Oklahoma Corporation Commission reviews other states’ opt-outs for smart meters in Public Service Co. of Oklahoma case
How much other state regulators let utilities charge for customers opting out of smart meters was the focus Friday in a hearing involving Public Service Co. of Oklahoma at the Corporation Commission.
PSO wants approval to charge customers a one-time fee of $183 and $28 per month to opt-out of smart meters. The utility plans to complete the installation of more than 520,000 smart meters by the end of 2016. After that, PSO’s one-time fee for opting out would rise to $261.
Witnesses for PSO testified the utility needs to recover costs for meter reading and new billing processes for customers who opt out of smart meters. Those customers would instead use a digital meter with the wireless communication module removed. That would alleviate the concerns a handful of customers have about radio frequency exposure and data privacy.
Assistant Attorney General Jerry Sanger questioned PSO’s witnesses about how the utility came up with the opt-out charges and if it reviewed similar charges in other states. The attorney general’s office represents consumers in utility cases.
Derek Lewellen, PSO’s manager of smart grid and meter revenue operations, said PSO had a different cost structure and operated under a different regulatory environment in Oklahoma.
Sanger reviewed a list of utilities and their opt-out charges with Lewellen. Under state law, utilities in Vermont aren’t allowed to charge customers for opting out of smart meters. A Florida utility had a one-time charge of $89 and monthly fees of $13, while a Baltimore utility had a one-time charge of $75 and fees of $11 per month.
Lewellen said some other utilities have higher opt-out charges than PSO’s proposal. A utility in Oregon has an opt-out charge of $254 and monthly charges of $51, while a Nevada utility has one-time charges ranging from $110 to $280, with monthly fees from 90 cents to $13.30, depending on four different meters customers can select.