AARP Oklahoma argues against PSO’s “flawed smart meter program”; citizen groups oppose program and rate hike, call for moratorium and state investigation

Tuesday, July 22, AARP Oklahoma representatives testified in court that the Smart Meter plan proposed by American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) is flawed and unproven.

Sean Voskuhl, state director for AARP, said his group tried to make its case that the smart meter plan is flawed and unproven. He said that AEP-PSO did not include data from its smart meter pilot project in Owasso that could prove the cost-benefit analysis.

“We weren’t able to find evidence that this is a great deal for ratepayers,” Voskuhl said Tuesday after the hearing.[i]

Earlier in the month, Joe Ann Vermillion, AARP Oklahoma Executive Council Member, wrote this editorial on the AARP website [ii]

Giving PSO an Open Check Book for its Flawed Smart Meter Expansion Not a Smart Idea

Right now, our electric company – Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) – is asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to approve its flawed smart meter expansion program.

They want customers like you and me to pay for their $133 million expansion, even though their own analysis fails to show their smart meter program will reduce either operational expenses or the price of electricity for customers.

AARP Oklahoma opposes PSO’s flawed smart meter program and is urging the Corporation Commission to reject their plan.

We shouldn’t give PSO an open check book for its expensive smart meter expansion, especially when many older Oklahomans already have trouble paying for their monthly utility bills. Instead, AARP is asking PSO to create a low-income program, much like one already in use by OG&E, which would help older Oklahomans afford to pay their electric bills.

PSO’s smart meter costs outweigh the benefits that will occur as a result of this investment. Under their costly plan, residential customer bills will increase by $3 to $4 per month for three years or more – $135 over three years– without any way to determine if cost reductions or bill savings will actually occur as they predict.

This is not a bargain that ratepayers should accept.

PSO’s flawed smart meter expansion plan is anything but smart. It’s a dumb way to shift almost all the risks associated with its estimated costs and benefits to the customer.

And it’s simply not fair to ask us to pay for this expensive project.

I urge you to call the Oklahoma Corporation Commission at 1-800-944-6708 and ask them to reject PSO’s flawed smart meter expansion program.

(Joe Ann Vermillion, a resident of McAlester, is a member of the AARP Oklahoma Executive Council.)

Meanwhile, two citizen groups issued a press release July 21, opposing the PSO’s request for a rate hike and deployment of Smart Meters.

The Tulsa 9-12 Project cited privacy, data use, health problems, program cost, and liability from lawsuits in their opposition. They also said:

If approved, “Smart Meters” will blanket 30,000 square miles of Oklahoma with pulsing non-ionizing radiation (a class 2B Carcinogen). The unsuspecting public will be radiated 24 hours a day by a wireless technology that can neither be seen nor heard. There are 3 cases currently before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission due to severe health effects associated with AMI (Smart Meters).

Amanda Teegarden, executive director of OK-SAFE, Inc. said

“OK-SAFE opposes PSO’s proposed rate increase, and the related rollout of AMI (smart meters) in their service area. Having followed this issue for a while now, we have come to believe that PSO is willfully and intentionally disregarding the public’s legitimate privacy, health and cost concerns associated with the installation of these types of meters. We strenuously oppose this rollout.

Further, we ask the legislature to issue a moratorium on the installation of any more AMI meters until expert testimony on the risks and costs has been made public.”

Tulsa 9.12 Project additionally stated

Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, candidate for U.S. Congress, should recuse herself from voting on the PSO rate case. Douglas has accepted campaign contributions from several utility companies, including PSO, leading to possible conflict of interest and bias in the PSO rate case.

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[i] http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/energy/aarp-challenges-aep-pso-smart-meter-plan/article_43e0ed62-121d-511c-96c0-02fd31a1608f.html
AARP challenges AEP-PSO smart meter plan;
AEP-PSO plans to increase customer rates to pay for new meters

http://www.bnd.com/2014/07/23/3315167/judge-considers-utilitys-plan.html
Judge considers utility’s plan for smart meters

[ii] http://states.aarp.org/giving-pso-an-open-check-book-for-its-flawed-smart-meter-expansion-not-a-smart-idea/

 

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