Guest post by Granny Sue. Letters to the Editor are reprinted in full and may or may not reflect opinions of the Editor.
Every night as I return home from work, the first thing to be checked is the light switch in the hall. If the light comes on, then I know the electric company has not yet cut the power. I may seem like an unlikely person to worry about electric power. My energy usage is very small, having shunned most energy draining items of convenience, but I do like to run a fan in the bedroom window at night to keep the room cool enough to sleep in. So, it is with a sense of relief when I see that I still have power. For me, electricity means that I can sleep.
Why would a grandmotherly woman of a certain age, who pays her bills and lives at peace with the neighbors, worry about losing electricity?
The answer is that I have taken a stand against the Kentucky smart meter program at Fleming Mason Energy. I refused a smart meter on my home. Given the potential hazards of RF exposure and the privacy concerns inherent in the collection of energy usage data (http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/smart-meters-not-so-smart/), it is not reasonable to push consumers willy-nilly into adoption of smart meters. One would think that reason would prevail.
However, according to the Kentucky Attorney General (personal communication, May 2015), the electric company may install smart electric meters at will. This is the law in Kentucky, even though the Attorney General, I, and several others have filed for interventions with the Kentucky Public Services Commission (KSPC) to prevent power companies from issuing ultimatums like the one I got from Joni Hazelrigg, CEO of Fleming Mason.
She said I had only two options: take the meter, or be disconnected.
Unfortunately, she is right. It is a fact that until the Kentucky Public Services Commission rules on the matter of allowing opt-outs of smart metering, the consumer is left unprotected from the bullying of the power companies. They can do what they want.
The Kentucky Public Services Commission has been mulling the matter of opt-outs over for a long time. I filed my request for intervention a year ago. A search of KPSC records indicates that others filed requests for intervention at least as far back as 2012.
Why then has the Commission failed to rule? Does it take three years to issue a directive to the power companies telling them to stop bullying their customers? How many of us will be cut off from electricity while we wait, and wait, for the KPSC to rule?
Who does the KPSC answer to, if not the people of Kentucky?
The failure of the KPSC to protect consumers has caused me to question the very nature of the Commission. Supposedly politically neutral, has the KPSC become influenced by the Obama administrations push for the “Smart Grid” (http://energy.gov/oe/services/technology-development/smart-grid)?
Or is the commission unduly influenced by the power companies who got federal monies to implement smart metering? From where I sit, it sure seems as though the KPSC is engaged in foot-dragging when it comes to protecting the people from the aggressions of the power companies.
Is the foot-dragging deliberate? Am I to believe that the KPSC is in collusion with the power companies, knowing that the longer they delay a ruling, the more likely it is that the consumers will yield to the smart grid? I cannot say.
One thing is for certain: The Kentucky Public Services Commission has not protected me from Fleming Mason Energy. While the Commission dithers, I am left to check the hall lights every evening and stock up on batteries.
Can someone give me a reason why the consumer-deaf bureaucracy of the KSPC continues to exist?