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kentucky free press ky free pressWe wrote about Smart Meters in Kentucky before: Kentuckians have them whether you want them or not.

Following is my email exchange with Andrew Melnykovych, the PSC’s Director of Communications, regarding opposition to Smart Meters in Kentucky. The PSC is the Public Service Commission, charged with protecting consumer interests from being gouged by a government-granted monopoly.

At the very same time, per the PSC’s mission statement, it is protecting utility company’s interests as well. Oddly, it appears that consumers are the only ones paying for this service. We ought to get our money’s worth.

How to Opt-Out of Smart Meters in Kentucky

Friends have asked how to have smart meters removed. They have pleaded with their utility companies, all of which have REFUSED to remove the smart meter!

Opt-Out Method #1

According to Mr. Melnykovych in letter #4 below:

“In the interim, 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 call the PSC’s Customer Assistance Division, report back on how that went. “Free to contact” is a little vague, frankly… If the PSC is to be the consumer’s advocate, let’s hold it to its obligations and get smart meters off our homes!

Opt-Out Method #2

Another means may be contacting the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office of Rate Intervention. According to this letter to a commenter, the “AG has intervened.” Not sure what that means, but I am writing to Mr. Derouen to find out. I’m also emailing Kentucky’s AG Jack Conway a link to my correspondence with Mr. Melnykovych.

Have You Sent a Comment to the PSC?

You can see all consumer comments at this link. Email comments are under Response to Public Comment; snail mail under Public Comments. If you haven’t written yet to demand an opt-out, just do it! It’s easy: email a quick note to Andrew Melnykovych. “I demand to be able to opt-out of having a smart meter on my home.” That’s all you need to say.

If we want to have an impact, we need far more comments than are showing now! Do not wait till the meter guy shows up at your house; then it’s too late. In fact, your very own smart meter is on its way to your house now…

Email Exchange with the Kentucky PSC

Message #1

Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012
To: PSC – Public Information Officer
Subject: Comments in Case 2012-00428

To Whom It May Concern at Kentucky PSC,

I am a native Kentuckian, born and raised and living in the Bluegrass area.

I demand the right to opt-out of the smart meter technology and keep my analog meter. I do not care to have either a digital or a “smart” meter at my home.

Further, I demand the right to replace any digital or “smart” meter already installed with an analog meter.

I do not expect to be penalized in any way for exercising my option to keep my home free of radiation and surveillance.

Local Kentucky utility companies are replacing our meters with digital and/or smart meters without our permission! These are the actions of a monopoly! If we had competition in our utility companies, one of them would give us a choice in our meters.

We have the right not to be radiated and not to be surveilled.

Please do not waste our time telling us how you will not share or use the information gathered on our electricity habits. This is private information we do not care to have gathered at all. If it costs us more for this inefficiency, we can live with that.

Tomorrow, October 4th, is the National Day of Action: “Say NO Smart Meters!”

Citizens around this country are protesting “smart” meters. Many states already have opt-out provisions. I would like to see Kentucky get ahead of the curve on this. The more we know about digital and “smart” meters, the less we like them.

Governor Steve Beshear
U.S. Senator Rand Paul
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell
U.S. Representative Ben Chandler
All members of the Kentucky General Assembly Mayor Jim Gray and all LFUCG Council Members

Message #2

Sent: Wednesday, 03 October, 2012

Subject: your comments in case 2012-00428 – smart grid administrative case

Thank you for your comments to the Kentucky Public Service Commission regarding the use of smart grid technology by electric utilities in Kentucky. Your comments will be placed into the case file for the Commission’s consideration as it deliberates in this matter.

As you noted, the case number in this matter is 2012-00428. Please reference it in any further comments.

Records in the case are available on the PSC website at this location: cases/2012-00428

Thank you for your interest in this matter.

Andrew Melnykovych
Director of Communications
Kentucky Public Service Commission
211 Sower Boulevard
Frankfort, KY 40601
502-564-3940 x208   cell:502-330-5981

Message #3

Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2013
To: (PSC)
Subject: Case 2012-00428 – smart grid administrative case

Dear Mr. Melnykovych,

Smart meters are now being installed on homes in Kentucky owned by Kentuckians who do not want them. What is the status of our request to have an opt-out of smart meter installation on our homes?

At the very least, we request an opt-out until a final decision is made. How do we prevent smart meters from being installed until a final decision is made? Local utility companies have been unrelenting!

We fully expect to have an opt-out as is being given across the country. Boston Globe article “Smart Meter Opponents Raise Concerns Over Health, Security, Privacy

Homeowners do not want these dangerous and invasive meters on their homes.

Replacing the ones being installed now with analog meters will be expensive for the utility companies.

I have looked at a few of the pdfs in the records at the link you provided below. Finding information on the opt-out requests is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Pushing through all the acronyms and jargon alone is mind-boggling.

I’d appreciate it if you would please advise as to the status of our request to opt-out of smart meter installation on our homes.

Congressman Rand Paul
Rep. Thomas Massie
Senator John Schickel
Senator Robin Webb
Senator Perry Clark
Rep. Kenny Imes
Rep. Russell Webber
Kentucky Free State Project
Kentuckians for Smart Meter Choice

Message #4

Sent: Saturday, 01 June, 2013
Subject: RE: Case 2012-00428 – smart grid administrative case

The above-referenced case remains open before the Commission and no decision has been issued. A further procedural schedule will be set later this summer, with any hearing date likely set at that time. In any case, a decision is some months away.

In the interim, 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

One utility, Owen Electric Corp., has formally proposed an opt-out provision, although that is separate from the larger administrative case. Owen proposed that customers wishing to opt out of automated meter reading would be required to pay a $30 monthly fee to cover the cost of reading their analog meter. The case number is 2012-00468. It has recently been consolidated into Owen Electric’s general rate case, 2012-00448. That case is pending before the PSC, with a hearing to be held later this year, although no date has been set.

Unless you advise otherwise, your e-mail will be considered a public comment and will be placed into the case file in 2012-00428 for the Commission’s consideration.

Thank you for continued interest.

Andrew Melnykovych
Director of Communications

Message #5

Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2013
To: (PSC)
Subject: Case 2012-00428 – smart grid administrative case

Dear Mr. Melnykovych,

Thank you for your response. I do appreciate it.

A $30 monthly fee is outrageous and unacceptable. It amounts to extortion.

Here are two simple solutions:

1. There are electric meters that periodically transmit customer usage data wirelessly along the electric lines, either once per day or once per week. 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. 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.

Yes, please put my letters into the comments.

Thank you again.

Cc: all the same people as my first letter today

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 employees — 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!