Are Oncor, Centerpoint and Texas TDU’s Seeking to Gouge Consumers to Opt-Out of Smart Meters?

WANT TO GO BACK TO AN ANALOG METER FROM A SMART METER?

That will cost you up to $769.20 if you are an ONCOR customer.  YEP! That is, if Oncor convinces the PUC to accept their estimation of supposedly what it will take to ‘recover their costs’ of allowing you to change back to an analog meter.

AND if you want to keep your analog that you have always had, you now get to pay up to $489.20 for that privilege!

Blood BOILING YET?  Better STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!  WRITE A LETTER TO THE PUC (*instructions to follow this post, scroll down for ACTION ITEM).

I also recommend putting pressure on some of our elected officials, or those who are aspiring to the offices thereof.  Suggested phone call campaign targets:

Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Atty. Gen. Greg Abbot, Fmr. PUC Chairman Barry Smitherman, Senators Dennis Bonnen and John Corona, and YOUR very own  Tx. State REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR!  Even though the time for Lawmaking is passed, they can exert pressure on the PUC Commissioners to stand on the side of the Texas consumers!

Freedom Lovers – Time once again to pick up our pens (or computers!) to let the PUC know what we think of the EXORBITANT FEES submitted for the PUC approval by the TDU’s (the companies that service our power lines, and OWN the Smart Meters that the consumer is charged for, like ONCOR, CENTERPOINT, AEP, T&NM POWER), in Texas to begin to charge customers who want to EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO OPT-OUT of the ‘illegally’ forced installation of a Smart Meter on their home or property.

The Prize for MOST EGREGIOUS PAYMENTS goes to Oncor – here’s an excerpt of their filing with the PUC of their proposed charges supposedly simply to cover their costs in providing and monitoring an Analog Meter.  (The rates are widely varied – so Click the image below to read the gory details!)  Please be sitting down! 

Oncor's Bloated Charges intended to financially bully Customers into keeping their Smart Meters

Oncor's Bloated Charges Intended to Bully the Customer into Keeping the Smart Meters

Bear in mind, other states have already made provision for consumers to Opt-Out of Advanced (aka Smart) Meters. California’s PG&E started out asking for a much larger amount than they were ultimately awarded.  {Started at $270 for initial privilege to Opt Out, but ended up being approved by the CPUC at $75 initial fee, and from $ 14 per month to read, down to $10 per month to read.  Even less for qualified hardships.}  However, this was in part because of the decision of the CPUC to spread the estimated (at this point, it can only be estimated as there is no hard data to base the numbers on at this time) cost of an individual to Opt-Out over the entire consumer base in order to keep the cost affordable to those who are unwelcoming to this new and suspiciously dangerous & intrusive technology.  When the meters were approved to be installed, the cost was spread out amongst all the consumer base, and in fact, those who want to opt out have actually been paying for the meters already, not to mention by their tax dollars that went into the stimulus monies used to roll out this plan.  Texas received 2 Billion in Stimulus TAX Dollars to roll out this initiative.  Of which, Centerpoint Energy received $200 million!

By the way – ever seen how much the Exec’s at these huge energy companies make?  Be aware, that what we pay in our RATES, goes to PAY THEIR SALARIES AND ANNUAL BONUSES…but you can be comforted, that the ratepayers DON’T PAY FOR LONG TERM INCENTIVE & BONUSES, of which there is also a portion of the recorded bonus below has long-term bonus included with earnings shown for the Chief Exec Robert Shapard in 2012. (if memory serves, between 17 & 18 million was part of a multi-year incentive/bonus)  Now, doesn’t that make you sigh a sigh of relief?  Yeah, meee tooo.

Let me share with you some of the recent earnings of Oncor and Centerpoint Executives.   These were pulled from the internet from a website called www.Salary.com.

Customers PAY Oncor's Salaries and Annual Bonuses - I think they can afford to be less greedy, don't YOU?

“The payouts provoked predictable outrage — first because consumer advocates worry that ratepayers will pick up the tab in monthly electric bills. Oncor says that won’t happen; it seeks to recover only the costs of salaries and annual bonuses, not long-term incentives and dividends.” (link to orig. source: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/columnists/mitchell-schnurman/20121208-oncors-big-payday-thank-you-regulation.ece?nclick_check=1)

Did i say how much better that makes me feel? I did, didn’t I…

Salary and Bonuses paid for by customers of CenterPoint Energy - I feel sorry for these guys...don't you?

Now that you are feeling all WARM AND FUZZY INSIDE, determine to TAKE ACTION to protect your personal bottom line – the TDU’s want to gouge the consumer to continue to line their pockets with OUR millions…

Here’s the steps you need to take:

NOTE: In addition to writing a letter, (INSTRUCTIONS BELOW) you are welcome to become a member of the 912MembersUsa (follow this to sign up for 30 day free trial, main website to see who they are: http://912membersusa.com/) who is filing as an Intervener, which is a more official capacity.  As such their testimony and evidence has a much stronger stance than a letter from a “Protester”.  The more members they have on their books that they represent, the stronger their voice.  So, if you are willing to become a paid member at the 30 day free trial for the membership fee of just $25, then your name will be added to their group prior to any preceedings. You can still send an individual letter, as they have merit too, but this will help our cause even further.

Look up YOUR TDU Tariff filing with the PUC to find out what they are proposing to gouge, I mean, charge you as a consumer to Opt-Out (of something that was intended to be OPTIONAL in the FIRST PLACE).

Centerpoint go here

AEP go here

Texas New Mexico go here 

Oncor go here

THEN comes the fun part!

WRITE YOUR LETTER OF OUTRAGE to the PUC (I will provide some points to include below, please put into your OWN WORDS).  Calls will not be able to be entered into the record, so please write following these instructions below for the most impact. (but do make calls to the elected officials named at the beginning of this post! And get all your friends and family to do the same - #’s count!)

You will need to do the following for your comments/letter to count:

  • INCLUDE THE PROJECT NO. FOR YOUR PROVIDER TDU prominently on your letter: 
    • AEP Project # 41879; ONCOR Project # 41890; TNMP Project # 41901; Centerpoint Project # 41906
  • Sign and Date
  • ALSO, REQUEST A HEARING so the People’s side can be presented and considered.
  • Send in 16 copies of your letter certified mail to the PUC HERE:

Public Utilities Commission of Texas
1701 North Congress Avenue
P.O. Box 13326
Austin, TX 78711-3326

We recommend that you keep a copy for your records, as well as send them via certified mail so that you get a signed receipt proving you sent them in.

Once you send in your comments, you can see them when they are filed by going to this PUC Filings webpage and entering the Project no. for your TDU in the search box labeled “Control Number”.  Give it a few days, then go check to see that your comments arrived.  Please encourage your  neighbors & friends to write as well.  Numbers will speak volumes to the PUC. 

