PUCT Staff Recommends against Emergency Smart Meter Rulemaking
The Public Utility Commission of Texas received a joint petition filed by 119 Petitioners, requesting the PUCT initiate an emergency and ordinary rulemaking to prohibit further deployment of smart meters. The petition also wanted the PUCT to require the removal of smart meters already installed. Pleading in the alternative, Petitioners ask the Commission to formulate rules that provide for the safe implementation of smart meters and related equipment as well as provide customers the ability to decline participation in the Advanced Metering System program. Two hundred and seventy seven comments were filed regarding this petition with most of the comments expressing health and privacy concerns regarding smart meter deployment.
Oncor and other utilities opposed the petition. Oncor highlighted the benefits of smart meters which include the ability for customers to choose time-of-day rates, enhanced demand response programs, quicker outage detection and restoration and the ability to easily change retail electric providers.
Because the petitioners did not propose rule language that would permit the Commission to publish a rule, Staff recommends denial of the petition. However, Staff notes that the Commission has received extensive comments and concerns similar to those made by Petitioners in the PUC’s current Proceeding to Evaluate the Feasibility of Instituting a Smart Meter Opt-Out Program (Project No. 40190) and an examination of these issues will occur in that proceeding.