I have some troubling new information to report about Smart Meters. Unaccountable bureaucrats have cooked up some new rules that will limit consumer choices to maximize profits for the utility companies. This is another example of public-private collusion that has made our state government a national laughingstock.
I was able talk to Lori Ebaugh, an expert on the topic of Smart Meters. She was able to give me the run-down on the topic, along with some action steps on what you can do to fight back.
What are the most troubling aspects of these new proposed rule changes?
There are several troubling aspects of these rules. First, there was no input elicited from actual consumers or the public until now, although work has been on-going to rewrite these rules for over two years. Secondly, these rules cement the supposed right of the utilities to shut power off from customers who refuse installation of a new AMI (“smart”) meter. Thirdly, there is no provision made for customers who refuse a smart meter for medical reasons. These people may have doctor’s letters verifying their health conditions, electromagnetic sensitivity or cancer susceptibility. They may require electrical power for their medical equipment (for instance, breathing machines). Yet, there is no provision for them to keep their analog meter. In fact, there is not even the provision to delay a power shut-off for any length of time. Compare that to the extensive provisions given to customers who risk a power shut-off in cases of non-payment.
What does the government and private interests stand to gain from imposing these meters upon us all?
While the utilities insist that this is being done to bring down costs, it is clear that no such savings have been realized. Instead, people have seen their bills go up substantially after the installation of a smart meter. Jobs are lost as well as there are no more meter readers. There is no advantage for the people of Michigan, or any other state, to have these smart meters forced on them. AMI meters do provide to utilities the opportunity to link everyone in the country electronically, creating a security threat in the case of a hack. AMI meters provide lots of electronic data to utilities that they might sell to other companies as well about our personal energy usage and lifestyle habits. Making matters even worse, AMI meters can be used as surveillance devices without homeowners’ agreement in violation of our rights to privacy.
At the Sept. 22 hearing, how was the attendance and how was the group of Smart Meters truth activists received?
About fifty citizens drove to Lansing from all over the State of Michigan to attend the Rules hearing on September 22nd. About 35 people gave verbal comments and testimonies. Everyone was respectful. Although the hearing lasted over five hours, everyone who wanted to speak was given a chance to do so. We were well received and the presiding judge was most empathetic.
What can we do now to show our numbers to make sure that these bureaucrats aren’t able to ignore us anymore?
Any person may submit written comments regarding the proposed rules. The comments should reference Case No. U-18120, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 13, 2016. Address mailed comments to: Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909. Electronic comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you require assistance prior to filing, contact Commission Staff at (517) 284-8090 or by e-mail at email@example.com. All information submitted to the Commission in this matter will become public information available on the Commission’s website and subject to disclosure; and all comments will be filed in Case No. U-18120.
In addition to filing a written comment, citizens can forward this information to their representatives in the Michigan House and Senate to encourage our legislators to also comment on these rules and to pressure to MPSC give us a rule that allows the option of an analog meter – especially in the case of medical conditions.
Not much time remains. The deadline is tomorrow for public comment. Follow those action steps to make your voice heard, and make sure that you spread the word to others to do the same as well. The only way we can stop these thieves is through maintaining public pressure against them, so let’s get on it while there is still time.
Michigan Tenth Amendment Center