr Karl (2011) “Commentary on the California Council on Science and Technology Report “Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters””, http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf/docs/letters/Maret_-_CCST_Commentary_1-31-2011_final.pdf

    Oceanside Coalition (2011) “Smart Meters and Grid: Separating Fact from Fiction” http://www.oceansidecoalition.org/web_documents/sm-separatingfactfromfictionsept2.pdf

    Powerwatch: http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/library/downloads/smart-meters-20110714.pdf

    Sage Associates (2011) “Assessment Radio Frequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from
    Smart Meters”, http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf/

    Santa Cruz (2011) Public Health Department: demand for moratorium on wireless Smart
    Meters, http://www.es-uk.info/news/20120203-santa-cruz-report.pdf

    UK groups warning of ill health from wireless Smart Meters: http://smartmeterpetition.org/ http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/

    Videos: health effects of wireless Smart Meters

    Carpenter, Dr David: (2011) “Public Health Physican Warns of Smart Meter Dangers, Stresses Need for Analog Option” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7L21XOC2wA

    Diane Gendron: (2012) Developing electro-sensitivity from a wireless Smart Meter (in
    French): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LowZqsKXbuk

    EMF Safety Network: Smart Meter Health Complaints: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=2292

    Film trailer (2011) “Stop Smart Meters” http://smartmeterfilm.com/
    Hirsch, Daniel (2011) “Smart Meters 100x Radiation Exposure of a Cell Phone”
    Stratford Smart Meter Killing Shrub (2010)

    Videos etc: measurements of radiation from wireless Smart Meters:

    (2010) “Stratford Smart Meter 1”, measuring a wireless Smart Meter outside and inside a property. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRejDxBE6OE

    (2011) “”Smart” meters: Higher pulses of RF than a cell antenna”

    Measurements from wireless Smart Meters, and safety limits: http://smartmeterfilm.com/documents/smart%20meter%20radiation%20vs%20internation al%20RF%20safety%20standards.pdf

    Videos and books: people sensitive to electro-magnetic radiation Havas, Dr Magda (2010) “DECT Phone affects the Heart” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EI9fZX4iww

    Havas, Dr Magda (2010) “Diabetes and Electrosensitivity”

    Havas, Dr Magda (2010) “Evidence of Electrosensitivity”

    Havas, Dr Magda (2010) “Live Blood and Electrosmog”


    (2011) “Symptoms of electrosensitivity“ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DskKap_1Po4

    Bevington, Michael (2010) “Electromagnetic Sensitivity and Electromagnetic
    HyperSensitivity: A Summary” (ISBN: 9781872072203)

    Philips, Alasdair & Jean (2006) “Electrical Hypersensitivity, A Modern Illness” (ISBN:
    0952450348) http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/library/index.asp

    How can I measure radiation from wireless Smart Meters?

    You can hire or purchase a meter. A professional measurer is helpful but can be expensive. http://www.es-uk.info/docs/20110111_products_services.pdf

    See http://www.es- uk.info/docs/20110111_products_services.pdf

  3. APS – Arizona Public Services [or other electricity supplier]
    P.O. Box 53933, Sta. 3200
    Phoenix, AZ 85072-3933

    Today’s Date

    Re: Account [Your Account # Here] at above address


    Dear APS and all agents, officers, employees, contractors and interested parties,

    If you intend to install a “Smart Meter” or other digital utility meter at the above address, you and all other parties are hereby denied consent for installation and use of all such devices on the above property. Installation and use of any activity monitoring device (AKA “smart meter”) is hereby refused and prohibited. Informed consent is legally required for installation of any surveillance device and any device that will collect and transmit private and personal data to undisclosed and unauthorized parties for undisclosed and unauthorized purposes. Authorization for sharing of personal and private information may only be given by the originator (me!) and subject of that information (me!). That authorization is hereby denied and refused with regard to the above property and all its occupants.

