Naperville IL– On March 4 and March 19, 2013, the City of Naperville conducted public hearings held pursuant to Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to consider implementation of proposed Energy Standards. By Federal statute, this public proceeding should have transpired years ago and certainly prior to moving ahead with the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative (NSGI).
By the close of the hearings, 1,454 pages of written comments/documentation were received and 14 individuals provided verbal comments. According to the City:
“The vast majority of public comments and documentation presented focused on the federal standard for smart grid investments. Primary concerns included health, safety, security, constitutional rights, societal benefits and desire to maintain existing electric meter or not pay a monthly fee for a non-wireless meter.”
In fact, based upon a review of City documentation, the above two sentences are the only apparent results of the City’s “review and consideration [of] all testimony, comments and evidence presented at the hearings and throughout the comment period.” There is NO indication that the City in any way addressed the comments or made any changes to its smart grid program in response to the PURPA hearings-related comments.
On July 16, 2013, the City without discussion adopted the utility recommendations to adopt the PURPA standards. You can listen to the vote by clicking on the link/play button below:
As explained on other pages of this website, there were serious concerns with the City’s planned implementation of the PURPA standards. To summarize some of the public comments:
As has been shown from previous correspondence from March 4, March 13, and now March 18, 2013, as we review each possible relevant topic, whether it be issues related to invasion of privacy, data security, RF emissions, consent issues for smart meter installations, opt-out fees, overall health impact, and the accuracy and reliability of the societal benefit calculations, there are serious questions to be resolved before the City can consider itself in compliance or even meeting the spirit of what is expected by the Federal Energy Standards.
- The City should immediately suspend activities related to its smart grid initiative until all issues are adequately addressed to the benefit of the consumer stakeholders. In particular, the current Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) must be completely reconsidered in order to ensure adequate conformance with the EPACT and EISA Federal Standards as well as address consumer stakeholder issues. In the meantime, upon request of consumers, and as a remedial action, it is necessary that analog electrical usage meters be returned to those requesting them. Continued usage of analog meters or the non-wireless meter alternative (NWMA) must be done without imposition of any associated fees.
In the end, … no comment, no discussion by the City prior to its adoption of the utility recommendations.
The point about “no discussion” deserves some commentary. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, it is customary after a motion is moved and seconded that the chair ask, “Is there any discussion?” At this point, it would have provided some semblance that the PURPA hearings had been taken seriously if someone had at least asked, “Did we do anything to address these 1,454 pages of comments?” Doesn’t that seem like a logical question? Alas, the question was not asked, and a lot of people can thus conclude that they spent considerable time voicing concerns that “fell upon deaf ears.”
Note: If there were any discussions held by the Naperville City Council members on the PURPA hearing public comments, they were done behind closed doors and without any public transparency. The official record only acknowledges that public comments were received by the City.
For a drastically different City Council response to community concerns, check out a website posting that pertains to a smart meter-related motion dealing with opt-outs for the City of Sedona, Arizona, at the following link: