CPUC Considers a Community Out-Out Option and the Americans with Disabilities Act's Impact on Smart Meter Deployment
For those who have been surprised by the wave of opt-out rulings, buckle up! The California Public Utility Commission is about to begin Phase 2 of its opt-out proceedings and it promises to be a thriller. Of course the traditional issues such as cost and cost allocation will be addressed and while important, I believe these issues will be upstaged by two concepts I have yet to see explored: 1) A community
opt-out option and 2) the Americans with Disabilities Act’s Impact on Smart Meter Deployment.
In a recent ruling, Commissioner Peevey states:
I believe that parties should brief the issue of whether the Americans with Disabilities Act or Pub. Util. Code § 453(b) limit the Commission’s ability to adopt opt-out fees for those residential customers who are required to have an analog meter for medical reasons. Consequently, parties are requested to brief the following questions. For each of the questions, the party shall cite to the specific legal or statutory authority in support of its response.
- Does an opt-out fee, which is assessed on every residential customer who elects to not have a wireless smart meter installed in his/her location, violate the Americans with Disabilities Act or Pub. Util. Code § 453(b)?
- Do the Americans with Disabilities Act or Pub. Util. Code § 453(b) limit the Commission’s ability to adopt opt-out fees for those residential customers who elect to have an analog meter for medical reasons?
Questions presented regarding the community opt-out include:
- Should the opt-out option be extended to local governments and communities?
- Will the costs associated with this option and the fees to be charged to community opt-out participants be different than those assessed for individual opt-out participants?
- Are there statutory or contractual restrictions associated with allowing local governments or
multi-unit dwellings to participate in a community opt-out option?
- How would non-residential customers or customers who wish to have a wireless smart meter be accommodated?
Wow! Very interesting. Quite a few additional questions immediately come to mind. Here are some of the more pressing: How will a community opt-out affect the utility's business case, including but not limited to reliability, environmental and billing system changes? Can a community opt in once it has opted out? How many times can a community or person opt in and out?
Opening Briefs on the questions raised by the Commission are due June 29, 2012, and Reply Briefs on July 13, 2012. With pleadings this interesting, who needs a summer reading list?