Lubbock’s $35,000,000 new tax on utility customers is wrong use of resources

Pratt on TexasListeners living in the City of Lubbock may have caught the headline “LP&L board OK’s $35M Lubbock advanced electric meters project,” meaning that all ratepayers will be forced to pay for a system-wide conversion from working electric meters to new so-called “smart” meters.

Around the country claimed cost savings from smart meters in urban environments have rarely proven out, or at least there is almost no published data to demonstrate such, partly because these meters end up requiring much more attention by utility repair departments. What it saved on one hand appears to be spent by the other.

Claims by utilities that smart meters help with service quality by automatically reporting outages appear to be heavily exaggerated. Also, customers and electricians often find fault with the accuracy of the digital meters. Utilities deny such but of course a utility is not a disinterested third party. And then there is the FBI warning that hacks of smart meters are likely to spread.

…the same mentality of the city council that appointed them: spend on one new project on top of another with little regard to the costs citizens pay.

All money spent by LP&L, as a regulated utility, comes out of ratepayers’ pockets which may be a clue as to why there appears to be no drive for spending restraint and better prioritization by the utility’s board. They seem to have the same mentality of the city council that appointed them: spend on one new project on top of another with little regard to the costs citizens pay.

At this moment forcing customers to pay for a meter conversion is a misallocation of resources given that ratepayers have not yet paid for the massively expensive planned interconnect to the ERCOT grid. Also, the utility has not fully upgraded and repaired its infrastructure that was admitted to be quite substandard in the past few years. Where has that priority gone?

Meter conversions could wait a generation without harming the enterprise’s ability to deliver power to its customers.

Lubbock Power and Light’s governing board needs to concentrate resources on base infrastructure and completing the grid switch. Meter conversions could wait a generation without harming the enterprise’s ability to deliver power to its customers.

But, given that the board has already voted to make its customers pay for the thirty-five million dollar meter conversion, the only way to address the lack of sensitive-to-customer prioritization is to elect different people to the city council that appoints the utility board in Lubbock.

Comments

  1. Elizabeth Padgett says:

    There has been no public discussion about this, no cost/benefit analysis done, no environmental analysis. They are in a hurry to bring in more tax money to transfer over to the downtown projects. With all its unsubstantiated fees, LP & L has become a profitable slush fund for the council”s spending habits. Let the citizens vote on this ridiculous endeavor,

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