APS approves monthly fee for customers who refuse a 'smart' meter

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Arizona Public Service won approval on Tuesday to charge a $5 monthly fee to customers who refuse to use a "smart meter". Smart meters use a wireless signal to transmit energy use information to APS. 

APS says that 1.1 million customers currently use smart meters. 

"...Advanced meters allow customers to have more control over their energy use, have the potential to reduce outage times and offer environmental benefits," APS said in a statement to 3TV/CBS 5.

[RELATED: APS rate hike approved]

The Arizona Corporation Commission approved the fees once before in 2014 but then revoked the approval in 2015 after legal concerns.

Customers were concerned that the utility company would be able to see what appliances they were using at what time and that there could be health and fire safety issues.

The commission voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve the fee again. The fee will begin on Oct. 1. 

Twenty-nine stake holders representing a broad range of customer interests reached a groundbreaking agreement on our first rate review in 5 years, including AMI opt-out. The hearing officer recommended the consensus agreement's AMI opt-out terms...Today's decision is important to have resolved for all of our customers.

Customers who want to switch out their smart meter for a meter that does not use wireless communication will be charged $50 starting on that date.

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