Mon, Jan. 27

VOC seeks no-penalty opt-out on smart meters

The Village of Oak Creek's Big Park Regional Coordinating Council unanimously approved a resolution Oct. 10 that asks the Arizona Corporation Commission to allow APS customers to opt out of the smart meter program without penalty.

APS is at the tail end of its deployment of 1.2 million smart meters in Arizona, replacing analog meters that need to be read manually. The utility has requested the ACC allow them to charge analog customers $75 initially and an additional $30 per month.

A representative from Sedona Smart Meter Awareness, a nonprofit organization that has been educating the public on the possible negative health effects of smart meters, gave a presentation during the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council's Sept. 19 meeting.

The group has given similar presentations to Sedona and Clarkdale, though Clarkdale has yet to take any action on the issue. Sedona members agreed to send a letter to the ACC asking that customers be allowed to opt out without the fee.

The Big Park Regional Coordinating Council represents about 6,000 people through 28 voting members, and does not make or enforce policies or laws. Business owners and homeowners associations make up this unincorporated section of the Verde Valley.

President Ken Rouse said the group wanted to represent the 28 voting entities fairly and make sure each member of the community had a chance to have their voices heard.

"When an issue comes up like smart meters, we try to provide a way for the issues to be discussed," Rouse said. "We can make our voice heard and hopefully people who hear us as a community speaking out will be influenced by what we have to say."

Rouse said this was not a statement for or against smart meters, but a request that residents be allowed to make the choice for themselves without the threat of a fee or a more expensive monthly bill.

"The resolution that we passed at that meeting simply says that we are asking the Arizona Corporation Commission to seriously consider our proposal that we as individual customers and residents be allowed to opt out of the smart meter program without penalty," Rouse said.

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