CA Stocking Up on Candles as VT Gets Free Opt Out

Protesters in Vermont demand a free opt out in November 2011- last week the VT legislature concurred

Last week the Vermont legislature passed a bill that requires utility companies to offer a free opt out for its customers- we believe the first such state law in the US.   It’s not a total ban but it’s one step in that direction- especially if large numbers take advantage of the new law.  Media outlets like Bloomberg are buzzing with news of the wave of ‘smart meter defiance’ sweeping the nation.  Praise is in order for the legislators who voted for this bill and the many advocates working to make the voices of Vermont’s public heard.  Why not write to your state legislator right now and ask them how come Vermont deserves a free opt out, but not in our state?

Meanwhile, out in the wild west where the California legislature has been sitting on their hands as the PUC authorizes extortionate opt out fees, residents who prefer to retain their safe, accurate and durable analog meters are having to stock up on candles amidst PG&E threats to disconnect otherwise on-time bill-paying customers.  Below is a report from California’s central coast, where many are planning to resist the fees- nearly 400 have signed a pledge refusing to pay, thousands more have demanded a halt to the fees.  We suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Here’s the word on the street:

“We sent a personalized version of this sample letter to both addresses of (PG&E) before the May 1 deadline. We appreciate so much your supplying the sample!!! Our son and daughter each rent a house we own (in SLO and LO, respectively), so we included separate letters, personalized and signed by each, with their account numbers. All sent by certified mail. We’ve also been stocking up on candles, and with our solar oven, we’ll be OK if they cut off our electricity for non-payment of opt-out fees. Also have been emptying out the freezer, so can let them do the dirty deed to objecting customers and see how it makes PG&E look.”

We’ll see- but one thing is for sure- the free opt out cat is out of the political bag- it’s just a matter of time before consumers from other states demand it.

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2 Responses to CA Stocking Up on Candles as VT Gets Free Opt Out

  1. Electra says:

    If you don’t mind, I’m going to post part of the article here. There is so much good in the story (including the nod to Joshua!) that we can use in our ongoing fight.

    These corporate darlings see the writing on the wall, and are trying to run interference. Let me tell you, the only reason that there are so many “smart” meters installed (per the article) is because people are extremely busy these days, and have NO FRICKIN’ IDEA that these dangerous devices are even ON their homes. The ones who do know they’re there believe that the power company would do nothing to hurt them. WRONG! It seems the power companies are actually going out of their way to hurt and impoverish their customers. How stupid and criminal is that?

    “Smart-Meter Defiance Slows $29 Billion U.S. Grid Upgrade”

    By Mark Chediak – May 9, 2012 2:58 AM ET
    .
    “A growing consumer backlash against new wireless digital technology for measuring power usage is slowing U.S. utilities’ $29 billion effort to upgrade their networks.

    “States including California, Maine and Vermont have responded to customer concerns about higher bills and safety by offering them the option of keeping their conventional devices for an extra charge.
    .
    {SNIP}

    “Charging fees for opting out is pretty outrageous,” Charles Acquard, executive director of National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, which represents 44 consumer groups in 40 states, said by telephone.

    “Escalating consumer opposition is delaying efforts to deliver power more efficiently because the gadgets anchor next- generation transmission grids. Several utilities, including one owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/B), are holding off on roll-out plans until regulators decide whether they can force consumers to pay costs for the technology that utilities also refuse to pick up.

    “Smart meters, so called because they allow real-time usage monitoring, originally were pitched by the industry as a boon to consumers for increasing control over consumption. While the effort won grants from the Obama administration, consumer advocates say benefits have yet to materialize as promised.

    “Rising Opposition

    “A minority of customers complained the devices instead raise their bills, compromise privacy and risk their health with electro-magnetic fields emitted by the wireless technology. In California, more than 50 local governments are opposing use of the smart meters, according to Joshua Hart, director of Stop Smart Meters, a Santa Cruz County-based consumer group.

    {SNIP}

    Holding Off Deployment

    {SNIP}

    Not all companies are plowing ahead. In November, MidAmerican Energy Co., a utility owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, told Iowa regulators it was waiting to deploy electric smart meters while it assesses how other power companies address complaints.

    Alliant Energy Corp. (LNT)’s Iowa utility told state regulators that concerns about raising customer bills and rapidly changing technology were among the reasons keeping it on the sidelines.

    Last fall, Connecticut delayed its decision on Northeast Utilities (NU)’ proposal to install 1.2 million smart meters, saying it needed time to establish a state policy on the technology.

    {SNIP}

    • Redi Kilowatt says:

      Electra,
      You can be sure that the opposition to the SmartMeters and their radio network that they call a “smart grid” are a good thing to oppose, but will not stop the upgrading of the electrical power grids in the U.S.
      They have not yet begun to upgrade the aging electrical power grids in the U.S.
      The government/corporations wanted to ramrod this SmartMeter/radio smart grid project through first before starting on upgrading the actual power grid upgrades.
      The government/corporations pulled off a scam by calling their revenue collection radio network a “smart grid”. That was to confuse the people into thinking that (as an example), PG&E was able to levy a $2.2+ billion charge on the ratepayers for the SmartMeter/radio grid project that it was going to upgrade the electrical power grid. Guess what, it’s not, and the cost to upgrade the electrical power grid in northern California (PG&E territory) is estimated to cost $300 million , set to start in about 2 years and take 10 years to complete. That $300 million charge is over and above the $2.2 billion for the SmartMeters in PG&E territory. And by the way, to completely upgrade the aging regional electrical power grids in the U.S. to bercome a national power grid will cost an estimated $300 BILLION and also take 10 years to complete. And again, this has not yet started, they want to trick the public consumers into buying the SmartMeter/radio revenue collection smart grid first, then they will actually start on upgrading the electrical power grids in the U.S.
      I must admit, the government/corporations have done an excellent job in hoodwinking the citizens about this matter. You have to give them credit for that.

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