Sedona Smart Meter Awareness - Keeping Sedona Safe One Home & One Business at a Time
Time of Use Billing  What is it?

4/8/14 Agenda Item 7 Public Comment given by Monnie Ramsell to the City Council of Sedona  

I am wondering who can really benefit from having an automated meter in Sedona.  Not every rate plan requires an automated meter.  The Standard Plan only requires an analog meter.  On APS' website it says, "This plan helps those who use less energy save money.  It doesn't matter what time of day you use electricity, you're billed at a single rate.  

This plan works best if you:

- use 1,000 kilowatt hours or less each month

- live in a home or apartment that is 1100 sq.  ft.  or less

- don’t have a swimming pool or spa that’s electrically heated”

So most condos, townhomes, mobile homes, duplex and small single family homes will fit into this category.

Who else?

This plan works best for those who stay at home during the day, the retirees, the elderly, and the stay at home moms or dads with young children.

These people will not be able to take any advantage of any of the Time Of Use (TOU) plan which an automated meter offers.

For commercial accounts, the standard flat rate plan will benefit businesses that remain open during normal business hours which includes; most offices, retail shops, government offices, financial institutions, and most restaurants, schools and libraries, and health care facilities and most hospitals. So I am sure that City of Sedona understands this and opted out.

Doesn't the Standard Plan sound like a plan that will benefit the majority of the people here in Sedona?

Even so, APS does not hesitate to talk people into a TOU plan even though there will be no saving for them. Many may end up paying more with the TOU plans because these plans are designed to charge you more when you need it the most, for example from noon to 7 pm during summer time.

Those who have high electrical usage have a big house, a swimming pool or spa and those who works outside their home during the day are those who may benefit from a TOU plan with an automated meter.

So what percentage of Sedona residents fit that category? The majority of us here in Sedona will not have any financial benefit to have a smart meter.

So can you see who will be subsidizing whom with this meter upgrade APS has in mind for all of us and the majority of our City Council had voted not to intervene with ACC on this issue?

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Revelations from CA and CT
and Commentary by Warren Woodward

Cooking Grandma by Willis Eschenbach

I got to thinking about the way that California prices its electricity, which is never a good thing for a man's blood pressure.

When I was a kid, the goal of the Public Utilities Commission and Pacific Gas and Electric was to provide cheap electricity. The Bonneville Dam and the Shasta Dam were lauded for bringing cheap, renewable electric power to the farms, just like the renewable electricity the Tennessee Valley Authority had supplied earlier. This cheap electricity was seen as liberating housewives from domestic slavery, and supporting business and manufacturing. It was hailed as the wave of the future and the path to success, and rightly so?cheap energy is the reason the developed world was able to lift itself out of poverty. And since we generated our own electric power when I was a kid, and had to live with the results when it went out, I know all about the ability of electricity to lessen even a kid?s load around a cattle ranch.

So . . . when did expensive energy become the new goal? When did raising the price of energy become a good thing? That's topsy-turvy thinking.

I started this train of thought when I had occasion to revisit Anthony Watts? outrageous electricity bill, which he discusses here.

Ninety-two cents a freakin’ kilowatt-hour? The utility companies have a monopoly, and they are allowed to charge ninety-two cents a kilowatt-hour? How can that be? Isn’t the California Public Utilities Commission supposed to stop that kind of thing?

The most aggravating part of all of this to me is that so many people see this kind of pricing as being a good thing. Not the ninety-two cents part, most folks find that outrageous.

But lots of folks apparently approve of the part where the higher the demand for the electricity, the more the utilities charge for it. This is called “Time Of Use” pricing, and a lot of well-meaning people think it’s a good idea … not me. I figure that’s because they just never thought it through all the way, they never saw what’s at the other end of the spoon.

Now, the utilities claim that Time Of Use pricing is a good thing because it spreads the load more evenly over the 24 hours … but why should I care? That’s their business, to provide enough power for all conditions when and as needed … but I digress. Hang on, I can likely find an example of their justification style … OK, they say the reason for Time Of Use Pricing is:

“To ensure greater power reliability and a better energy future.”

