Letters for Saturday, February 11, 2012

• Rogue menace at KIUC

Rogue menace at KIUC

In a Dec. 14 response to a letter from American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative CEO David Bissel wrote, “If during the time of installation, a customer objects to smart meter installation at their particular premises, the installation will be temporarily halted and existing equipment will remain in place until a final decision has been made on any opt-out program.”

First of all there are no electric customers on Kaua‘i, as electricity is provided to owners of the co-op called members.

This policy of “no prior smart meter choice before the day of installation” was repeated Feb. 8 by KIUC Chief of Operations Mike Yamane at the Kaua‘i County Council meeting.

The question was asked, what if a member doesn’t want to “opt in” to the smart meter program and isn’t home? Yamane had no answer. There will be no answer because there is no dialogue between members and KIUC, and there never has been. Try asking a question at a board meeting and the reader will see.

At the KIUC informational meeting on smart meters on Dec. 6, KIUC Plant Manager Brad Rockwell told members of the audience privately that KIUC doesn’t want to offer an opt out in advance because KIUC is afraid too many people would opt out and scuttle the executive plan. In other words, KIUC is afraid of giving members choice. In other words, KIUC no longer believes that members, who are the owners, decide what happens at the co-op, but instead tries to circumnavigate member choice to the extent of endangering our health.

We learned at the Feb. 8 council meeting from Mike Yamane, who repeated it twice that the date of KIUC adoption of smart meter program was Dec. 22, 2010. However the minutes of the Dec. 21, 2010 board meeting do not mention smart grid. It has now been 31 days since I sent an email to KIUC CEO David Bissell asking him for minutes of this decision. He has not responded. There is no dialogue with KIUC.

Kaua‘i Transparency Initiative challenges KIUC CEO or board to produce any evidence that they received commentary and engaged in back and forth negotiation with public in order to represent public desire on smart meters before making this 2010 decision, if indeed that is when it was made.

The second principle of all electric co-ops is stated on KIUC’s website:

“Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership.”

Kaua‘i Transparency Initiative accuses KIUC of willfully and knowingly making decisions that broke this principle, and is now forcing a defacto “opt into smart meters” policy upon co-op members.

According to Bissell and Yamane, only if you happen to be home and physically confront and stop installation of the smart meter on your home, can you avoid the new wireless Meter.

The board members of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine issued the following statement on Jan 19:

“The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless ‘smart meters’ in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature (references available on request). Chronic exposure to wireless radio frequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action. … Hence, we call for an immediate moratorium on ‘smart meter’ installation until these serious public health issues are resolved. Continuing with their installation would be extremely irresponsible.”

In order to protect your right of choice, Kaua‘i residents might want to make your meter inaccessible to tampering in the event that you are not home 24/7 to guard your meter against rogue tampering. You can find ways to do this online.

A lawsuit against the individuals at KIUC who were responsible for breaking co-op principals is being vetted at this time. However, the court of public opinion is more powerful than any court of law. What is your opinion? Are you willing to express it?

KIUC ignores letters and emails and never discloses to other members any complaints. There is no dialogue or transparency at KIUC. If you have an opinion, we suggest you call KONG, KKCR, write to TGI, and then show up at KIUC board meeting Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. and demand that your testimony be printed in the minutes of the meeting online for all other members to see.

Remember, you own the co-op, they don’t own you. Smart meters are a health menace.

Ray Songtree

Kaua‘i Transparency Initiative



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