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
- 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.
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
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
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?
* * * *
Revelations from CA and CT
and Commentary by Warren Woodward
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?
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.”
wouldn’t want a better future. Can I translate that for you?
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 . . .
foregoing article's premise is confirmed by a cost/benefit done by the
Connecticut Attorney General. Customers who do not want or cannot use
meters are subsidizing the others. That is discriminatory and
punishing. He reports:
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.
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.