Impressive, who wouldn’t want a better future. Can I translate that for you?

“Greater power reliability” means so they won’t run out of power. If they were honest they’d say that they have Time Of Use Pricing “to avoid brownouts because we don’t have adequate generation capacity”. And ensuring a “better energy future” means “we hope we can provide future power but only if we raise prices on you today.” I’ll return to this issue in a moment.

But in any case, what kind of heartless bastards charge you more for something when you really need it? Because with “Time Of Use” pricing, when Anthony’s wife and kids are suffering in the scorching heat in Chico and really need the aircon, Pacific Gas And Electric (PG&E) and the California Public Utilities Commission say “Fine, you folks can turn on your air conditioners … but it will cost you almost a dollar a kilowatt to cool down.”

I never in my life thought I’d see electricity pricing used as a weapon against the poor and the old folks like that. That is criminal. What a plan. The seniors can afford to air condition their apartments or their rooms whenever they don’t need to … but when it’s hot, when they really need to air condition them, they can’t afford to. Catch-22, thy name is legion.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m sure the Public Utilities Commission didn’t intend that outcome. I’m not accusing them of deliberately trying to cook Grandma. To do that you’d need some smarts, and anyone implementing a plan like that clearly has no smarts to spare on Grandma. Sadly, it’s just another case of Noble Cause Corruption, where the noble cause of saving the world from Thermageddon™ has overwhelmed native common sense and compassion.

Seriously, folks, this kind of pricing is madness, it’s unacceptable. If we had a water utility, and they charged 5¢ a glass when you weren’t thirsty, and $5.00 a glass when you came in dying of thirst, everyone would scream bloody murder that as a public utility you can’t screw the customers like that. Pick a dang price for a glass of water and stick with it, you can’t be jacking the price through the roof on someone just because they’re thirsty, that’s not on.

But that’s exactly what’s happening with electricity. Air conditioning in Chico is becoming the province of the wealthy, due to the “Time Of Use” pricing policies of the PUC.

However, the PUC are not the villains here. They are caught in the middle because of the stupidity of the voters and of Governor Brown. The voters put in a very destructive “20% by 2020″ plan requiring 20% of the electricity supply to come from renewables by 2020 … then Governor Moonbeam had a Brilliant Idea™, so he unilaterally raised it to 33% by 2020. I don’t know how he jacked it by himself, but his daddy was the Governor and he grew up in the state house, so he knows which side of the bread the bodies are buttered on … these things are mysteries to the uninitiated like you and I.

And of course, it’s nearly impossible to build a fossil-fired plant of any kind anywhere in California anyhow. I hear these days when you apply for a license in California to generate electricity from fossil fuels, the State Government just issues you a couple of lawsuits along with the permits, in order to save time …

So you can’t build fossil plants, and renewable plants are few and far between … and as a result the system operators, a company called CAISO, are always balancing on the edge of a “brownout”, when the power doesn’t go out, but you only get 90% of the voltage, or on the verge of rolling blackouts, the next step after brownouts … and we’ve seen both.

And to put the icing on the cake, somewhere along the line, some congenital idiot ruled thathydroelectric power doesn’t count as a renewable energy source. I hope that person roasts in the place of eternal barbecue and HE doesn’t have the money to run the air conditioner. Truly don’t think I’ve heard a more expensive and destructive ruling than that one, especially after the TVA and Bonneville Dam and Shasta Dam have shown that yes, idiots,  hydropower is indeed renewable. Yeah, dams have problems and there’s lots of issues, but last I looked the rain is still working both reliably and renewably …

So by 2020 we’re suppose to get a third of our power from solar, and rainbows, and wind, and hydrogen, and biomass, and methane from the digestive apparati of unicorns, and fuel cells, anything expensive and out of reach will do. The suppliers of these nostrums have the state over a barrel, of course, and demand outrageous prices.

And as you would predict, this unbelievable idiocy has left the state woefully short of power. And as a result, the whole program has gone into reverse.