    So-called “Smart Meters” violate the law and cause endangerment to residents by the following factors (often facilitated via analytical software):

    1. They can individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy.

    2. They monitor household activity and occupancy in violation of rights and domestic security.

    3. They transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants.

    4. Data about occupant’s daily habits and activities are collected, recorded and stored in permanent databases which are accessed by parties not authorized or invited to know and share that private data by those who’s activities were recorded.

    5. Those with access to the so-called “Smart Meter” databases can review a permanent history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants.

    6. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, corrupt law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance.

    7. So-called “smart” meters are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.

    8. It is possible for example, with analysis of certain so-called “Smart Meter” data, for unauthorized and distant parties to determine medical conditions, sexual activities, trade secrets, physical locations of persons within the home, vacancy patterns and personal information and habits of the occupants.

    9. So-called “smart” meters – and digital meters – cause, by intentional transmission and/or incidental disruption of house current, cancer-causing electromagnetic radiation to be emitted in proximity of the installed location and property in violation of laws against public endangerment, assault and commission of bodily harm.

    10. So-called “smart” meters are designed to transmit using microwave radio transmissions known to cause cancer and many other diseases, illnesses and symptoms.

    11. Your legal easement to my property does not include easement for a microwave transmitter or any networking equipment. Any such installation will be considered a violation of private property and an illegal “takings” – in other words, trespass and theft.

    I forbid, refuse and deny consent of any installation and use of any monitoring, eavesdropping, and surveillance devices on my property, my place of residence and my place of occupancy. That applies to and includes so-called “Smart Meters” and activity monitoring devices of any and all kinds as well as digital utility meters in general. Any attempt to install any such device directed at me, other occupants, my property or residence will constitute trespass, stalking, wiretapping and unlawful surveillance and endangerment of health and safety — all prohibited and punishable by law through criminal and civil complaints. All persons, government agencies and private organizations responsible for installing or operating monitoring devices directed at or recording my activities, which I have not specifically authorized in writing, will be fully liable for any violations, intrusions, harm or negative consequences caused or made possible by those devices whether those negative consequences are justified by “law” or not.

    This is legal notice. After this delivery the liabilities listed above may not be denied or avoided by parties named and implied in this notice. These terms and conditions apply without regard to status or existence of any so-called “opt-out” contract. Civil Servant immunities and protections do not apply to the installation of so-called “smart” or digital meters due to the criminal violations they represent.

    Notice to principal is notice to agent and notice to agent is notice to principal. All rights reserved.


    Your Name Here With Your Signature Above It

    Cc: Your Lawyer’s Name Here followed by Esq. (this makes you look like a “tough customer”)

  4. Please take a moment and sign (link below)! Thanks.

    Soon, the Arizona Corporation Commission will decide whether or not to impose a new tax on rooftop solar power installations in Arizona that could devastate our state’s solar industry and leave us hooked on dirty fossil fuels. Arizona’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service, is promoting an outrageous plan that would punish people with rooftop solar installations by charging them an additional fee each month.

    Governor Brewer: No Tax on Rooftop Solar

    Governor Brewer hasn’t weighed in yet, but the Residential Utility Consumer’s Office, part of her administration, has proposed a monthly charge that would effectively crush rooftop solar.

  5. Dear Friends,

    You clearly support solar in Arizona. Come on out this Wednesday, November 13th, for a public rally near downtown Phoenix to show your support in person. There will even be live music!

    RSVP here: http://act.credoaction.com/event/arizona_solar_rally/3252/

    The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is set to vote by Thursday, November 14th on whether to add a tax to rooftop solar. Their decision-making process begin on the 13th, and we need to be there to tell them, ‘NO! Don’t tax our solar!’

    I’m going and will even arrive early morning on Wednesday the 13th to make sure I can get into the hearing room to testify.

    Join me & hundreds of others as we send a strong message in support of solar to the Commission. RSVP at http://act.credoaction.com/event/arizona_solar_rally/3252/.

    Thanks, see you at the ACC!

    Brooks Maschmeier

    PS – Can’t make it to the rally? Call the Commissioners on Monday or Tuesday and tell them to not tax solar. Go to http://act.credoaction.com/call/rooftop_solar_arizona/ for phone numbers.

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