Smart meter opt-out program, the saga continues

by Luke Johnson on June 26, 2013

The debate over smart meters is far from over. I have written several articles about smart meters and concerned consumers who have written the Public Utility Commission of Texas or PUCT.

One letter I found recently was not just from a Texas resident but a Texas senator. The Chairman of the Business and Commerce Committee, John Carona, wrote the PUCT regarding the smart meter program in Texas. Here is some of what he had to say in the letter.

June 6, 2013

Dear Commissioners:

In 2005, the 79th Legislature passed House Bill 2129 by Representative Dennis Bonnen, which required electric utility providers to consider establishing certain consumer option programs encouraging the reduction of air contaminant emissions. In recognition of the development of smart meter technology, an amendment to the bill was offered on the Senate floor to enable the implementation of smart meter technology statewide. In voting for the bill and the amendment, it was certainly not my understanding that it was intended to mandate installation of smart meters, but rather to encourage electric utility companies to develop the technology and correspondingly to encourage the Public Utility Commission to develop a plan for making the technology available.

Because of concerns that the law might now be interpreted to require smart meter installation, I filed SB 241 during the 83rd Legislative Session. The bill, which did not pass, would have required utility companies to provide consumers with the opportunity to opt-out of smart meter installation programs. Based on this, I support the Commission’s efforts to ensure that consumers have this option and encourage the Commission to act expeditiously to establish a rule recognizing the option.

I think, in light of the recent news about Prism and Edward Snowden, people will rush to opt-out of the smart meter program. Here is the article I wrote about smart meters and privacy issues associated with them.

I hope what the energy companies wanted to get accomplished with the smart meter system does not get lost in the debate. A smart grid is a safer grid but the question is at what cost?

How I see it…

President Obama is planing on shutting down 288 coal power plants in 32 different states. The strain on the grid is coming and the cost is jobs. Maybe if the government can see our electricity usage through smart meters they can determine a solution to its own grid problems.

Maybe a filibuster can save the coal jobs and the economy from this disaster waiting to happen. OK, I’m being a little melodramatic but I’m sure someone out there is looking out for the people and not the earth.

 

Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson has been writing about deregulated energy markets since early 2010. His knowledge has helped consumers lower their electricity cost. Connect with Luke on Google+.

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