On February 6, 2019, the Iowa Utility Board issued its final ruling, rejecting Interstate Power and Light Company’s proposed tariffs for alternatives to AMI meters.
On March 1, 2018, Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL) filed with the Utilities Board (Board) a proposed tariff regarding non-standard meter alternatives for its electric service customers. Specifically, IPL proposes a $15 per month charge to customers who elect to opt out of having an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)1 meter installed. The proposed tariff is identified as Docket No. TF-2018-0029. On the same day, IPL filed a similar proposed tariff for its natural gas service identified as Docket No. TF-2018-0030. The Board issued an order docketing and suspending the proposed tariffs on March 28, 2018.
In its ruling, the Board ordered that the company must:
- Allow all residential customers taking service on the general residential rate to opt out of having an AMI meter on an ongoing, permanent basis. The opt-out option shall not be available to non-residential customers or those taking service under an optional, non-standard rate.
- Allow the opt-out option without any fee or charge at this time since meter-reading costs are presently included in a customer’s base rate
- Allow customers who currently have an analog meter to retain that meter as their alternative until such time as the meter fails or otherwise must be replaced
- Provide a choice of a non-transmitting digital meter or an AMI meter set to pulse only once per month to other customers electing the opt-out option.
- This order shall not preclude Interstate Power and Light Company from seeking a charge or fee for its opt-out tariff as part of a future rate case.
Attorney Jay Marcus filed this brief in the proceeding to obtain relief for residents.
The Board considered many issues in the proceeding, including the safety of digital meters. Unfortunately, the Board has put the burden of filtering the transients from digital meters on the ratepayers. Witnesses told the Board that a) filtering options were not expensive, and b) filters could eliminate most transients from the electrical lines.