many some of you have written to the PSC requesting an opt-out of Smart Meters in Kentucky, it could be months before that is decided. [And in fact it will be. Click here to read the 6/1/13 email exchange with Melnykovych, which includes a number to call to see about getting your installed meter removed.]
Meanwhile, your local Kentucky utility companies are rolling them out as quickly as possible to beat the ban.
Just got off the phone with Andrew Melnykovich at the PSC. Smart meters are being rolled out in Jackson County and in southern Kentucky. These are wirelessly transmitting your electrical use — including time of day monitoring — to the electric company.
Why Not Have a Smart Meter?
Utility records have always been public record, so a FOIA request will allow anyone at all to see your electrical life. Like when you are regularly home, when you are regularly not at home. When your hot water heater kicks on in the morning, indicating you might be in the shower… how dark you like your toast. Stuff everybody else needs to know.
How to Know if YOU have a Smart Meter
Write down the number on the front — it looks like a model number. The one shown above is a Landis & Gyr Focus AXR-SD (click here to see the pdf spec sheet).
Then search “landis & gyr Name Model#” and you will find it. It takes some figuring to see exactly what’s what… You can always call Landis & Gyr and talk to a product specialist at 1-800-Landis6.
You can also call your utility company (you’ll want to anyway) and ask what is on your home and what its functions are.
If you have a smart meter, Mr. Melnykovych says that, “In the interim [while an opt-out is being considered], smart meter issues are being addressed on a case by case basis. Customers who do not wish to have smart meters installed and are unable to reach an accommodation with their utility are free to contact the PSC’s Customer Assistance Division at 800-772-4636.”
If you don’t want Smart Meters in Kentucky, there are 4 things you MUST do:
1. IMPORTANT! Email a quick note to Andrew Melnykovych. “I demand to be able to opt-out of having a smart meter on my home.” (A longer version is below.) That’s all you need to say. So easy, so fast. The PSC is having a comment period right now (one with no end in sight, giving your local utility company plenty of time to install its meters… the comment period
couldwill go on for months.) However, the PSC has the authority to make regulations by which utility companies must abide and they can make a regulation that allows an opt-out. We need to push for this HARD.
2. Call your electric utility and DEMAND they remove or not install a smart meter on your house.
3. Get your legislator to introduce legislation to allow an opt-out to smart meter installation on your home. I do not normally advocate legislative interference in the market but this is a monopoly and we have to fight fire with fire in the short term. Competition in the market, when the customer rules, would solve this problem beautifully! However, at present, there is no civil disobedience or free market push back short of going without electric service at our homes, which is how some utility companies have dealt with consumers who demand an opt-out.
4. If you do not have a smart meter yet, go to www.jerryday.com and get a copy of the sign to hang on your current meter.
And if you do nothing?
You will have a smart meter, emitting EMF radiation around your family’s heads, increased home fire hazard and ZERO privacy from both hackers and government.
Letter to PSC:
EMAIL Andrew Melnykovych
TO: Andrew Melnykovych, Director of Communications at PSC
SUBJECT: Case 2012-00428 [you must have this case # in the subject]
Re. Having a “smart meter” installed on my home
I demand that Kentucky electric utility customers be given a penalty-free opt-out to having any kind of a smart meter installed on our homes that transmits data wirelessly AND/OR gives time of usage reports to an electric utility.
Meters that transmit any time of usage — including daily usage — are not acceptable. Any EMF radiation at all is unacceptable.
Analog and some of the digital meters work just fine with no health or privacy concerns.
Here are two simple solutions:
1. There are electric meters that periodically transmit customer usage data wirelessly along the electric lines, once per week or once per month. These do not transmit time of usage data. No employee needed to visit the property and read the meter, no harmful EMF radiation, no fire hazard and no invasion of privacy.
2. In many cities, customers are charged an average fee monthly based on previous usage. Then the analog meter is read once or twice a year and the service charges are adjusted at that time.
What we really need is competition in the market. This problem would be solved immediately.
The Bottom Line on Smart Meters in Kentucky
Consumers don’t want them. Whether radiation levels are minimal or dangerous, whether government will use information gleaned from time of usage reporting to charge people with crimes or not, the fact remains that consumers don’t want smart meters.
It is not for legislators or government employee — all paid by consumers — to decide whether or not consumers can opt out. As the only entity paying for the service, utility consumers demand an opt out. It is our right to protect our homes, our families and our property as we see fit. Government decided to make utility companies monopolies with the caveat that consumers would be protected. Protect us with an opt-out!