Installation & Infrastructure Costs
City Light’s quotes are inconsistent and under-report the true costs of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). The real costs, used in City Light’s 2009 grant request to the Department of Energy, was $407 million, including interest, for Operation and Maintenance. This is 375 million dollars more than that presented in their White Paper to the public on page 4 giving a figure of $72 million [1.] Note this $72 Million has since been updated to $95 million, June 2016, by the newly appointed CEO of Seattle City Light, Larry Weis. City Light needs to be honest and transparent about their real AMI costs.
City Light Rate Increase
As detailed in the previous white paper mentioned above Seattle City Light plans on increasing the utility rates by 33 percent over a three year period. Much of this cost is due to implementation of AMI. This would be the biggest increase in 25 plus years. The average increase upon implementation of AMI around the world is 50 percent in the first year.
Meter Accuracy and Time of Use (TOU) Fallacy
City Light has stated in their White Paper that our current analog meters aren’t accurate and they are relying on “smart” meter’s supposed “meter accuracy”. The average life of an analog meter is 60 years and they have been working fine all these decades. “Smart” Meters will add TOU billing down to the minute. This will be an excuse for them to charge much more. Even the gas company Puget Sound Energy does not do this. They decided that TOU would be a billing nightmare and not motivate customers to reduce energy usage. Note, that this TOU will require a brand new billing system, much more complex than the current one. This will be performed by an outside vendor and not Seattle City light. This is another area where more price gouging and errors could occur. In the energy committee meeting of Seattle City Council on Dec. 10th, 2014, a joke was made by one of the Council-members saying we need to be sure to have a special hotline for the people who may be getting bills of one or two thousand dollars with the roll-out. But this is no joke! It happened in Naperville, IL and Santa Cruz, CA.
Pacific Gas and Electric in California charges $75 to begin and $10 a month each month for maintaining your analog meter. Why should people be punished for remaining with what works well for all parties concerned? The policy should be a voluntary opt-in or free opt-out as in Los Angeles, Vermont, and Eugene, OR. Federal law also says that smart meters are voluntary, so why is a monthly opt-out fee (likely estimates are $30/month if you wish to refuse a “smart” meter) being discussed?
New information is being verified.