OK-SAFE, Inc. – What OK Corporation Commission staff is making deals with AEP-PSO ahead of the scheduled rate increase hearing, scheduled for June 25th in OKC?
On Thursday, June 18, 2014 AEP-PSO issued a press release indicating a rate settlement agreement had been reached. According to the Tulsa World, “Tulsa-based American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahoma announced Wednesday that the agreement on a $24 million hike was reached, although it still needs final approval by the Corporation Commissioners. AEP-PSO originally sought a $45 million annual increase that could have raised bills about $4 monthly for most customers.”
AEP-PSO’s June 18th press release on this issue is full of spin.
The first sentence reads, “A settlement agreement in the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) rate case will allow the company to offer Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for all customers, providing new tools for customers to better manage energy bills.”
Saying PSO will “offer” Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI, aka smart meter) is like saying the Mafia offers protection services. “Take the offer or else…”. People who have not accepted the utilities’ “offer” of a smart meter have been handcuffed, arrested, or had their power shut off.
New tools for customers? That means the installation of a two-way communication device that identifies, monitors and reports what is happening in one’s home .This means reporting what people in their homes are doing, and when; when they’re home, or away. Eventually moving to a time-of-day rating/billing system. Have fun with that.
As for the savings advantages, the benefits are all on the side of the utility company. Electric costs for the customer will go up. And up. (This is what has happened when smart meters have been deployed. See here and here. And here.) It is highly unlikely that customers will be able to reduce their energy usage enough to offset the rate increase.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PSO Rate Agreement Allows Company to Offer Customers New Technology to Manage Energy Use
TULSA, Okla., June 18, 2014 – A settlement agreement in the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) rate case will allow the company to offer Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for all customers, providing new tools for customers to better manage energy bills.
PSO announced plans in November 2013 to begin full deployment of AMI across its 30,000 square-mile service territory, with the goal to replace more than 520,000 existing electric meters with new AMI meters by the fourth quarter of 2016.
Customers’ use of the new AMI rate plans and energy management information made possible with AMI will directly contribute to their level of savings to offset the cost of the new meters over time. In addition, customers’ quality of electric service will improve through enhanced outage restoration capability, electronic reading of meters, remote connections and disconnections, and virtual elimination of estimated meter readings.
If approved by the OCC, the settlement will result in a small increase for the costs associated with AMI deployment. The cost of AMI will be $3.11 per month for residential customers beginning with the first billing cycle of November 2014.”
End of release.
There is a public hearing on PSO’s proposed rate increase scheduled for Wednesday, June 25, 2014 in a court room at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (archived link) in Oklahoma City, 2101 N. Lincoln Blvd, the Jim Thorpe building. The hearing is expected to run several days, if not longer.