smart meter close up

FP&L – No “Choice” of Meters for 36,000 Floridians

By now many of you that refused the installation of FP&L’s smart meters have received a “Dear Customer” letter telling you that you have a choice of meters. The letter goes on to say that if you don’t take their smart meter that you will be charged $95 upfront and $13/month to retain your old meter. If you haven’t received such letter, you will shortly.

On January 7, 2014 the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) approved this deal. Although, it is being contested by two separate citizen petitions (one of which I am leading), the rules state that FP&L can continue as planned with the stipulation that fees collected are “subject to refund”. That is, if the FPSC Order is overturned, they must return the fees charged to the customers.

Why the fees? Well you resistors are “cost causers”. It is a long-standing principle that is invoked at will when they want to get you to comply with the game plan. In 1987/1988 they invoked the same principle when they transferred the ownership of meter enclosures and associated cost burdens (maintenance/replacement) to you the customer. The order (PSC Order # 18893) stated that:

“Since self-contained meter enclosures are not a part of the utility function, but simply house the meter itself, their costs should be borne by the customer when the structure is initially wired for electric service or when it must be replaced due to obsolescence or wear. The burden of maintaining and repairing the enclosures’ must likewise rest with the customer.”

As we all know by now, a smart meter is not “simply a meter” but contains lots of additional components that are part of the utility function. It establishes a wireless Neighborhood Network and sends messages back and forth amongst neighbor meters, remotely disconnects services and monitors your usage. In the future they will turn on the second transmitter to establish your Home Area Network to connect with your Home Energy Controller or Smart Thermostat and will give your smart refrigerator the ability to text you. It collects more data than is needed to bill you for your current plan. But why fuss over details!

If you don’t enroll in their plan, they will slap a smart meter on your home. If you think you got that covered (i.e. you already caged/locked your meter or have restricted access to your meter) think again. You will be automatically enrolled and charged the fee.

The process to fight this will be long and painful. If you don’t want a smart meter you need to:

Retain your analog meter. Once they take it, you will never see it again. (Remember you will get an undefined “non-communicating” meter in the future.) You may want to send a certified letter to FP&L stating that you do not consent and that you are enrolling under duress.

File a formal compliant with the FPSC.  Here is the complaint page http://www.floridapsc.com/consumers/complaints/index2.aspx

Write/call your Florida State Senators/Representatives. They are in session right now. Make your voices heard. Senate – http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find, House: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx

Contact the Energy committees that oversee the FPSC. House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee – http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?TermId=85&CommitteeId=2724 and Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities  http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/CU/

Contact Gov. Scott – http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/

For those who still believe smart meters save money, ask FP&L how much net operation and maintenance savings are in the current rates you pay.

What they said in the 2009 rate case:

2009 rate case schedule

What they reported in the 2012 rate case:

2012 rate case schedule

The lack of cost savings was confirmed by the Office of Public Counsel who said on October 12, 2012 “However, to OPC’s knowledge, no studies, analyses, or quantification of the benefits or cost savings from the implementation of smart meters exist at this time. OPC is still waiting on the promised cost savings benefits of smart meters to be realized and shared with the customers.” http://www.floridapsc.com/utilities/electricgas/smartmeter/09_20_2012/WorkshopComments/OPC.pdf

Think smart meters prevent outages? Check out Northeast Utilities initial comments in a recent Massachusetts Department of Utilities investigation – “Meters do not reduce the number of outages” (page 4) http://haltmasmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/NSTAR_R12-76-Comments-7986-POSTED01172014_HIGHLIGHTED.pdf

And finally, how many of you run home from work or golf and check your FP&L energy dashboard each night? Apparently not many. The last annual report from FP&L showed that as of the end of 2012 with over 4 million meter installed, only about 15% accessed the dashboard about 2 times.

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