[If you have unanswered questions feel free to send me an email, I will do my best to answer them – Cindy@bantexassmartmeters.com If you get no response, please try again, sometimes email gets overlooked in my stuffed InBox!; 912 Members USA questions can be answered by using this link http://912membersusa.com/contact.php ]

Sample Letter 

Some bullet points of interest to use in your letter, besides any you would want to include of course:

  • These charges are not viable, nor reasonable…describe in your words why
  • We should not have to pay extra for something we have been provided for in the past, and the rates we are being charged for electricity has not changed since all these supposed cost saving devices have been implemented.
  • There is no reason that the meter reading can not be self reported using an on-line interface, or form that could be filled out and mailed in, as many in rural areas have done for years.  Then about twice a year, they can send someone out to check/read the meter, or of course it will be read manually when someone discontinues service, as it has been also done for years!
  • Why have other states and municipalities that have done opt outs have less expensive and in some cases, even FREE opt out’s than these companies are suggesting.  Vermont is FREE!! Kaui, Hawaii, Free; California PG&E $75 one time, $10 monthly (less for financial hardship); Sacramento Municipal Utility District has a one time fee of $127 (monthly pmts available), and $14 mo.; Northern Nevada, one time fee $52.44, then $8.72 per month; City council of Ashland Oregon, voted to establish a free opt-out, rejecting city-owned Ashland Electric Dept’s request for fees.  MORE PLACES HERE
  • Why are consumers being asked to pay for the LAVISH salaries/bonuses of the TDU’s executives?  {The ones posted above are just the ones we know about…what do the other high-up employees making?} These salary/bonus amounts as shared here in this post show that the UTILITY business is flourishing, and taking what seems to be an ufair advantage of consumers who are forced to do business with these companies – we have NO CHOICE, even though de-regulation makes it appear that we have choice, we really DO NOT!  Once the Advanced Meter-Smart Grid initiative came along, Oncor magically achieved very healthy growth in profits.
  • Such grossly inflated fees are taking advantage of the consumer.
  • Also, the fact that the charges between the various Tx. TDU’s vary widely, shows that these numbers are not based on reality, but on the desires for the TDU’s to milk the consumers as much as they THINK they can GET AWAY WITH, and additionally punish the non-conformist consumers for making their fantasy world of Smart Grid Utopia a little less than perfectly conforming to their Orwellian Pipe-dream.
  • Take it away- Please leave your comments below if you have some supeb arguments against charging the pants off of the customers!

UPCOMING OPEN MEETING WITH THE TDU’S ON THE AGENDA:  

Public Utility Commission of Texas Calendar – Open Meetings

Open Meeting – Friday, October 25, 2013

Commissioners Hearing Room 7-100
( Open To Public )
Calender for Open Meetings of the PUC

There is something on the Agenda for the Open Meeting listed below – however, I am not savvy to the lingo, nor have I called to ask what import this meeting will have, nor what we could achieve by attending.  I will try to take a look at the matter and post back.  Or, you can call the PUC and ask them for first hand knowledge.  This meeting is NOT a hearing, and I do not believe there will be any opportunity for testimony or questions.  However, it may be informative.  There WILL however, be a hearing on this topic, but the time has not yet been announced.  Traveling to Austin at that time would be very helpful to show the PUC that WE ARE PAYING ATTENTION!

Please subscribe to our Website, below, to receive further updates on Smart Meter goings on in Texas!

PS – DISCLAIMER- (click link below to help the fight to BAN TEXAS SMART METERS!)

We at Ban Texas Smart Meters are still fighting and hoping for a BAN of these horrible things- but since we have this opportunity to at least personally opt out, we see this as a step in the right direction.  Also, we know there are many who will find relief when the meter is off of their home.  We know there is still a danger health wise as well as privacy wise by these meters being allowed to continue.  Thank you for your support fighting this issue.  There are people such as Devvy Kidd who are pursuing a ‘legal’ route via lawsuit of appropriate parties.  If you would like to contribute to that fight, you can go here.

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Oncor Calls on Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce to Rally it’s Members Against SB 241

Has Oncor found a new way to lobby Texas state senators?

It seems bit odd to me that the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce has suddenly grown an interest in the smart meter issue. The interest seems to have been peaked when an email was sent out to the chamber’s email list urging it’s members to call their State Senators and ask them to Oppose upcoming Legislation, SB 241 that provides for consumer choice as to whether or not they desire a new Advanced Meter, also known as a ‘Smart Meter’ with no penalty or additional cost to the consumer who opts out.

It is publicly available information that Oncor is a member of the chamber, as well as a Gold Level Sustaining Member.  I am told that Buddy Bridges, an area manager for Oncor, is the representative for Oncor with the chamber. What is not clear at this point is what role, (if any) did Mr. Bridges play in having the e-mail crafted and sent to the chamber e-mail list urging and instructing the members to call their State Senator to Oppose SB 241.

Like many chambers of commerce the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce does have some interest in promoting certain legislation that will be favorable to local business growth. As such the chamber has a committee that is called “Legislative Affairs”, whose Chairwoman is Lila Thorn.  If you’re so inclined you might contact Ms. Lila Thorn and see how this e-mail exactly came about.  (GP Chamber of Commerce no. 972-264-1558, or lthorn@tstgroup.com)

According to the Grand Prairie chamber’s website,

The Chamber is the voice of business to the local, state and federal government.

This committee meets to discuss and legislation [copied directly from their website, typo and all!] that will affect business. We share this information with our membership and ask for feedback so we can appropriately represent our community businesses.

Of further note-worthiness is the email itself.  It is printed below for your review.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: ACTION REQUIRED: Oncor-SB241, Smart Meters
From: Admin For e-mail <info@grandprairiechamber.org>
Date: Wed, May 08, 2013 1:06 pm
To:

Dear Chamber Members,

Our role as a chamber is to inform and educate the business community of legislative  issues that arise. It is then up to you to determine your position on the issue and let your voice be heard.. (red color added for highlight)

Oncor, has asked us to send this information to inform the business community about the SB 241 as it relates to advanced meters.

Per Oncor:
As early as today, we expect that the 31-member Texas Senate will vote on SB 241, which would:

  • Give all customers the ability to opt-out of advanced meters with no charge to them

This would:

  • Unfairly increase the costs for all of our customers  by requiring utilities to provide a free opt-out of advanced meters. 
  • Set a very bad precedence for consumers being able to say no to other pure infrastructure modernization initiatives in other utility areas such as water or gas utility services.
  • Impede the ability of the PUC to complete its ongoing rulemaking that is currently considering these issues

 
Phone calls to the Austin office of Senator’s representing Grand Prairie would be appreciated by Chamber Members. The main thing to do when calling is to say that you are opposed to SB 241 and verify that you are a constituent of the individual Senator that you are contacting.  Those are the two most important points you can make.  

The letter goes on to provide contact info for senators and a link to the legislation both of which I have no problem with. However, additionally, it does provide a customizable form letter with language requesting the senator to oppose this bill.  (Again, this doesn’t fall into the category of presenting the information and letting the chamber member decide.)

A couple of problems Ban Texas Smart Meters has with this e-mail are as follows:

  1. The introductory part of the e-mail states that the purpose of such an e-mail is to inform the members and leave the decision, pro or con, to the member.  Clearly, contradicting its own purpose, the letter goes on to urge the members to contact their senators to oppose the legislation.
  2. There is also some questionability as to how much of a business focused issue this really is.  This bill is written to give consumers the choice to opt out. There is no language in the bill that refers to businesses opting out.  It is also glaring by its omission, that Oncor gave no ‘pro-business’ based reasoning for business people to specifically be opposed to this bill.

