Friday, June 19, 2009

AARP Opposes PEPCO Plan for Spending on "Smart Meters"

Spending billions on "smart meters" seems to be really in vogue in states where utilities sold their power plants, failed to make money in their Enron-like holding companies, and now have no safe place to sink investment for a regulated return. See Not so Smart? High Tech Metering May Harm Low Income Electricity Customers.

Recently the electric utility serving the Washington D.C. area, PEPCO, proposed to roll out "smart meters" with large amounts of spending that would be underwritten in part by consumers through higher utility rates and in part by taxpayers through the use of federal ARRA stimulus funds.

The invocation of high tech and environmentalism sounds keen and green.

But on closer examination, testimony submitted today by AARP's expert witness, Barbara R. Alexander, shows that the "smart meter" proposal simply is not cost effective.

See the Comments and Reply Comments of NASUCA to U.S. Department of Energy requests for information regarding "Smart Grid" initiatives. In their Reply Comments, NASUCA stated:
"First, the consumers are the ultimate owners of their energy consumption data. The establishment of privacy protections for personal energy information is critical, and the issue must be resolved in favor of the highest degree of consumer protection.

Second, consumers should have the choice to participate in any advanced metering program or in any dynamic pricing schedule that may involve data sharing arrangements.

Third, there are unique differences among electric consumers that must be considered for any Smart Grid deployment.

Fourth, investments made in Smart Grid technologies must be supported by a detailed cost-benefit analysis and subject to evidentiary proceedings and prudence review before costs are passed on to utility consumers."

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