As expected the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved the PSC Staff Recommendation to allow FP&L to charge $95 upfront and $13/month to those customers who wish to opt out of a smart meter.
The Office of Public Council (OPC) did little but suggest a reduced fee of $75 upfront and $10/month and based it off of California. The OPC also recommended two paragraphs be included in the Order. It was read quickly and we are not fully understand the significance, if any, of those inclusions. But basically OPC supported the tariff and the fee being charged.
Health and medical exemptions were never even discussed. No discussion of the definition of a non-communicating meter occurred, nor any of the other issues brought up to mitigate costs such as self-readings.
FP&L did admit that the fee needed to be and was designed to be high enough to disincentivize opt outs! When questioned, they claimed customers who had an analog could keep it but also said there were NO savings for the utility by people opting out (which is not true since the utility will not be spending money putting on a smart meter).
FP&L also re-enforced that at any time if a customer wants to switch from an analog to a smart meter that there would be NO fee. Those customers refusing to pay the fees will be put into their normal collection process for non-payment. They admitted that the $77 visit charge may not occur for all customers but some customers may have 5 visits and it is meant to be an average assumption (so much for cost based and cost causer!).
If you wish to watch the meeting, it will be archived in the near future at this link and Item #6 starts at the 57 minute mark: http://www.floridapsc.com/agendas/audiovideo/index.aspx
FP&L will be revising their tariff and resubmitting today to reflect the Staff recommendations. FP&L indicated that they expected this service to become effective in May 2014 (we assume that is when they will start to charge us).
If no protest is filed, the Order will become effective in 21 days. We are currently looking into how this “protest” works and we are considering filing a protest. Those interested in possibly joining this protest filing should contact us via this email: firstname.lastname@example.org