All this being said it really looks like a thinly veiled attempt by Oncor to manipulate the members of the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce into acting in place of lobbyists to lobby the senators of Texas into legislation that would be favorable to Oncor.

If you agree, you might consider contacting the GP Chamber of Commerce to see exactly why they see this legislation as ‘anti-business’.  Additionally you may want to inquire whether the committe took time to meet or otherwise gather the thoughts of the GP Chamber members prior to sending out advice on how to influence one’s Senator to a particular Vote based merely on the direction of ONE GP chamber member who is deeply engaged in the ‘battle’ of the aforementioned SB 241.

ONCOR in the NEWS:

Oncor admits to collecting millions in phantom Federal Taxeshttp://tcaptx.com/resources-reports/tcap-snapshot-report-north-texas-utility-collecting-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-in-phantom-taxes#.UYpjRLWHu1R

(in the above article, it is explained that back in 2009 that the PUC had the opportunity to mitigate the collecting of much of the supposed Fed. Tax monies, but failed to do so

Excerpt:

  • The Public Utility Commission in a 2009 rate case had the authority to partially mitigate the phantom taxes paid by Oncor customers. However, the regulatory agency chose not to do so. Had the PUC applied a special tax savings adjustment, the phantom taxes collected by Oncor would have been reduced by about $100 million annually.
  • The PUC has applied this tax savings adjustment in other rate cases, reducing by millions of dollars phantom taxes paid by other utility customers. However, legislation now pending in the Texas Legislature would deprive the PUC of this authority in the future.

_______________________________

Oncor Approves $17 Million Payment to Chief Executive - http://www.texastribune.org/2012/12/03/texas-utility-company-ceo-gets-17-million/

_______________________________

FIRES CAUSED ON 2 ARLINGTON, TX HOMES BY RECKLESS INSTALLATION OF SMART METERS- Fire Dept warned them to cut off the power in the future, However, I have yet to have anyone tell me that Oncor or Centerpoint EVER turned the power off PRIOR to the installation of teh smart meters, ignoring the Fire Departments orders. http://www.bantexassmartmeters.com/smart-meter-installation-fires/ 

ONCOR SPOKESMAN CLAIMS THEY ARE FOLLOWING A NEW POLICY OF TURNING OFF THE POWER TO THE HOUSE PRIOR TO INSTALLATION.  That is false, all reports state that the electricity is only off for the brief 30-60 seconds that it takes to swap out the meters! http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2010/08/24/oncor-changing-smart-meter-installation-after-fires/

_______________________________

ONCOR’S SUBCONTRACTOR, STANDARD UTILITY (NOT ONCOR!) SHAMED INTO PAYING A CLAIM BY A WOMAN WHO’S POOL EQUIPMENT WAS RUINED (BLOWN OUT) SUBSEQENT TO THE INSTALLATION OF A SMART METER: http://watchdognation.com/when-your-power-company-acts-like-the-three-stooges/ 

Of interest to note from the story above, is that the Oncor spokes person stated that when the meter is installed, all that should be noticed regarding a power outage shoudl be a “blink”, a quick off then on of the power.  This interview happened AFTER the Oncor spokesman said that Oncor had a NEW POLICY of turning power off to the house prior to installation of a meter! HMMM…

Oncor Spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar makes the statement that if a customer refuses to take a smart meter that Oncor would then cut their power and the customer would have to find alternative way of providing electricity for their home such as solar. To hear that segment of the discussion, please forward to 67 minutes into the audio, and you will hear it!  The whole discussion is very good however, so listen to it all if you can! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centerstage/2011/09/03/is-oncor-smart-meter-scamming-their-customers 

Other websites on Texas Smart Meters:

http://smartmeterlawtx.wordpress.com/

http://texansagainstsmartmeters.com/

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/164420590303947/?fref=ts

MAKE YOUR OPINION KNOWN – CONTACT YOUR TEXAS STATE SENATOR(s)! READ more here: http://www.bantexassmartmeters.com/2013/smart-meter-opt-out-bill-voted-committee-full-court-press-senators-vote/

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Smart Meter Opt-Out Bill voted OUT of Committee! Now “Full Court Press” your Senators for YES Vote!

Monday May 6, CALL YOUR TEXAS SENATOR- IF you WANT A CHANCE TO OPT-OUT of the SMART METERS!! UPDATE–> Calls on Tuesday are still worthwhile, so don’t think it is too late!  We can call up until it is being voted on, which, last I heard, it may happpen Wednesday, but that is subject to change!

call your Texas Senator!

call your Texas Senator!

Now the bill (SB 241) is headed for a vote on the floor of the Texas Senate, but Dewhurst will not bring to the floor without knowing at least 21 Senators will vote FOR it.  So, try to get a committment for them to vote FOR it without amendments.  This call will take less than 5 min. and could turn the tide of sentiment…I dare say some Senators were not even aware that a Smart Meter Opt Out bill even existed, and they may not realize there are so many who are opposed to being forced to have one on their house. (If you want any ‘talking points’ to share with them, read below!)

Find your Senator here. http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

The Spotlight is on the Texas SB 241, introduced by Honorable Senator John Corona, to whom we owe a heartfelt thank you for listening to the many Texans who poured out their hearts in their numerous letters, and during the hearings held in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.  Thanks, also to the Senators who voted in favor of the Bill to get it out of committee in a 2nd vote Thurs (May 2, 2013).  Yes votes are as follows: Carona, Taylor, Eltife, Hancock, Lucio (Lucio changed from NO on first vote; also first vote, Taylor, Eltife and Hancock were a No Show).  We also want to extend a “Shout Out” to Glen Beck who did a feature on Smart Meters on his Wed. show where he had a guest (anti-smart meter activist, Thelma Taormina of 912 Members USA) who exposed the failure of the Smart Meter SB 241 bill to be successfully voted out of committee.  Oh, and one more Thank You- to God, who heard the petitions of many of his children.

No, this Bill does not BAN Smart Meters, but many feel this is a start, and as such, the beginnings of victory.  There are some whose health is so fragile, and just getting the meter off of their home will make a significant improvement in their daily lives.  (Yes, some are even feeling effects from their neighboring meters, but, the closer the meter, the worse the effects.)

CALL YOUR SENATORS – YES, AGAIN!

Now the bill is headed for a vote on the floor of the Texas Senate, but Dewhurst will not bring to the floor without knowing at least 21 Senators will vote FOR it.

Find your Senator here. http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

Some Senators may balk at the bill because of the NO COST for Opt Out – Below are some reasons you might arm your Senator with, or convince them with.

TALKING POINTS (For a NO COST OPT OUT!)

I know this might be a bit long, scan it, pick the best 2 or so, and explain to your Senator.

One I personally feel is strong, is that ALL taxpayers had a part in the PAYING FOR SMART METERS via our 2nd Stimulus in 2009, 3.4 Billion going towards Smart Meters and related items.  Not to mention that Texans have been charged approx. $2.21 per mo. for Advanced Metering for many months now, and as I understand we will continue to be charged this amount for a total of 11 years, totalling approx. $293.  I believe that amount is even increasing, as the last time i called to get electricity to a home I was quoted $3.? or so as the metering charge!  Now, for those opting out, who’s smart meter are we paying for…one that is NON EXISTENT!

