Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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Public Utilities Commission calls for better data on smart meters

CARSON CITY — NV Energy has technically complied with the demands that it supply more information on the installation of its smart meters, but the staff of the state Public Utilities Commission says better data is needed.

NV Energy has already installed more than 700,000 of the meters in Clark County, and Sierra Pacific Power Co. is beginning the work in Northern Nevada.

The PUC has held hearings on customer complaints.

Consumer and senior citizen groups want the opportunity to reject the meters at no extra cost.

For those who do not want smart meters, Nevada Power estimated at an earlier hearing it would cost $110 for the utility to make an initial visit and an extra $14 a month for the meter reader to visit the home.

The PUC has not made a decision yet whether customers will have to pay extra for rejecting the smart meter.

The utility was ordered to supply information on the steps it has taken to make a smoother transition.

The utility on Jan. 23 outlined training programs workers have received to deal with questions and complaints from consumers.

The consumer will receive a letter before the installation detailing what to expect and steps to take when the company workers arrive.

Telephone lines have been established to answer consumer questions. In Clark County, the number is 702-402-4273; in Northern Nevada it is 1-888-559-9744.

Workers have been trained to answer the questions to assure consumers that the meters are safe and accurate and that personal information will not be released.

NV Energy is getting a $138 million grant from the federal government and is picking up the remaining $138 million cost of the program.

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  1. There are only two reasons NV Energy wants these meters: 1) eliminate staffing, and 2) implement variable rate time-of-day billing.

    Point number 2 above is particularly hard on people who telecommute or are otherwise at home 24/7.