Shedding Light in the Darkness

Another State Wises Up to The Smart Meter Con

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Kentucky’s two largest electric utilities have been denied permission to install smart meters in homes across the state. The Public Service Commission found the utilities failed to show that the costs of smart meter implementation were worth it. The utilities had proposed installing about 1.3 million smart meters over a three-year period at a cost of nearly $350 million.

In its order, the commission noted that customers were being asked to pay for the new system but Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric did not commit to passing on savings from smart meters to their customers.

Kentucky regulators said that KU and LG&E could not demonstrate new meters were needed to provide adequate service. “The utilities stated that their existing meters have an average remaining service life of 15 years or more and would continue to provide reliable service,” the PSC wrote in a release.

Given that almost $53 million in unrecovered costs remains for their existing meters, “KU and LG&E could not prove that their proposal was a reasonable least-cost option, as required by law,” the PSC said.

“At a time when many Kentucky families are struggling to pay their utility bills because of constant rate increases, the PSC agreed with my office that a smart meter application by these companies must be rejected,” Attorney General Andy Beshear said in a statement. “We intervened in the case to protect Kentuckians from a project that clearly did not benefit them.”

In May, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities rejected smart meter proposals they said “revealed weaknesses in the business case for advanced metering functionality.”

In June, the North Carolina Utilities Commission rejected Duke Energy’s grid modernization proposal, including storage and electric vehicle infrastructure — not on its merits, but because the utility wanted to establish a special rider to pay for the plan.

In August the Mount Shasta City Council passed an emergency resolution, joining with other California cities, to appeal the installation of smart meters and for the state’s Public Utility Commission to allow cities to opt-out.

While in Canada the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board turned down a multi-million-dollar proposal by New Brunswick Power to convert all residences to smart meters. The Board said there is simply not enough evidence to prove the benefits of the plan when compared to its costs.




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