NOTE: those reasons below were provided by another anti-smart meter activist.  Thanks to her!

First, the deployment was never supposed to be mandatory; therefore, paying to opt-out of a non-mandatory action is irrational and illogical. It is a punitive disincentive to choosing what is best for the individual, whether it relates to health concerns, privacy, or security.

Second, the basis for health concerns is widespread.

There are now over 6,000 peer-reviewed submissions that have been published showing the potentially harmful effects of exposure to RF radiation from wireless digital transmission at levels far below the thermal activity. The so-called standards of safety for the often quoted FCC guidelines date back to 1986 and are ”not protective of public health” according to the Radio Frequency Interagency Working Group (FDA, OSHA, EPA and FCC). 

The World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) now lists this RF as a possible human carcinogen. 

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has issued warnings about reducing exposure levels of non-thermal RF transmissions in many individual cases and has said, “Adverse health effects from wireless radio frequency fields, such as learning disabilities, altered immune responses, and headaches, clearly exist and are well documented in the scientific literature. Safer technology, such as use of hard-wiring, is strongly recommended in schools.”

And finally, in a June 2012 letter, 54 MD’s and PhDs made a compelling case for concern regarding the health risks and effects.  Increasingly, it is only the studies funded by the wireless companies that find the effects relatively benign, much as was the case with cigarettes for many years.  Yet in the case of cigarettes and with far less data than is available today on RF, no one suggested people should have to pay a fee for NOT smoking.  It is ridiculous for a government to assert people should pay extra to avoid a health hazard with this much evidence behind it.

Third, the cost of the deployment is socialized, which means I’m paying for others to have the privilege of using a smart meter. Therefore, the cost of opting out of this deployment must be socialized. Either we all share the cost of using or not using OR we each pay individually for using or not using. We shouldn’t have one standard for one group and a different standard for another group! 

No basis can be found to justify paying for a consumer’s right to not participate in a regulated monopoly’s technological deployment where no statutory mandate exists. The  socialized cost of the deployment, the discriminatory and punitive nature of the charge, and the hindrances to free market competition leave no doubt that an opt out charge is indefensible.

Fourth, Electric transmission and distribution utilities (TDUs such as Oncor, CenterPoint, AEP, TNMP) have a regulated monopoly, with no options or flexibility as one would have in a free market exchange; therefore, opt out fees are incompatible with this business model. Contrast this business model and forceful deployment of smart meters to the cell phone industry’s business model. Cell phones were developed and deployed in a free market exchange, to which only the wealthy or tech-savvy had initial access. As new technology led to improved user-friendliness and better service plans, and as the costs decreased over time, more consumers freely bought into this technology. No one was forced to buy cell phones, nor were they penalized for not buying them.

Fifth, an opt out fee is discriminatory because only the wealthy have the option of separating themselves from the smart grid network, albeit, only partially*. Those who would be challenged to pay the opt out penalty include the elderly, the disabled, those on a limited or fixed income. Worse yet, many of these classes of people are the ones who are potentially most vulnerable to RF related issues.

Sixth, opt out costs negate the competitive nature of the free market when property owners, who prefer not to take on the liability of personal injury or intellectual property vandalism, have to increase their rates. These property owners would be forced to pass on the cost of opting out to their tenants (apartments, hotels, retail centers, or other high density living spaces), thereby, making their pricing structures artificially higher than their competitors who don’t opt out.

Seventh, opting out does not require a meter reader, and need not be a financial burden. As has been done in many other cases, the TDUs could transmit electric consumption over existing phone lines or power lines, which would also be much more secure than wireless transmissions and much safer by eliminating RF exposure. In fact, in many cases this landline technology is what was removed from a house when the Smart Meter was installed. Additionally, many remote or rural customers are self reporting.  This method could be offered to those who choose to opt out, as well as potentially an option to go online and input one’s meter readings onto a webpage would be easy to set up and run. 

BUT, “What if this smart meter deployment saves the taxpayer money? Then we should charge you for opting out,” challenged one attorney. Not so fast my learned intellectual. You cannot charge an opt out fee on the basis of a speculation. The cost/benefit must be proven first.

And last, is it possible that an opt out charge is discriminatory against minorities? The Executive Director of the PUC called us “discreet, small number of people.” Discrimination against minorities is as taboo as it gets. What politician wants to claim that moniker as his own? 

We would like to add

*An Opt Out is only a partial remedy to the forceful smart meter deployment.  Having one’s own smart meter removed while others remain in place, doesn’t protect the individual from the matrix of radio frequencies emanating from the larger smart meter mesh network. Nor does it alleviate the bigger problem of a central bureaucratic unelected agency or commission controlling the entire value chain of generation, transmission, distribution, storage, and end-use of electricity. The current version of opt out is only one option (no others have been offered by the utilities or the PUC) and is so inconsequential that is does not justify charging the consumer any amount. 

 

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Screening: ‘Take Back Your Power: The “Smart” Meter Agenda Unveiled’

Take Back your Power Screening

Take Back Your Power: The “Smart” Meter Agenda Unveiled

Special Pre-Release Screening

Friday, May 3, 2013, 7:00 – 9:30 pm

Fellowship Bible Church Dallas

9330 North Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75231

http://fellowshipdallas.org/contact/ 

The 90 minute film will be followed by a Panel Discussion!

Admission is free but donations are requested to help cover the room rental and support the worldwide release of the film.

This eye-opening documentary feature film investigates the “smart” meter program currently being implemented worldwide by most of the major utility companies.  These devices are being installed often without the consent – and sometimes against the protests – of property owners.  The film uncovers alarming issues about health, privacy, property rights, corporate fraud, and the unprecedented vulnerability of the “smart” grid.  Hear from such experts as Bill Vander Zalm (former Premier of British Columbia, CA), Dr. David O. Carpenter (Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at University at Albany), B. Blake Levitt (an award-winning science journalist), and many others.  You will gain a deeper understanding of the political and economic forces behind the “smart meter” agenda, as well as resources and proven solutions for how you can protect yourself, your family, your home, and your rights.

Find out more about the Movie Project here: http://takebackyourpower.net/

Hosted by:

Grassroots Texans Network

Park Cities/Preston Hollow Tea Party

Carrollton Tea Party

(For information, contact Beth Biesel at ncriver@me.com214.691.4180)

 

 

 

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PUC Hearing Considers Watered Down Opt-Out Measure-Commenters Needed

NO-FEE Conventional Meters FOR ALL!

