Letters for December 20, 2012

Power failure

Re “Power brokers” (Feature story, Dec. 6):

I’m Mike Hazard, the second anti-smart-meter activist mentioned by Ashley Hennefer in this article. I’d like to point out some major inaccuracies.

I did not tell Ms. Hennefer that I started the NV Energy Stop Meters group. I only mentioned an email group I communicate with and that in my research on smart meters, I ran across the name Angel DeFazio, and discussed with her several issues related to smart meters. She told me that she had started a group called NV Energy Stop Smart Meters. How Ms. Hennefer assumed that I started this group is unclear to me. I am not a member of Ms. DeFazio’s organization nor do I offer any input about material displayed on her website.

Secondly, in the third paragraph from the end of the “Power Surges” section I did not say there is a one-time fee of $8.14. The $8.14 fee is a recurring monthly fee associated with the opt-out and is subsequent to the one-time initial reinstallation fee of around $100. In the fourth paragraph above the “Power Surges” section, the quote from Faye Anderson is also inaccurate. There is a total of 1.4 million meters statewide, not 1.4M plus another 375,000. The statement that starts out by saying, “We might have to turn off the power” is also inaccurate. In every meter installation instance, the power has to be turned off because the power runs through the meter to measure it and to change the meter, power to the house or building has to be interrupted to make the installation.

There are 13,786, not 3,000 customers on the opt-out list per submitted NVE testimony to Dan Jacobsen of the Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection division of the Attorney General’s office. This trial NSMO (non standard metering option) was approved on Nov. 27, but it was only approved by the PUCN to allow the BCP to file a Petition of Reconsideration and is currently under a Stay Order until another hearing can be scheduled to make a decision concerning the possible use of the “analog” meter as an optional meter in the NSMO. All of this information is available on the PUCN web site under Docket No. 12-05003.

Finally, Hennefer states, “These consumers will have to handle the differences in cost for these services.” What she fails to explain is that this is discriminatory and criminal to operate under one rate structure for both smart meters and analogs ($10 in the south and $9.25 in the north) and then charge the opt-out group an additional $8.14 for a digital meter that will use the same or similar in-place infrastructure that is currently used for the analog meters. It makes no sense to switch out meters that have exactly the same function and that use the same meter reading procedure. Again, this is a deceptive company decision on NVE’s part that generates a false cost, and is evidence that they are fully aware of the potential push-back by customers across the state, and they know that the number who wish to opt would be much higher if there were no double costs at all. The purpose behind this fee is not only to increase their bottom line, but also to keep the number of people who opt out to a minimum to protect their responsibility to the $139 million grant the DOE gave them in 2010.

Mike Hazard
Las Vegas, NV

Pro pro power co.

Re “Power brokers” (Feature story, Dec. 6):

While I appreciate RN&R’s attention to the smart meter issue, every article has a disturbing pro-industry bias, belittling the symptoms as “psychosomatic” and those actually suffering them as belonging to fringe groups. Thirty-one thousand PG&E customers in California would not have already opted out for a one-time charge of $75 plus a surcharge of $10 on their monthly bills if their symptoms were not acute. More would opt out if they were not living in multiple-dwelling units or realizing the futility of escaping the radiation if living proximate to neighbors not opting out. Shrubbery is reported to be dying where planted next to banks of smart meters for apartments in Berkeley.

You were in error that NV Energy customers opting out are charged a one-time fee of $8.14 plus a recurring $9.25; According to the Nov. 27 release by Nevada PUC, it is one-time $107.66 plus recurring $8.04.

“Industry” is not united on the utilities’ chosen route for implementing the “smart grid.” Engineering News-Record is a highly-respected trade publication. Following the destruction to northeastern power grids by Hurricane Sandy, ENR editorializedin their Nov.12, 2012 edition: “Until now the U.S. Dept. of Energy has spent too much money on meters that do too little to make grids, or the consumers that use them, smarter.”

Instead of a narrow beam aimed back to the transformer in the street or using IP-over-power-lines to feed data back to where the grid is managed, utilities recklessly chose pulsed microwave broadcasting indiscriminately in all directions to the detriment of their customers. The nanny state accomplishes little in terms of energy savings and nothing for balancing the load. Driving health-conscious, progressively-minded people with wind turbines and solar panels to unplug from the grid altogether is counter-productive because a network is required to optimize the demand for power generated by these highly variable renewables.

Bill Stremmel

Maybe not

Re “General fund dollars” (News, Dec. 6):

Two obvious comments come to my mind, and probably to many other readers.

First, and foremost, it should seem obvious to most of the electorate that using our very precious general fund monies to assist private enterprise would most likely be a mistake, considering these dollars are needed for necessary community-sustaining purposes, such as police, fire, sanitation services, etc., and not for entertainment venues, especially when the venue is not major league/professional and is a secondary endeavor of a sports franchise i.e: Triple A baseball (Aces). It’s been evaluated many times in many communities how ineffectually sustainable this is … even professional franchises at the major level in even major markets such as Seattle fail, i.e., Seattle Supersonics. If we think small, we’ll remain small and get screwed again. Haven’t we failed enough? We need foresight.

And two, in response to downtown restaurant owner David Silverman’s comments published in the above article, I can only suggest this: Never, I repeat, never put all your business eggs in one business basket.

Seriously, you believe the check’s in the mail?

Jonnie Gaits

Don’t subsidize private business

Re “General fund dollars” (News, Dec. 6):

Again the city of Reno wants to throw away another $1.5 million on a business that should pay its own way. Did we not learn our $300 million lesson with that giant hole in the ground? The railroad is still laughing all the way to the bank. I have asked business owners around town if they have received a million dollars from the city for starting a business, and not one of them has gotten a dime from Bob and company! Why is that, I wonder? Everyone in town pays plenty, and the Aces should be no exception. By the way, how many days a year is the stadium in use? Reno should ask around and see how many other cities have taken it sideways over these “great” stadium deals.

Roy Brennan


Re “Power brokers” (Feature story, Dec. 6):

As stated in the letters above, in Southern Nevada, the upfront analog meter re-installation fee is $98.75, with a recurring monthly charge of $8.14. In Northern Nevada, the one-time fee is $107.66, and the additional monthly charge is $8.04. We regret our error, and apologize for any confusion we caused.