New Mexico (USA): Regulators reject PNM plan to install smart meters

donderdag, 12 april 2018 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

The New Mexican Apr 11, 2018

The state Public Regulation Commission announced Wednesday that it unanimously rejected Public Service Company of New Mexico’s proposal for a new remote metering system that the electric utility claimed would save customers $20 million over the next two decades and give consumers the ability to monitor their power use online.

PRC Chairman Sandy Jones issued a statement saying the regulatory body rejected so-called smart meters, “citing rate increases, an excessive opt-out fee, and layoffs as deal breakers.”

The meters, which PNM proposed to install on more than 500,000 homes in New Mexico, would transmit power usage data over mobile networks and allow the company to lay off an estimated 125 meter readers and other employees.

However, after a series of hearings on the plan, Jones said he felt the program “was clearly not in the best interest of the public.”

While customers could decline to have the meters installed, under PNM’s proposal they would have been charged a one-time fee and $47 monthly. In other states, opting out of such systems has been free.

PNM had said it would complete the project at a cost of $87.2 million and recover the money in part through layoffs and charging customers $5 a year for five years for the service.

Extra informatie per e-mail ontvangen van Arthur Firstenberg 0p 12 april 2018

Today we won a victory in the fight against radiation in New Mexico. The Public Regulation Commission has denied PNM's application for Smart Meters. ''The plan presented in the Application does not provide a net public benefit and it does not promote the public interest,'' wrote the Commission.

The Commission accepted the Hearing Examiner's recommended decision without alteration. It ruled that:

• PNM did not demonstrate that smart meters will save money.
• PNM did not demonstrate that smart meters will produce energy efficiency.
• PNM did not show that customers want smart meters.
• PNM did not evaluate alternatives.
• PNM did not say how it would protect customer data privacy.
• Cybersecurity issues need to be addressed.
• 125 good, high-paying jobs would be lost.
• Proposed opt-out fees were unreasonable.
• There was insufficient public input.
• There was insufficient response by PNM to public objections.

EVIDENCE ABOUT HEALTH EFFECTS was discussed at length. ''Customers who have strong feelings about the health effects of the meters should be allowed to protect their stated health concerns without a prohibitively high cost.''

The decision goes on to state: ''The conditions of the portion of the population who believe they are
electromagnetically sensitive deserve acknowledgment and consideration as decisions are made
regarding the implementation of an AMI Project. Accommodations could include reasonable
opt-out provisions and fees and perhaps the selection of technologies that minimize the impacts
on such people. Such accommodations may be desirable to minimize health risks to customers
and address the needs and preferences of PNM's customers. These are issues that can and should
be addressed in a public input process of the sort PNM stated in its 2012 Report that it would
conduct before bringing a smart meter proposal to the Commission for approval.''

The decision means there will not be smart meters in the near future in New Mexico's metropolitan areas: Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Clayton, Ruidoso, Tularosa, Alamogordo, Silver City, Lordsburg and Deming.

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