Well, we are finally getting an actual Hearing on the issue of Advanced (aka “Smart”) Meters in Texas from the PUC.  Sadly, it is not on “our terms”, but on theirs.  They (the PUC) in all their wisdom, have already concluded that the dangers to human health are negligible, unproven, and much more likely to have been caused by the consumer ‘fretting’ over the possibility of health effects, rather than the smart meters themselves.   Basically the PUC of Texas has declared that everyone who has personally experienced symptoms they connect to the introduction of a Smart Meter on their home- the sypmtoms are merely psychosomatic! *(Definition of psychosomatic: “of or pertaining to a physical disorder that is caused by or notably influenced by emotional factors.”) Here’s an excerpt of the conclusion portion of the PUC of Tx ‘Staff Report on Health and RF EMF from Advanced Meters’ p.63:

Some opponents of smart meters have raised the idea of electromagnetic hypersensitivity and cite anecdotes
of having witnessed or experienced various afflictions. After reviewing a substantial body of evidence, the
WHO concluded that there was no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure. It has suggested
that symptoms experienced by some individuals described as EHS might arise from environmental factors
unrelated to EMF or that the symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions or stress reactions
resulting from worrying about EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself. Further, scientific
studies show that people who are ill are highly receptive to negative suggestion and may demonstrate a
“nocebo response” as a result of these suggestions.

I don’t know about you, but for anyone who has experienced the negative health effects since the introduction of a smart meter on  your home or place of residence, I would think that might be a bit insulting!

All this being said, I hope everyone who reads this will make their voice heard prior to, or at the PUC Hearing to be held on April 19th, 2013. (Comments not in person can be directed to the PUC Project 41111 details below)

FOR THOSE WHO CAN APPEAR IN PERSON, here’s the location and time details below.  For carpool info, please contact Beth at 214-794-1592 ASAP.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF TEXAS
April 19, 2013
1701 N. Congress Avenue, William B. Travis Building, 7th Floor
Commissioners’ Hearing Room – Overflow in Hearing Room A

Travis Building
Commissioners Hearing Room (001)
Room: 7-100

Sign In Begins: 9:30 A.M. (first sign in, first to testify, which begins at 1 pm)
Start Time: 11:00 A.M.

For full details you can review the PUC document here.

CAN’T ATTEND?  EMAIL your **comments to Cindy at Cindy@Bantexassmartmeters.com, (please write “PUC SMART METER HEARING” in the Subject Line for easy reference) so we can print them out and take them to submit them into the record for the Hearing.  If you have the email address for Beth Beisel with Texas Eagle Forum, you may send directly to her as well.

**Comments need to address the issues that are being addressed in this hearing.  For a list of suggested comments, read below.

PUC has written a rule under Project #41111 to allow their idea of an opt-out with a charge to be determined by the utilities. The suggested monthly charge is $20, ongoing, subject to increase as needed. Their definition of opt-out is turning off the wireless transmission of kilowatts and using a meter reader to retrieve KW usage.  This rule (nor any ‘OPT OUT’) will not protect us from the dangers of wireless frequencies, nor loss of privacy of our lifestyle data, nor does it prevent a rogue, inaccessible agency from controlling our power consumption. If you agree, feel free to include that in your comments for the record – they need to be told how “We the People” really feel about the problems with this BAND-AID called an OPT-OUT! (all comments need to be done with respect – no name calling, or demeaning comments – this will only harm our position, so, please be respectful!)

The PUC specifically asks for comment regarding the following:

QUESTION: Are there any circumstances, such as premises where an advanced meter has not been deployed, where a customer should not have to pay the one-time fee or should pay a reduced one-time fee under proposed subsection (e)?

OUR RESPONSE:

Yes, there are circumstances when the customer should NOT be charged:

1. Every circumstance – customer choice was written into the original legislation, and this intention must not continue to be violated!

2. The charge is in essence a penalty (and double taxation, see comments below).

3. Furthermore, each customer has already been PAYING a monthly fee for an AMS meter that they will NOT BE USING!  Not to mention the customer has already paid for the deployment of such meters via their TAX MONIES.  Therefore the customer is charged for the AMS unit (which even though the consumer paid for it – it is owned by the TDU- how does that make sense?), the installation, deployment etc., PLUS charged to NOT PARTICIPATE, thus a form of DOUBLE TAXATION!

In addition you might consider the following for your testimony: 

-OPT-OUT = REMOVE THE SMART METER, USE ANALOG ONLY

-LOW COST OPTIONS FOR READING THE METER INCLUDE: TRANSMIT KW THROUGH

a. EXISTING TELEPHONE OR POWER LINE

b. POSTCARDS – Self Reporting (adjust by manual reading Qtrly/ Bi-annually)

c. ESTIMATES – monthly billing based on historical records. (adjust by manual reading Quarterly or Bi-annually)

d. SELF REPORTING THROUGH WEB PORTAL. (adjust by manual reading Qtrly or Bi-annually)

-NO CHARGE EVER (email request for our “NO COST OPT-OUT DOC”)

-ASK the PUC to PROTECT TEXAS’ GRID INDEPENDENCE

If you plan to come, please email cindy@bantexassmartmeters.com so we can get an idea of a head count.

Thanks to all who are participating in any way whatsoever! Special thanks (we all owe it!) to Beth Beisel for getting the tough work of communicating with and continuing to personally ‘lobby’ directly with the decision makers and lawmakers involved in this issue, and NOT LETTING IT DIE!

Below – subscribe to the blog so you can get updates when they are posted!

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Smart Meter Opt-Out Bills need YOUR VOICE & Presence in Austin if possible

Time to trek off to Austin (again!) for those who are able to do so…

Take it to the Texas State Capitol in Austin

Take it to the Texas State Capitol!

Where you will be testifying in the Hearing on April 9th.  If you cannot make the trip, you can still contact Chairman John Corona, and/or the members of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee (link to contact each member) and let them know why we need to support the SB 241, along with amendments that will do the following, especially the first 4 items below, prior to the April 9 hearing. (However, all are very important for consumer choice and freedom and we wish to have them all included!)

Hearing TIME AND PLACE:

Tues. *April 9, 2013 @ 8 A.M., Capital Extension Room *E1.016 (*in case of last min. changes please check the schedule regularly between now and April 9.)

Carpool requests and/or additional detail inquiries can be directed to Cindy@bantexassmartmeters.com – use ‘Austin Trip’ in the subject line.

What YOU can ASK the 83rd Legislature to Do

Contact YOUR Texas Senators and Representatives and/or attend the April 9 Senate Committe HearingYou’ll have 2-3 minutes, plus you should be able to enter supporting documentation into the record, ASK THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS to Support Smart Meter OPT-OUT Legislation, and to consider submitting and/or supporting suggested amendments layed out in bullet points 1-6 below.

Support House Bill #1171 (Rep Simpson), House Bill #3590 (Rep Bonnen), Senate Bill #241 (Sen Corona) and include as many as possible of the ‘amendments’ that would do the following: 

1.   NO COST opt out and retroactive-removal.  The cost of providing alternative reading methods is greatly overstated by the TDU’s.  Several low-cost ways can be implemented, from ‘self-reporting’ to Landline delivery of KW transmission using lines that already exist at virtually every customer’s place of delivery. (Oh, and since they (the TDU’s and PUC) state that there are very few opposed to Smart Meters, then the cost to offer the Opt-Out should be miniscule in relation to the number of customers who will choose to keep their Smart Meters.)

2.   Requirements for Data Collection and Transmissions:

For Opt Outs: NO data collected by the TDUs or the Retail Electric Providers except kilowatts per hour, transmitted once per month.

