In a formal response issued October 22, Truth or Consequences (T-or-C) City Clerk Renee Cantin stated a petition submitted by municipal resident Ron Fenn on October 21 could not be approved as it was not in the proper form. Further regarding a proposed ordinance included with the petition, Cantin’s statement affirmed that if it were to be adopted, the ordinance would be unenforceable.
The petition submitted by Fenn sought a halt to a current Electric Division project aimed at installing an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and so-called “smart-meters” within the city.
This project gained commission endorsement earlier this year after being supported by a recommendation from the city’s Public Utility Advisory Board (PUAB), and is being wholly funded through the Electric Division’s established budget. Following commission approval, a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process was completed, a contractor was selected and this firm is presently gearing-up to begin installing system upgrades (and new AMI meters) within the coming weeks.
In addition to potentially impairing this executed contract, the petition sought to impose a 10-year moratorium on the acquisition, installation or maintenance of smart-meter technology within the city. Cantin’s response noted this would call for the present commission to limit actions of a future city commission, and she stressed how the board is prohibited from imposing such a measure.
Cantin’s response further pointed out that the submitted petition failed to properly advise potential signatories regarding correct procedures or possible consequences, which included a demand for action by the city commission and the calling of a special election should the board fail to act as the petition requested.
•The city commission’s decision to proceed with the present Electric Division project followed an extensive review and ultimate rejection of a city-wide AMI upgrade project proposed by the private Yearout Energy Services Company (YESCO). This initiative sought to replace all electric and water meters within the city. Discussion surrounding YESCO’s proposal extended back several years, and included numerous public workshops, hearings and board discussions during open sessions.
Following the commission’s rejection of the YESCO proposal, then-city manager Juan Fuentes directed Electric Division Director Bo Easley to begin pursuing a smaller initiative, aimed at solely upgrading the city’s electric meters. He complied and with the commission’s endorsement, now stands poised to integrate the proposed system upgrade.