Utility Commission Authorizes 'Legal Action' Over Josephine County Smart Meter Ordinance

The PUC said that they have reluctantly referred the smart meter matter to the Oregon Department of Justice for 'appropriate legal action.'

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 4:44 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Josephine County may face legal action after approving an ordinance that promised to mitigate smart meter opt-out fees for residents who refuse they new machinery, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) decided on Tuesday.

The County chose to adopt that new ordinance on October 31, in spite of protest from utility company Pacific Power that the County did not have the authority to intervene over fees that were approved throughout the state by the PUC. The ordinance is set to get into effect in roughly three months.

In a meeting on Tuesday, the PUC raised the topic of the Josephine County ordinance, "which attempts to set rates for service and penalties for utilities that are inconsistent with the rates set by the PUC," the commission said in a statement.

During that meeting, the PUC voted in favor of referring the matter to the Oregon Department of Justice for "appropriate legal action."

“Legal action is not the Commission’s preference,” said Megan Decker, Commission chair. “But we need to be clear with customers and other jurisdictions served by Pacific Power that Oregon’s legal structure requires Pacific Power to charge rates set by the PUC. We encourage customers and communities affected by smart meter installations to continue to engage with the PUC as we explore viable, cost-based options for customers.”

The PUC also discussed the fluidity of those opt-out fees, which may change once installation of the new meters is completed. Currently they are set at a monthly charge of $36 throughout Oregon.

"Today, Pacific Power reported that reliable new information on the cost of monthly meter reading for opt-out customers would not be available until installation is complete, but that discussion of alternative options to mitigate the cost of meter reading is underway," the PUC said.

Smart meters have faced some stiff resistance from activist groups, particularly in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Complaints range from concerns that smart meters lead to larger monthly power bills, can cause fires, violate privacy, or even claims that smart meter signals can cause serious health problems.

Pacific Power has addressed these concerns as either based on outdated information from earlier models in other states, or that the more extreme concerns are completely unfounded. They have also claimed that out-of-state groups have been responsible for spreading misinformation regarding smart meters.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 3949

Reported Deaths: 148
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah104558
Marion90925
Washington69517
Clackamas29410
Deschutes1200
Linn1159
Umatilla1123
Polk9610
Lane672
Yamhill657
Jackson600
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath410
Coos310
Malheur280
Josephine261
Douglas250
Jefferson240
Wasco181
Columbia160
Hood River120
Morrow120
Lincoln90
Tillamook60
Curry60
Union60
Crook50
Wallowa20
Sherman10
Grant10
Harney10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96400

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles460232116
Riverside7004292
San Diego6701249
Orange5469133
San Bernardino4365176
Alameda287493
Santa Clara2652139
San Francisco238640
Kern187129
San Mateo183376
Tulare164175
Santa Barbara155112
Fresno148222
Contra Costa133637
Sacramento130256
Imperial127423
Ventura91230
San Joaquin75233
Kings6472
Stanislaus64628
Sonoma5004
Solano45520
Monterey4138
Marin40314
Merced2616
San Luis Obispo2591
Santa Cruz2002
Yolo19422
Placer1859
Napa1013
Humboldt932
Madera842
El Dorado780
San Benito722
Nevada411
Sutter402
Del Norte370
Shasta364
Butte340
Mono341
Yuba281
Mendocino210
Inyo191
Mariposa151
Calaveras130
Lake120
Glenn120
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Lassen40
Plumas40
Tuolumne30
Tehama31
Alpine20
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