On January 17, Virginia utility regulators rejected Dominion Energy’s $5 billion bid for additional ‘smart’ electricity meter deployment.
In doing so, Virginia joins state regulators in Kentucky (Aug 2018), Massachusetts (May 2018), and New Mexico (April 2018) in rejecting ‘smart’ meter proposals. In Canada, New Brunswick (July 2018) also rejected a proposal to install ‘smart’ electricity meters.
UPDATE 29 Jan 2019: We received word that parts of Kentucky do have ‘smart’ meters, and KU seems to be still deploying even though the PSC ruled against their proposal. There’s also a similar situation in New Mexico, where the regulatory ruling there seems to not apply to all utilities. We’d like your help to get to the bottom of such situations where regulatory rulings seem to be only partially applicable. If you have further info on these details, please comment below!!
UPDATE 1 Feb 2019: As states such as Virginia already have deployed ‘smart’ meters for a considerable percentage of utility customers, it is still unclear as to whether Dominion’s bid was to expand the number of its customers with ‘smart’ meters, or was actually to deploy “newer model / upgraded” smart meters. As we know from Take Back Your Power, utilities admit that ‘smart’ meters have a shelf life of only 5-7 years. Please comment below if you have further info on these proposals and rejections.
The official reasons for energy regulators’ decisions in all of these regions has been a) exorbitant costs; and b) lack of customer benefit. Though in my view, it is very likely that the liability associated with other aspects about this dangerous technology also played motivational factors, such as privacy violations, documented biological harm from radiation and voltage transients, home fires (including fatalities), and hacking / security issues.
Dominion Energy’s plans included spending a whopping $5.07 billion just for ‘smart’ / AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) meters. The denial by the State Corporation Commission is “without prejudice,” however, allowing Dominion to refile a revised proposal in the future.
UtilityDrive.com identified this this latest rejection in Virginia as
“part of a trend that has seen AMI deployment flatline at roughly 50% of electric customers [in the USA].”
In response, Marjorie Leach-Parker, Chair of Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter, stated:
Today’s decision by the SCC was a victory for all of Dominion’s customers who have grown tired of watching the corporation’s pockets get fatter at their expense. We would have loved to support a true “grid modernization” proposal by Dominion, if the company had proposed measures to increase renewable energy penetration, reduce energy waste, and facilitate electric vehicle integration. Instead, Dominion’s self-serving proposal was met with a firestorm of opposition, and the SCC rightly rejected it.
I envision that since the trends strongly indicate that ‘smart’ meter technology is being widely recognized as useless if not harmful, the “50% deployed” number will diminish as ‘smart’ AMI meters start to be replaced with safe, proven electromechanical technology which does not waste money, lasts 6-8 times longer, is far more accurate, does not surveil utility customers, and does not cause either physical harm or damage to property.
However, whether the trend of ‘smart’ meter proposal rejection (by PUCs) leads to the widespread replacement of ‘smart’ meters (with safe technology) is entirely dependent on the actions of utility customers.
For assisting with the return to responsible and safe technology, our award-winning documentary Take Back Your Power, which blew open the ‘smart’ meter agenda since our initial 2013 release, is now freely available on YouTube.
In many states and provinces, utility customers can have a ‘smart’ meter removed by opting-out – which typically means an extortive fee.
For resolving the problem at its root, a specific mechanism that individuals and groups may consider is a commercial liability action process from InPower Movement, implementations of which have been linked with the resignation of a number of government and corporate officials being held individually liable. InPower is raising funds to make this process widely available through an automated system. To contribute and learn more, go here.
Note to Reader: If you have more info on other regions where ‘smart’ meters have been rejected by regulatory boards, or additional info pertaining to the content above, please post in the comments below. Thank you!
Hat tip: Einar Olsen for contributive research.