In light of a pending decision to saddle PSO customers with a new set of arbitrary fees, the Tulsa 9.12 Project, a conservative grassroots organization, is requesting the Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to establish a moratorium on further installation of the problematic utility or water meters (smart meters).
PSO is seeking permission from the Corporation Commission to penalize customers who don’t want smart meters by charging a one-time opt-out fee of $183.00 and $336.00 a year perpetual surcharge on top of the regular electricity bill.
Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, president of Tulsa 9.12 Project, said the Oklahoma Corporation Commission needs to respond to the protests and kill the smart meter rate increases.
“It is evident that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates the citizens and represents the utilities,” she said.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) administrative law judge has now agreed with all the extremely high opt-out fees proposed by PSO in the current case. The fees are close to the highest in the nation, with disregard for the health and privacy of Oklahomans and without addressing the fire related dangers or the high costs of the meters, she said.
There is no consideration for the fact that the opt-out customer is subsidizing the opt-in customer for the expensive meters and all the new infrastructure required to support the meters, she said. The OCC commissioners have repeatedly stated that they do not regulate the type of meters used or the effects that the meters may have on the customer or the environment because it is outside their purview. They have said that their job is to approve or disapprove the rates, nothing more, she said.
Vuillemont-Smith said that in March, the OCC lobbied the Oklahoma Legislature to give the OCC $100,000 of Oklahoma taxpayers’ money along with the right to define the health safety and privacy disclosure, content and rules regarding the meter approval or refusal. They were to be paid to codify into law a penalty against the people with all its terms and conditions and simultaneously state that they do not have the expertise to address the mechanics or adverse effects of an AMI meter during a rate case, she said. No state or federal law mandates the installation of an AMR or AMI smart meters without the expressed request of the customer.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), issued Order No. 745 which allowed utilities compensation for demand programs tied to the smart meter deployment. The highly controversial FERC order was vacated in its entirety by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 23, 2014, yet the OCC is passing rules to implement the Demand Program in Oklahoma.
The Demand Program implemented in Claremore has caused an increase in electric billing of 3 to 4 fold, she said. The billing is based on demand habits averaged over a 24-hour period rather than the actual consumption of electricity.
Tulsa 9.12 Project is requesting Pruitt to intervene on behalf of the citizens of Oklahoma to investigate whether the OCC has the authority to implement a Demand Program which has been vacated. To establish a moratorium on any further installation of transmitting utility or water meters.
“We are asking that all meters with transmitters be removed or the transmitters be turned off until the meters can be proven biologically safe from the electromagnetic radiation transmissions,” Vuillemont-Smith said. “That all meters must contain surge protection and be properly grounded, that no data outside of usage shall be transmitted or collected and that no added tariffs other than the operating costs to produce and transport the energy to a customer be permitted.”
PSO is in the process of trying to install more than 520,000 smart meters this year in Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma.