Recently the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission denied Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) application to install smart meters.
The Reasons for rejecting the installation of smart meters include:
- No net public benefit, no evaluation of alternatives and the public interest
- PNM’s unlicensed contractor and PNM’s repeated inability to accurately specify the qualifications required for a contractor
- The uncertainty of savings for ratepayers: imminent rate increases, the risk that lifetime costs will exceed savings
- Disproportionate benefits for investors: elimination of financial risks for investors, immediate increase in investor earnings, PNM’s requests that the Commission find the AMI capital costs and expenses are reasonable and prudent, full recovery of undepreciated costs and customer education costs as regulatory assets
- Discretionary project — insufficient demonstration of need and no plans to use AMI for energy efficiency
- Opt-out fees do not provide meaningful opportunity to opt-out: unreasonableness of fees , health concerns, safety concerns
- Job losses
- Recent and future rate increases
Evidence about health effects was discussed at length: “Customers who have strong feelings about the health effects of the meters should be allowed to protect their stated health concerns without a prohibitively high cost.”
The decision goes on to state: “The conditions of the portion of the population who believe they are electromagnetically sensitive deserve acknowledgment and consideration as decisions are made regarding the implementation of an AMI Project. Accommodations could include reasonable opt-out provisions and fees and perhaps the selection of technologies that minimize the impacts on such people. Such accommodations may be desirable to minimize health risks to customers and address the needs and preferences of PNM’s customers. These are issues that can and should be addressed in a public input process of the sort PNM stated in its 2012 Report that it would conduct before bringing a smart meter proposal to the Commission for approval.”
The PRC Chairman Sandy Jones concluded that the AMI program “was clearly not in the best interest of the public.”
The decision means there will not be smart meters in the near future in New Mexico’s metropolitan areas.
Let’s hope that Australian state governments will wake up to the fact that there are no net benefits to the customer in installing smart meters, and that at the very least, people who are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation should be catered for. But then again, are our state governments more interested in people or profits for multinational corporations????