PG&E – Profiteers, Gamblers and Extortionists

In a city far from here very long ago, I knew a man named Bob
Douglass. Bob was a great guy and fellow amateur radio operator who
spent nearly his entire working career at PG
&
amp;E.
In a city far from here very long ago, I knew a man named Bob Douglass. Bob was a great guy and fellow amateur radio operator who spent nearly his entire working career at PG&E. Bob sometimes referred to his lifelong employer as, “Profiteers, Gamblers & Extortionists.”

In nearly most of their public statements, PG&E has implied customers will not see a rate change with the installation of a Smart Meter. PG&E spokesperson Paul Moreno told the Dispatch, “Getting a Smart Meter does not change your rate plan.”

Moreno also said, “It does offer you more options for rate plans.”

There is the first little white lie.

Currently, residential consumers pay flat-rate fees for electricity. PG&E totals the electricity we use and charges us one rate per each measure of electricity, expressed as kilowatt-hour(s). It makes no difference when we burn this electricity; we pay the same rate per kilowatt-hour.

With Smart Meters, our friends at Douglass’ Profiteers, Gamblers, and Extortionist central will be able to charge us different rates based on a variety of factors such as time of day, usage, grid impact, or whim.

No longer will PG&E be held to the California Public Utility Commission’s flat rate fee schedule. They will be able to charge us 12 cents a kilowatt-hour for one 15-minute block of time and, say, 36 cents per kilowatt-hour for another 15-minute block of time without any statutory notice or public hearings.

All our trustworthy souls over at power station phobic PG&E will have to do is make a data input instruction and your bill can double, triple, or even quadruple in less time than it takes for our collective hearts to beat a single resounding thud when we see our monthly bills.We Gilroyans already know how praying for forgiveness rather than asking for permission can negatively affect our city financially. It sits towering above the street at Seventh and Hanna. What happens when PG&E “makes a mistake” on billing rates and “forgets” to send us a rebate for their screw-up? Even if it they do issue a refund in 60 days, it is still a 60-day interest free loan, no?

PG&E says Smart Meters give us the ability to manage our energy usage. Those new meters will indeed give us the ability to manage our usage. The problem is what tool do we have to manage PG&E?

These smart meters can look INTO our homes and as never before possible, calculate how many appliances we are running at any given second of the day. Just how long do you think it will take for Big Brother (read United States Government) to force PG&E to hand over electric usage history in an effort to profile Californians for potential illegal activities? Not a second longer than it takes new Governor Jerry Brown to see a new tax and spend opportunity and open up a fountain pen.

The Supreme Court has long held law enforcement has no right to enter our homes sans probable cause or warrant. Smart Meters allow the snooping eye of the Patriot Act and others to peer into anything electric within our homes. Just think how these Smart Meters talk to PG&E: wireless networks, of course. What better than a direct wireless connection to hard-wired sensing equipment to allow federal, state, and local law enforcement to peek within our homes, the last stand of individual freedom, un-bidden and without authorization?

Like most new ideas rolled out by big business Smart Meters are smart for only one side of the utility/consumer equation and it certainly isn’t you or I. Never before has a utility had such power to indiscriminately screw its customer base with real-time accuracy and speed of light implementation.

Bob Douglass has been dead many years. Up until a year ago I never understood his euphemism for his employer. I imagine him looking down and saying, “Called it didn’t I sport?”Yes, Bob you did.Profiteers, Gamblers, and Extortionists. Without a doubt you certainly did.

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