Commissioner opposes smart meter opt-outs

Days after the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada recommended an opt-out plan for ratepayers opposed to NV Energy's NV Energize smart-meter program, a commissioner has filed a separate draft order rejecting opt-outs.

Commissioner David Noble wrote Monday that the best information available today indicates that smart meter benefits outweigh potential risks that "may or may not be substantiated in the future." The meters are key to upgrading the electrical grid, providing safe and reliable service for all ratepayers and reducing NV Energy's operating costs, he wrote.

Therefore, there's "no reasonable basis upon which to consider an opt-out tariff because no accommodations are necessary at this time," Noble wrote.

Smart meters collect hourly and daily power-use details and transmit those details via electromagnetic waves directly to NV Energy. The meters would allow new conservation programs, as well as voluntary money-saving plans for consumers who could use less power during peak hours. NV Energy says the meters would also save the company $36 million in annual operating costs.

Noble's draft order conflicts with a Thursday order from the commission that called for digital meters that wouldn't collect daily or hourly power use data or transmit consumption details using electromagnetic waves. The waves have concerned some ratepayers, who say electromagnetic radiation can cause health problems.

The commission will discuss both draft orders and write a final order in a meeting Wednesday at 9:30 in Carson City. The commission will simulcast the session in its Las Vegas office at 9075 W. Diablo Drive.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at or 702-380-4512.