Yes. A “mini-victory”, but not a total solution.
On Dec. 13, the PUC Commissioners all three voted to have an Opt-Out for concerned citizens who are not in favor of having the new Smart Meter technology on their homes. The truth is, many of us who don’t want them on our homes, don’t want them in our neighborhood either. Are we just spoil sports or psychotic? Absolutely not. Many who have been subjected to their neighbor’s meter (even when they have been able to avoid getting one of their own) have come down with symptoms in their bodies that appeared simultaneous to their neighbors’ having a Smart Meter placed on their home.
But what will the Opt-Out look like? We do not know- we can only speculate and provide educated guesses based on comments from the Commissioners and their past history. However, for more possible insight to what the PUC will be considering when they create the parameters for an Opt-Out you might consider reading this document named ‘Staff update for discussion” prepared for consideration at the Nov. 16th Open Meeting. Here’s a link to the document which was made part of the public record for the PUC Project 40190 looking at the feasibility of an Opt-Out Program.
The Commissioners directed the PUC Staffers to come up with a written plan for the Opt-Out. (No timetable was given to my knowledge.) There are many variables that could come in to play with this Opt-Out. Will consumers be expected to pay to Opt-Out? Very Likely! How will the Opt-Out be done? What does the consumer do in order to Opt-Out? What if they already have a smart meter? If the consumer doesn’t already have one, will they be forced to take one (under threat of power being cut off, as they have threatened?) until the details are worked out?
Once the staffers come up with a documented plan, it will be posted on the PUC website in order for the public to view. They will also allow a period for public comments as well. (We will try to inform you when this happens- so perhaps subscribe to our posts on this website for alerts whenever posts are made!) I am not sure, but the document may be posted as part of the Project 40190 [link to read all posted comments in Proj. 40190]. Once the Public Comment period is over, they will choose to proceed with or without changes, I assume. This process could easily run into the Spring of 2013, maybe later knowing the previous time-frames of the PUCT. (Public Utility Commission of Texas) They have proven they don’t get in a hurry about anything!
In my humble opinion, we still need to ask our Representatives to introduce legislation into the 83rd Legislative Session, to cover the items that the PUC may avoid to address, or worse, where they may make an Opt-Out that only a ‘mother could love’…if you get my drift. They could make the Opt-Out so watered down, that it is virtually useless, or so costly, that no-one can afford to do it! We need to impress upon our Representatives that we need TEXAS to keep its GRID SEPARATE! There is a push to combine all grids around the world – to basically allow a ‘cap-n-trade’ type scheme to become a reality. If Texas remains unto itself, we can maintain our sovereignty. We can’t let the Federal Gov. and others tell us that we NEED to become connected to become modernized and strong – that just isn’t true!
To help with the effort to rid Texas of these Smart Meters all together, (this may be an incremental process that starts with obtaining a “strong Opt-Out” policy), please email me at Cindy@BanTexasSmartMeters.com.
We have ways you can help. If we work together we will be able to accomplish so much more!
UPDATE: Article from Associated Press gives additional insight – read below or link to it. Our website even got an ‘honorable mention’! Pretty cool!
PUC approves writing rules for smart meter opt-out
Posted on December 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM
“EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The Public Utility Commission has decided to develop a set of rules so consumers can opt out of the smart meters installed in millions of Texas homes and businesses.
Consumers have opposed the new meters, citing possible health hazards and privacy concerns. Some have installed steel cages around their analog meters to prevent utility workers from replacing them with the new digital units and one Houston woman held a gun to impede a utility worker from replacing her meter.
PUC spokesman Terry Hadley said Friday that an opt-out would leave already-installed smart meters in place but disable the devices’ radio frequency capabilities.
A draft of the new rules will be written and submitted for public comment, Hadley said. After that, the PUC will vote again on whether to adopt them, which means there’s still a chance the opt-out will fail. But, he said, “at this point the Commission is leaning toward an opt-out.”
It will take several months until the new proposal is drafted and voted, Hadley said.
Smart meters allow for remote metering via radio frequency and are make the billing process cheaper since there is no need to send utility workers to read them. The meters also provide real-time information on energy consumption and help utilities prevent grid overloads during peak times. They also report to the utility when there is a power outage, making reconnection faster.
In websites and meetings organized by PUC, those against smart meters have spoken of possible government snooping and violations of the Fourth Amendment —unreasonable search and seizure — as well as the chance that hackers could access people’s information from the meters.
On a petition template that’s posted on www.bantexassmartmeters.com , meters are called “surveillance devices” because they record the household occupants’ activities and can be used to “gain a highly invasive and detailed view” of their lives. Smart meters record consumption in 15-minute intervals.
Health hazards from the radio frequencies emitted by the meters have also been cited. The Public Utilities Commission says the meters have a lower impact than cellphones and microwave ovens and are well within Federal Communications Commission’s standards for radio frequency devices.
It’s likely that consumers who opt out will have to pay to have their meters read. As part of the rule-writing process, the Commission will gather information on how much it costs to send employees to read the meters and what disabling the radio frequency device would cost.
Users in California and Nevada pay between $75 and $107 to have the devices replaced along with monthly fees ranging from $8 to $10 to have the meters read. Meanwhile, Vermont legislators decided in May that utilities cannot charge users that opt out.
About 93 percent of the nearly 7 million smart meters in Texas’ competitive markets for electricity, mainly in Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have been deployed, Hadley said.”
END OF AP Article