So now, rather thanincreasing the amount of cheap electric power availableto the consumer like a utility should, we’re going the other way. The PUC and PGE aren’t encouraging people to utilize cheap power in order to better their lives. They aren’t doing their job of ensuring an adequate supply of inexpensive power. Far from it.

Instead, they’re doing whatever they can to push people back into the dark ages, because they are UNABLE TO GENERATE ENOUGH LIGHT OUT OF UNICORN-FUELED PLANT TO FILL THE DEMAND …

So that’s why, when they say the pricing is to “assure greater power reliability”, that’s a lie. They are using that pricing to discourage demand. Have you ever heard a dumber thing than a business working to discourage demand? Who anywhere tells their customers to buy less? Why jack your prices to force them to buy less?

Well, because they don’t have the power generating capacity. And this in turn is because for every two fossil-fueled or hydroelectric power plants you build, you need one unicorn-fueled plant, and those damn unicorns are proving much harder to catch than Governor Moonbeam figured …

But even given that that is the case, and given that the PUC is caught in the middle, there has to be a better plan than cooking Grandma to deal with that problem.

The people pushing these rattle-trap schemes, like “Death Train” Jim Hansen, always talk about the grandchildren … meanwhile, every one of their damn plans, of carbon taxes, and cap-and-trade, and subsidies, and requirements for “renewables”, and regulations, and all the rest, every one of them does nothing but screw Grandma and the rest of the poor.

Those plans do nothing but raise the cost of energy with almost no benefit to the environment.

They don’t reduce CO2. They don’t save the planet. They don’t help the environment. At best, with a following wind they might make a difference of a couple hundredths of a degree in a century. And indeed, because they further impoverish Grandma and the poor, they are actively harming the environment.

And meanwhile in the present, far from the ivory towers where they entertain their century-long fantasies, on the other side of the tracks, out of sight from the houses of the wealthy, the reality of these destructive, ugly policies hit Grandma and the poor of California the hardest.  The head of the PUC doesn’t have to worry whether he can afford to air condition his sick child’s room … the CEO of PG&E isn’t losing sleep over his electric bill.

I fear I have no magic bullet to solve this. It will be a slow slog back to sanity. All I can do is to highlight the issues, and trust that at some point people will come to their senses.

So all of you folks that think that fighting CO2 will make a difference decades from now, remember the difference that this pseudo-green insanity is making today. Your actions are cooking Grandma, impoverishing the poor, and harming the environment today, and history will not find your part in inflicting pain and deprivation on society’s weakest members to be funny in the slightest. I truly don’t care if you think the poor in 2050 desperately need help from some imagined tragedy. You are screwing the poor today. My best Independence Day wishes to you all, and remember, the beauty of America is that you’re all free to air condition your houses … but only when it’s not hot.  

Warren Woodward adds this comment . . .

The foregoing article's premise is confirmed by a cost/benefit done by the Connecticut Attorney General. Customers who do not want or cannot use “smart” meters are subsidizing the others. That is discriminatory and punishing. He reports:

Certain types of customers, due to no fault of their own, simply cannot shift their electricity usage to off peak times. These customers include many elderly, those with sick or young children at home, as well as those customers who work second or third shifts. Also, many businesses simply cannot change the times that they use electricity. Forcing these customers to purchase AMI meters is punitive. First, these customers cannot take advantage of the time-based rates that the AMI meters are intended to facilitate. Second, these customers will not only be forced to pay for their own meters, but they will also be required to subsidize any savings achieved by those customers that can benefit from time-of-use rates. Third, even if they could shift the times of their electric usage, many of these customers cannot afford the associated controlling technologies that are required to make the AMI meters truly effective.

To this I will add an anecdote that shows how, under APS's “smart” grid scheme, people with lower incomes are subsidizing the more well-to-do. My wife recently bought a modest, “non-luxury” duplex rental. When signing up for electrical service, APS told her that Time Of Use rates would probably not be cost effective for either her one bedroom unit or the two bedroom one. APS said that larger dwellings were needed for savings to be achieved with Time Of Use plans. In short, her tenants have no use for “smart” meters yet will be subsidizing those in larger homes who might want them.
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