FPL to Charge for “smart-meter” Opt-Out! Please Contact Florida PSC!

The Florida Public Service Commission Staff has posted its recommendation to the Commission regarding FP&L’s request to charge for an opt out.

In a nutshell, they are recommending the charge be reduced as follows:

One Time Fee – FP&L requested $105, Staff Recommends $95
Monthly Fee – FP&L requested $16/month, Staff recommends $13/month.

The recommendation does not address the type of meter you will get. FP&L’s tariff just says “non-communicating” meter. This causes two problems. For those objecting for privacy reasons, they can put a digital meter on your home that contains a computer that collects data but does not transmit such data wirelessly to FP&L.

For those that are getting sick from the meters, it was found in California and Nevada that the digital non-communicating meters continued to make people sick. They fought and won the right for an analog meter.

Staff’s report indicates that as of the writing of their report, only 35 residents filed objections to the tariff. There are 4.5 million FP&L customers.

If PSC receives no serious opposition on record, then we fully expect the Commission to approve the Staff Recommendation and charges will most likely start to occur in April 2014.

Therefore, it is imperative that we generate many additional comments to the PSC!

The Commission will meet on this docket on 1/7/14. All Docket Info can be found here http://www.floridapsc.com/dockets/cms/docketFilings3.aspx?docket=130223

Please get your written objections in to the Commission and also please mark your calendars to call them on 1/6/14 (the day before the meeting). The number is 800-342-3552.

Commission e-mail addresses are below. Tell them NOT to approve the FP&L tariff and NOT to approve the Staff’s recommendation.

Send your e-mail to the Commissioners and the Clerk. We recommend sending one e-mail as opposed to separate ones but it is your choice. Very important that you put “Comments for Docket # 130223″ in the Subject line. E-mail address as follows:

Commissioner Eduardo E. Balbis
Commissioner.Balbis@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Julie Imanuel Brown
Commissioner.Brown@psc.state.fl.us

Chairman Ronald A. Brise?
Chairman.Brise@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Lisa Polak Edgar
Commissioner.Edgar@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Art Graham
Commissioner.Graham@psc.state.fl.us

Office of Commission Clerk
clerk@psc.state.fl.us

Some Talking Points (not all inclusive):

  • If you are a FP&L customer and don’t have a smart meter, please note that in your comments up front.
  • Not only should this petition be suspended but it should be put on hold pending full evidentiary public hearings on smart meters from a cost, health, privacy and security perspective. In light of the recent NSA scandals and also all the Federal Government concerns and potential mandates on cyber-security for the grid, as well as the fact that FP&L’s own estimates from the recent rate case do not show savings to the ratepayer, it is time to re-evaluate.
  • Opt Out’s alleviate some concerns but not all. What happens to the multi-family dwellings? How does someone with 10-100 meters behind their wall “opt out”? You can’t. What happens to the residents that are getting sick from their neighbors meters or the associated equipment outside their unit on the poles?
  • What exactly is a “non-standard” meter? Those opting out want to retain their analog meters and do not want a non-communicating meter (digital). (This is important as California found that the digital meters were still making people sick because of the dirty electricity it produced on their home electrical lines.)
  • Those opting out should not have to pay a fee to protect their health and privacy. The smart meters cost approx. 5 times more than the analog and their estimated useful life is half. They require more equipment (routers, repeaters, IT maintenance, security, software, telecom fees, etc.) than analogs. The cost is far greater. Weather events will cost more as there is now additional sensitive communication equipment that can be damaged and will need replacement
  • As FP&L admitted in Docket # 130160, smart meters stop communicating. FP&L needs a method to get the meter reads in for the smart meters that don’t work properly. FP&L could use the same programs to get the manual meter reads in for the opt outs. They don’t need to write separate programs.
  • Monthly manual meter reads are not required for those opting out. FP&L could do one of two things. Either do estimated billing based on history or have the customer submit their own meter reading. Once a year FP&L should be coming out to all customers (regardless of which meter they have) to inspect their equipment on our property to make sure it is in good working order. They could do a meter read at that time to verify that the customer was doing proper readings. In addition, customers could also submit digital photos of their meter to support their readings. No need for monthly charges.
  • There is PLENTY of precedent of services be performed for “some” customers and not “all” and no fee is charged. Examples, 1) spanish translations of materials, customers service, 2) brail bills, 3) TDDY services for the deaf, 4) home energy audit.
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