For Smart Meter customers: NO data collected by the TDUs or the Retail Electric Providers except kilowatts per hour unless otherwise explicitly agreed to by the customer.

3. Landline delivery for transmission of KW for opt out customers. (This reduces/eliminates the high EMF/RF frequency emissions.)

4.  Keep Texas grid independent of national grid and FERC, DOE, EPA regulations.  (This keeps Texas Independent and maintains our Sovereignty over our own Electricity! Very Important!)

5.  Mass consumer education provided to be provided by the TDU (such as Oncor or Centerpointe) or ESP’s [Electric Service Providers. TXU, Reliant, etc.], about privacy issues/concerns, potential safety hazards and suspected health risks of smart meters and their networks via electric bill inserts, utility website entry additions or other low cost media such as press releases, etc. without additional expense to the customers. (They can take it from their massive profits…such as the huge bonuses paid to the CEO’s of their companies!)

6. Liability assigned to TDU for personal injury and property damage, including intellectual property.

7. Amend HB1600, Sub-chapter D: Do NOT give PUC “cease and desist” authority.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS vital to Mention in your correspondence or Testimony:

It must be stated emphatically that an Opt-Out is really a band-aid which does not fully address the festering issues at hand. Why?

  1. If a consumer chooses to Opt Out, their health can still be negatively effected by the neighboring meters as evidenced by various ‘victims’ throughout the US and abroad.  
  2. Nor does it take into consideration consumers who live in Apartment settings and are exposed to banks of ~4-24+ meters that could be positioned directly near their bedroom or other room of their apartment.  
  3. Additionally, if these meters are actually taking consumer’s personal data, and they are, there is still the issue that Texas consumers were never even asked nor have they given their explicit permission to any of the entities that are taking their data, unbeknownst to the consumer in most cases.
  4. Furthermore - This is a clear violation of our 4th Amendment right:“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”Please check below this post and subscribe to All Posts on this website for the latest updates that will come to your email so you will not miss vital information!

 

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URGENT! Call YOUR Texas State Rep & Senator-Urge them to attend Mar. 4th Smart Meter Briefing in Austin, Tx.

call your Texas Rep and Senator!

call your Texas Rep and Senator!

CALL THIS WEEK, the earlier the better!

We have the opportunity to host a Smart Meter Briefing for all Tx. Legislators, Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst

on

  • Monday, March 4, 2013
  • NEW TIME ADDED:
  • 12-1 &
  • 1-2 PM
  • Room E1.010  

This Briefing is Sponsored by TEXAS EAGLE FORUM. Invitations are going out to all Tx Rep/Senators, however, your Representative and Senator needs to know that this is an issue that freedom loving, knowledgeable Texans are concerned about.  You must call and encourage/ask them to attend!

Topics to be covered are:

Privacy, Security, Costs, Energy, Health, Grid Independence

We need TEXANS to get on the phone, followed up with an email to their Office,  [if available, District office should be less busy, better chance it gets attention there rather than in Austin!], of their own State Rep and Senator – (find their contact info here) ASK them to PLEASE take One Hour out of their schedules to come and hear some Expert Testimony on the subject of Smart Meters.  (If they say they are double booked, or too busy, ask that they send one of their assistants to attend and take copious notes!)

This meeting is primarily intended to educate our Representatives, but we want a healthy number of citizens to attend, so they know that we care about this issue.  Not to mention, this testimony should be VERY EYE OPENING, and refreshing as well, compared to the normal ‘party line’ that the Utilities put out for public consumption. So, attend if you can!

If you can go, RSVP at ncriver@me.com (There’s no guarantee that the meeting will be recorded!)

Whenever we talk with many of the State Representatives or Senators, they say they aren’t hearing from their Constituents-and now is as good a time as ever – and even if you have called before, call NOW and urge them to attend the briefing.

CALL SCRIPT/BULLET POINTS to use when you call are below.

Feel free to give your own reasons, or no reason other than the fact that you are concerned, and you want them to become educated on the issue so they can vote properly (of course, we want them to vote YES) when Rep. David Simpson’s bill (HB 1171) comes up for a vote.

“Talking Points” for your call/emails/fax etc.

BRIEF PHONE SUMMARY

(optional, Texas Eagle Forum) and myself, _____________ would like to Alert you to the statewide opposition to the Smart Meter Network, and a Briefing to be held next week on Mar. 4.

Here are some reasons we are against the Smart Meters: (site any or all as time permits)

  • No significant Energy cost savings are being realized as was promised
  • Privacy of the home and personal data is compromised
  • Security risk- Meters are vulnerable to hackers
  • There are potential health risks which lack sufficient study. (The PUC’s study on health risks was published by a non-engineer and was only a compilation of studies from other government agencies and the EPRI (a utility industry research group-”the fox guarding the…you know!”).
  • Subsidized by federal grant & stimulus dollars These will lead to a form of Cap & Trade; bypassing Congress & the Texas State Legislature.
  • Will end our independent status as the ONLY remaining electric independent grid in the US.; assimilating us into the federal network. 

Mr or Mrs. Representative, or Senator – here are TWO THINGS WE ARE ASKING OF YOU

  1.  Attend Smart Meter Briefing:  March 4th.  Can we count on you to be there? RSVP ncriver@me.com (If they say they are double booked, or too busy, ask that they send one of their assistants to attend and take copious notes!) NOTE: ask to speak with the scheduler to get it on the schedule.
  2.  We want you to support, and vote in favor of House Bill #1171 (HB1171 – Author David Simpson; this bill is in the State of Affairs Committee)

Details on the Smart Meter Briefing – please share with them

  • Sponsored by Texas Eagle Forum
  • Hosted by Rep Ron Simmons
  • Citizen panel of experts
  • Lasts ONE HOUR 
  • DATE: Mon. Mar. 4th
  • Time/location to be announced; after House schedule is posted (tentative time 1-2pm, Room E1.010)

 

 

 

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IMMEDIATE ACTION-by FEB 6th, Send Comments to the FCC!

BREAKTHROUGH OPPORTUNITY – PLEASE WRITE BY WED. Feb. 6th, as early as you can.

Rather then me trying to come up with a unique post on this effort, I am linking to the instructions from Josh Del Sol, creator of the upcoming film “Take Back Your Power”.

GO HERE

The only reason I heard about this opportunity, was because I am on Josh’s “Take Back Your Power” email list.  So, when you go to his site, you will probably see a “POP-UP” asking you to sign up for his email list – PLEASE SIGN UP so you will also be made aware of future ACTION ALERTS that they may send out.

Since time is extremely short on this one (I’m getting the email late evening) Feb. 3rd, the quickest thing for me to do to get out the word fast is to provide you with the link to the instructions for writing your letters (above).

- This is a BREAKTHROUGH OPPORTUNITY -

Please take the time to get this done and spread the word to all others who would be interested in helping the cause of reducing the RF exposure we are all being involuntarily exposed to in our homes, schools, hospitals, public spaces (i.e. places that offer Wi-Fi) etc.

The FCC needs to hear from thousands of folks – this is a big opportunity.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE FCC GUIDELINES?

