Stop Duke Energy’s power grab, says My Turn columnist Cheryl Pass
Posted Oct 10, 2016 at 5:24 PM
Oct. 24 is the deadline for contacting the North Carolina Utilities Commission to stop Duke Energy from adding tariffs/fees to customers who don’t want a Duke Energy Smart Meter installed on their home or business. Duke is requesting a $150 fee up front and $11.75 per month thereafter. There should be no tariff. You can contact them by email or snail mail, but at this late date, email would be the fastest way.
Duke Energy is a monopoly in Gastonia. Even if you are contracting with ElectriCities for your energy provider, Duke Energy is the main source of energy for ElectriCities or other co-ops. So, you can’t run and you can’t hide unless you have a self-generating power producer, which most of us do not have.
Why are Smart Meters a problem? Smart Meters are an offense to all citizens for different reasons.
1. Smart Meters grab real time surveillance data in seconds on the kilowatt-hours used in your home or business. While Duke tries to assure the public that these Smart Meters are secure, there is no possible assurance that someone inside or outside could not ascertain the normal hours of use per customer and use that information for nefarious reasons. (Fourth Amendment violation.) This information can also be used by the government to force customers to comply with government mandates on lower energy use dictated by Washington, the United Nations or an unelected global commission. (Paris Climate Treaty — our Congress has not approved, but Obama signed.)
2. Duke Energy has made no secret that they will eventually charge everyone a “time of use” rate. This means they will charge customers higher rates for using energy during “peak” hours when demand is highest. At the moment, they are denying they are going to do this, but they already have that program in place voluntarily and will eventually implement that across the board on everyone.
3. Duke Energy has not guaranteed that they will not sell your information to manufacturers of appliances. While increasing fees and rates, Duke can make even more money by selling your information to those who want to sell you “more efficient” or “Energy Star” appliances. You may wish to purchase those anyway, but do you think Duke should take your private information and sell it to appliance manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers?
4. Last, but not least, there are health repercussions with having the added radio frequencies into your homes and businesses. Many people have high sensitivity to RF emittances. Duke denies this is a problem. It’s true that people are carrying around cell phones and using computers that emit RF, but with Smart Meters, RF becomes a network going through your entire home, connecting the Smart Meter to RF chips on your appliances and HVAC. You can’t escape the concentration of RF emissions. If you live in an apartment complex and your apartment is close to the bank of Smart Meters, you are even more at risk from RF accumulating in your location.
Duke denies that their Smart Meters at this time have the capability to control your appliances, however, you know this is possible because of the programs Duke has already had which control your air conditioning use during the summer months. Bottom line here is, we really don’t know how much they are capable of and how much radiation exposure customers will endure. We do know from other states and many news reports that Smart Meters have caused fires when installed and increased cancer rates occur in areas of close proximity to concentrated metering and towers.
Duke received millions in government grants to implement Smart Meters. Duke received a 5.1 percent rate increase in 2015. Duke is now applying for another rate increase, higher than the last one. Duke made nearly $3 billion in profit last year. Now they want to gouge their customers with tariffs for a dangerous surveillance meter that some (SMART) customers don’t want. Duke, of course, denies all problems I have cited here.
Contact the North Carolina Utilities Commission and tell them to deny Duke its tariff on customers who refuse Smart Meters. Here’s how: http://www.ncuc.commerce.state.nc.us/ On the right is a link for comments and statements: firstname.lastname@example.org You must reference this docket ID: E-7 Sub 1115 Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC Opt Out Rider
Cheryl A. Pass is resident of Gastonia.