On September 12, 2017, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a monthly fee for APS customers who opt out of smart meters, now a standard among APS customers. The smart meters wirelessly communicate a home’s energy use to the utility company and allow customers to review their energy patterns and use in real-time via the APS website.
The majority of APS’ more than 1 million customers already have these smart or automated meters. Those that do not and are subject to the fees already know who they are. If you did not call APS requesting to opt out, then the smart meter is already in use on your home. The smart meters are supposed to allow customers more control over their home’s energy use, have the potential to reduce outage times as well as have environmental benefits.
Those who chose to opt-out, did so claiming health, safety and/or privacy reasons. APS has to send employees to their homes to read their meters each month.
As of June 30, 2017, there are only 15,485 customers with opt-out meters. Those are the customers subject to the $5 fee. Additionally, as of October 1, 2017, anyone who requests the opt-out meter will be subject to a one-time fee of $50 as well as the $5 monthly fee.
In 2014, a similar rate structure was created but rescinded in 2015 by the Arizona Corporation Commission. The reinstitution of the $5 fee was considered during the approval of the broader APS rate hikes last month, but then broken off and handled separately.
Customers who opt out of the wireless meters will also be excluded from certain rate plans and programs and not be able to access the full usage information that customers with wireless meters have.