Officials in Texas, and throughout the US tout that the Smart Meters fall within the FCC guidelines…but the problem is, FCC guidelines are insufficient.

To my understanding, there are two types of RF radiation.  Thermal/Ionizing or Non-thermal/Non-Ionizing.  The FCC only regulates the Thermal/Ionizing RF, the kind that will heat tissue, as in a ‘microwave oven’.  However,  for years, the FCC has decided not to require any regulation of non-thermal, non-ionizing RF radiation.  Basically, they have decided, if it doesn’t ‘heat’, it doesn’t harm.  This goes against  the findings of many studies that have been done all over the world.  Studies that the FCC has turned a blind eye to!  Even though some studies are not 100% conclusive to say that these RF waves absolutely cause cancer or other ilnesses, etc., evidence shows that at the minimum, a potential link exists between NEGATIVE Biological Symptoms and exposure to Non-thermal RF.  Currently there is no limit on Non-Thermal RF!  We need to demand that the FCC take seriously the research already done, and/or commission additional research to be conducted immediately so that if harm to humans (and animals, even plantlife!) is being done, we will know sooner rather than later.  Consider also asking them to put a moratorium on further Smart Meter deployment (as well as limit cell towers  near homes and businesses, and restrict and BPL, [Broadband over Powerlines] until proven safethroughout  the US until such studies can show that the RF emitted by smart meters and the like is perfectly safe for children, adults,  the unborn as well as animals, plants.

SEND A COPY OF YOUR COMMENTS TO YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS!!! (include Hon. Gov. Rick Perry and Hon. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst too!)

If you have not already done so, once you send your letter to the FCC, please also forward it to your STATE SENATOR and REPRESENTATIVE.  They need to hear from their constituents!!  We have been contacting many of them, and sadly, many say this has not been brought to their attention…or not many seem to be concerned.  This has to change if we hope to make any headway on this issue!

If you write the FCC, we would like to hear about your efforts.  

You can contact me at Cindy@BanTexasSmartMeters.com  It would be especially helpful if you could forward us your statement to the FCC, as we are collecting as many ‘testimonies’ as possible, especially of those who are feeling the negative health effects of the Smart Meters or other wireless devices.  We hope to have a large collection so that in the future if we see an opportunity to participate in a Class Action suit, we will already have a large number of ‘potential claimants’.

STAY INFORMED VIA YOUR EMAIL BOX!

Sign up below the comments section under this post to receive email notification of New Posts, many of which give you ACTION ITEMS that we need all Anti-Smart Meter concerned citizens to participate in!

Thanks to all who share this and/or take the time to write to the FCC! Now, go and “Git’er DONE”!

Cindy

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Update on Smart Meter ‘fight’ progress, Jan 25, 2013

Banner with NO FEE Conventional Analog Meters on it

We want NO FEE to get our Analog Meters back!

First “Opt-Out” Legislation (Bill) filed in the Texas 83rd Legislative Session – Author Senator John Corona

S.B. (Senate Bill) No. 241 (click the bill name to view the wording of the bill-it is relatively short and to the point), was introduced recently to the record to be considered for the Texas 83rd Legislative Session.  You can follow changes and progress by going to the Texas Legislature Online and signing up for alerts. {to do so, go to this page and click on “follow the status of a bill” (which is #5 when you are on the right page).

This is progress, yes indeed.  But, even though a bill is introduced, it has to be PUSHED through by committed Legislators who feel the BURN from THEIR CONSTITUENTS!!!  This is why we need to continue to compel our Senators and Representatives (primarily on the state level -but also at the Federal level as well) to create and/or support strong consumer protection against the Advanced Meters’ (aka smart meters) harmful EMF effects as well as the invasive Data Collection which is an assault on our 4th Amendment Right to Privacy.

Alternatively, most ‘anti-smart meter’ activists desire and are pursuing for a moratorium, as well as a BAN on these terrible and dangerous devices.  Opt-Outs are a ‘band aid’…but while we continue to push for a ban and/or moratorium, it could be a small victory, giving relief to some citizens.  We are still fighting for the BAN and MORATORIUM to be enacted for our final goal!  When contacting your Representatives and Senators, make it clear to them that the Opt-Out is inadequate for the following reasons:

  1. Much like ‘Second-Hand Smoke’ a smart meter affects the surroundings of neighboring houses as well as the house it is on.  There are many examples of persons who, even though they do NOT have one on their own residence, they are dealing with EMF symptoms because of neighboring meters.
  2. Whether or not a citizen is aware of the invasive Data Collection recorded by the meters regarding the specific appliances used (particularly when the ‘smart appliances’ are introduced), as well as the specific Time of Use of electricity used by any electronic device through the ‘load signatures’ left behind of every device, consumers’ privacy is being invaded and potentially exploited, in most cases without their knowledge or ‘informed consent’.
  3. The installation of the Advanced Meters to prepare us for connection to the “Smart Grid” that will soon be connected world-wide is simply a plan to ‘cap and trade’ our electricity.  Texas currently has its own dedicated grid, and we need to demand to stay that way.  Regardless of officials denying any future plans to connect to other grids, this is the plan, and legislation and or regulations are being crafted currently to enact their world-wide plan.
  4. The new Smart Grid is much more vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks and hacking.  This vulnerability increases for each new ‘smart’ meter installed – another entry point for introduction of “worms” (like the ‘Stuxnet’) is created.  (Ref. article here) SCADA systems which protect our Power and Water infrastructure can also be (and even have ALREADY BEEN!)compromised by such cyber-attacks.  I have been told by people within the industry that the new “Smart Grid” will definitely be even more vulnerable than the current grid. Here’s a clip from the above mentioned and linked article:

“But could such a banal technology [the advanced meters] in fact be fraught with danger? In July 2009 — five months before the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the initiative — security firm IOActive demonstrated a worm that could rapidly spread through a smart-grid network, disabling meters as it went. The experiment proved what many cybersecurity experts already knew: hackers distributing the right malware could shut down the network. Britain would go dark.

‘Before,to destroy a meter, you had to take a sledgehammer to it,” explains John Bumgarner, research director for security technology at think tank the US Cyber Consequences Unit. “That worm could destroy 300,000 [smart meters] in one go. The smart grid is going to be a major target for hackers. Marc Maiffret, a former hacker and now chief technology officer at computer-security consultancy eEye Digital Security, says: ‘If there was a war tomorrow between major powers, the first stages would include cyber-attacks with the aim of completely disrupting critical infrastructure. If you have the right combination of factors — power running at full blast and interference that means you cannot redistribute it properly — sabotage can have very serious consequences.’

Letters are STILL NEEDED urgently!!

When you write, send  to each your State Rep and Senators, (add by CC), Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the PUC, even US Senators and Reps as well. Below is a copy of one possible letter you can edit to make your own.  All you need to do is perform a ‘copy/paste’ to put it into a ‘Word Document’ (if you have a PC instead of Mac).  Then you can edit and personalize as you like.  I suggest using some of the above reasons regarding WHY an OPT-OUT is not a true or complete solution.  (You can also copy/paste the bullet points I mentioned in points 1-4 above.)

LETTER:  Send “as is” or add your desired wording.

