[Received via Email from Gary Kilpatrick with permission to share at the end. Thanks Gary for excellent info and important follow-up to my previous post/sc]
PSO is now removing our reliable analog electric meters and replacing them with digital “smart” meters that include a wireless transmitter/receiver. But PSO has not told customers that an unofficial opt-out list exists. I say unofficial because the opt-out program is not legal until the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) gives its approval, which they could do any day.
Lack of space forbids a full discussion of why a smart meter might not be such a good idea, but in summary smart meters are undesirable because they are a health hazard due to increased radiation exposure; they significantly increase the risk of cyber-security breaches of the electric grid; they provide further tools for an invasive government to perform warrantless monitoring of your home; they provide valuable data about your personal habits which power companies desire to be able to market; and due to their fragile, high-tech construction smart meters are prone to failure, often resulting in fires in consumer’s homes.
Although I am pleased that PSO is offering an opt-out, PSO has asked for exorbitant opt-out fees: a one-time fee of $183 if you opt-out before 12/31/2016 and $261 after 12/31/2016; and a monthly charge of $28.
In a hearing at the OCC Wednesday of this week the Oklahoma Attorney General, representing PSO’s customers, stated that the fees proposed by PSO were not fair, just and reasonable. The Attorney General provided several means by which the estimated costs of the opt-out program could be reduced; offered evidence of opt-out fees from a number of states, all of which were significantly lower than those proposed by PSO (the average monthly fee in the other states was $11); and argued that it was inappropriate for PSO to charge monthly opt-out fees at this time because the cost of reading existing meters is already imbedded in the electric rates customers are currently paying. In addition the Attorney General noted that in a recent filing OG&E has requested approval of an opt-out program and their one-time fee is 38% lower than PSO’s and OG&E’s monthly fee is 50% lower than PSO’s.
An additional problem with PSO’s opt-out program is that it does not include any consideration for those people who are extremely sensitive to micorwave radiation nor for low income households. Both the medically sensitive and low income households will suffer the most when a smart meter is installed on their homes, and it is unconscionable that the opt-out fees have been set so high.
If you, like me, do not desire to have a smart meter, then I suggest the following:
1) Call PSO customer service at 1-888-216-3523 and ask to be put on the opt-out list for smart meters. You will receive a call from the Bartlesville customer service representative. She will tell you that no official list exists yet, and will try to convince you to change your mind. Be polite – she is just doing her job. The decision to charge unreasonable opt-out fees – to even install smart meters in the first place – was made way up the PSO food chain. After making this call tape a note to your existing analog meter stating that you do not want a smart meter and that you have asked to be put on the opt-out list. Although PSO initially agreed to honor this unofficial opt-out list, they have not been uniform in their response when they (actually their contractors) come to your house to slap the new meter on (that is literally how it happens);
2) Call the three OCC Commissioners (Dana Murphy @405-521-2267; Todd Hiett @ 405-521-2264; and Bob Anthony @ 405-521-2261) and tell them you support, in fact demand, an opt-out program, but the fees proposed by PSO are not fair, just and reasonable. In addition tell them you want to keep your analog meter, not some partially disabled smart meter. Under the opt-out program PSO plans on giving you a digital meter with the communication chip disabled. There are very good safety reasons why you should want to keep your analog meter. Call soon, they could vote any day;
3) Call the Attorney General’s office and thank him for representing “we the people” in the PSO opt-out case and encourage him to continue to aggressively represent the people of Oklahoma against big business and big government; and finally
4) Attend an information meeting about the hazards of microwave radiation exposure (cell phones, smart meters, portable phones, baby monitors, etc.) to be held on Thursday, February 4th at 6:30 P.M. at the Bartlesville Public Library.
P.S. Feel free to forward this email liberally. The thing PSO fears most is a tremendous outcry against their outrageously high fees for customers simply wanting to keep their old analog meters rather than exposing their family’s to unnecessary radiation.