In a topic we’ve visited a couple times already on the Texas Electricity Ratings blog the subject of Oncor and their Smart Meters is again hitting the news wires this past week. This time, the message is that the PUC has approved Oncor’s right to charge their customers even more money for the first round of Smart Meters that the company has already installed, but which have been deemed to not work effectively enough by the PUC and thus need to be replaced. So basically, Oncor is charging us even more money (they have already been charging us some anyway) to replace these smart meters because they don’t work right. This seems fair, right? And the PUC isn’t without blame either, they pressured Oncor to install these meters quickly, and then after Oncor did so they came up with the requirement rules and determined that the installed meters were inadequate. It’s always fantastic when a company or boss gives you a tight deadline to do something with no instructions and limited directions, and then complains later when the work isn’t up to expectations. All the more reason to stay on top of your electricity rates and make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
But we should be thankful that the PUC didn’t meet the entire request that Oncor made. The payout customers will have to front is about 30 million dollars. However, Oncor originally requested the ability to charge consumers 256 million dollars. Wow. Customers payouts will end up being about $5 a month for residential customers, or about $60 a year.
I’d make a joke about taxpayers/customers/citizens having to pick up the slack for companies that run their businesses poorly, but these days I doubt anyone would be laughing.