 

To Whom It May Concern: (you can specify the recipient)

Smart Meters are not what they appear to be.

The utility companies, sanctioned by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT), claim that the Tariff for Retail Delivery Service gives them the right to install and force Texans to pay for Smart Meters, even if they don’t want them. Besides disregarding our Constitutional rights to property rights and privacy, the Smart Meter Network opens the door to Cap and Trade policies while totally bypassing the United States Congress and our own State Legislators. This network allows complete monitoring, controlling, and rationing of our energy consumption.

The utility companies openly state that we “must change our behavior and learn to turn off our electricity” to reduce energy consumption.  We are also told that this the man-made power shortage “occurs only 100 hours per year” spread out over 60 million people.  Why are we spending so much money for only a four day supply shortfall?

Furthermore, no cost/benefit analysis has been shown nor has anyone seen how much taxpayer money has already been spent on this project. The Smart Meter Network was sold to our legislators under the guise of saving the consumer money, but it has failed to do that.  Smart Meters are not about cutting the cost of electricity, they are about government control of our personal lives and taking more of our hard earned money.

While the PUCT says the meters are completely safe, no independent, long-term health studies have been conducted.  On the contrary, more and more studies continue to surface suggesting significant health hazards related to these electromagnetic frequencies.  The utility companies continue to charge full steam ahead with little input from the Texas Legislature and even less from “We The People.”

Worst of all, this Smart Meter Network benefits everyone EXCEPT the citizen, yet we are the ones paying big money for it.  Please place an immediate moratorium on this project until we can get full disclosure of the real price we will ultimately pay if this project goes forward.

Sincerely,

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PUC of Texas says “Let them Opt-Out”! Really?

Yes.  A “mini-victory”, but not a total solution.

On Dec. 13, the PUC Commissioners all three voted to have an Opt-Out for concerned citizens who are not in favor of having the new Smart Meter technology on their homes.  The truth is, many of us who don’t want them on our homes, don’t want them in our neighborhood either. Are we just spoil sports or psychotic?  Absolutely not.  Many who have been subjected to their neighbor’s meter (even when they have been able to avoid getting one of their own) have come down with symptoms in their bodies that appeared simultaneous to their neighbors’ having a Smart Meter placed on their home.

But what will the Opt-Out look like?  We do not know- we can only speculate and provide educated guesses based on comments from the Commissioners and their past history.  However, for more possible insight to what the PUC will be considering when they create the parameters for an Opt-Out you might consider reading this document named ’Staff update for discussion” prepared for consideration at the Nov. 16th Open Meeting.   Here’s a link to the document which was made part of the public record for the PUC Project 40190 looking at the feasibility of an Opt-Out Program.

What next?

The Commissioners directed the PUC Staffers to come up with a written plan for the Opt-Out.  (No timetable was given to my knowledge.) There are many variables that could come in to play with this Opt-Out.  Will consumers be expected to pay to Opt-Out?  Very Likely!  How will the Opt-Out be done?  What does the consumer do in order to Opt-Out?  What if they already have a smart meter?  If the consumer doesn’t already have one, will they be forced to take one (under threat of power being cut off, as they have threatened?) until the details are worked out?

Once the staffers come up with a documented plan, it will be posted on the PUC website in order for the public to view.  They will also allow a period for public comments as well.  (We will try to inform you when this happens- so perhaps subscribe to our posts on this website for alerts whenever posts are made!)  I am not sure, but the document may be posted as part of the Project 40190 [link to read all posted comments in Proj. 40190].  Once the Public Comment period is over, they will choose to proceed with or without changes, I assume.  This process could easily run into the Spring of 2013, maybe later knowing the previous time-frames of the PUCT.  (Public Utility Commission of Texas)  They have proven they don’t get in a hurry about anything!

In my humble opinion, we still need to ask our Representatives to introduce legislation into the 83rd Legislative Session, to cover the items that the PUC may avoid to address, or worse, where they may make an Opt-Out that only a ‘mother could love’…if you get my drift.  They could make the Opt-Out so watered down, that it is virtually useless, or so costly,  that no-one can afford to do it!  We need to impress upon our Representatives that we need TEXAS to keep its GRID SEPARATE!  There is a push to combine all grids around the world – to basically allow a ‘cap-n-trade’ type scheme to become a reality.  If Texas remains unto itself, we can maintain our sovereignty.  We can’t let the Federal Gov. and others tell us that we NEED to become connected to become modernized and strong – that just isn’t true!

TAKE ACTION!

To help with the effort to rid Texas of these Smart Meters all together, (this may be an incremental process that starts with obtaining a “strong Opt-Out” policy), please email me at Cindy@BanTexasSmartMeters.com.

We have ways you can help.  If we work together we will be able to accomplish so much more!

UPDATE: Article from Associated Press gives additional insight – read below or link to it.  Our website even got an ‘honorable mention’!  Pretty cool!

PUC approves writing rules for smart meter opt-out

Associated Press

Posted on December 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM

“EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The Public Utility Commission has decided to develop a set of rules so consumers can opt out of the smart meters installed in millions of Texas homes and businesses.

Consumers have opposed the new meters, citing possible health hazards and privacy concerns. Some have installed steel cages around their analog meters to prevent utility workers from replacing them with the new digital units and one Houston woman held a gun to impede a utility worker from replacing her meter.

PUC spokesman Terry Hadley said Friday that an opt-out would leave already-installed smart meters in place but disable the devices’ radio frequency capabilities.

A draft of the new rules will be written and submitted for public comment, Hadley said. After that, the PUC will vote again on whether to adopt them, which means there’s still a chance the opt-out will fail. But, he said, “at this point the Commission is leaning toward an opt-out.”

It will take several months until the new proposal is drafted and voted, Hadley said.

Smart meters allow for remote metering via radio frequency and are make the billing process cheaper since there is no need to send utility workers to read them. The meters also provide real-time information on energy consumption and help utilities prevent grid overloads during peak times. They also report to the utility when there is a power outage, making reconnection faster.

In websites and meetings organized by PUC, those against smart meters have spoken of possible government snooping and violations of the Fourth Amendment —unreasonable search and seizure — as well as the chance that hackers could access people’s information from the meters.

On a petition template that’s posted on www.bantexassmartmeters.com , meters are called “surveillance devices” because they record the household occupants’ activities and can be used to “gain a highly invasive and detailed view” of their lives. Smart meters record consumption in 15-minute intervals.

Health hazards from the radio frequencies emitted by the meters have also been cited. The Public Utilities Commission says the meters have a lower impact than cellphones and microwave ovens and are well within Federal Communications Commission’s standards for radio frequency devices.

It’s likely that consumers who opt out will have to pay to have their meters read. As part of the rule-writing process, the Commission will gather information on how much it costs to send employees to read the meters and what disabling the radio frequency device would cost.

Users in California and Nevada pay between $75 and $107 to have the devices replaced along with monthly fees ranging from $8 to $10 to have the meters read. Meanwhile, Vermont legislators decided in May that utilities cannot charge users that opt out.

About 93 percent of the nearly 7 million smart meters in Texas’ competitive markets for electricity, mainly in Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have been deployed, Hadley said.”

END OF AP Article

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