Letter Battles Rage

Jerry Collins must be feeling the heat. The CEO of MLGW seems to be smarting from the recent bad publicity his beloved smart meters are getting because he wrote a letter to the editor today that has a reek of desperation in it.

Collins attempts to counter attack the letter Joe Saino wrote last week. Saino, a retired board member of MLGW and an electrical engineer, savaged MLGW’s townhall meeting for their deceptive answers to the public’s questions. Collins doesn’t succeed.

He writes, “First, a smart meter is still a meter; it simply communicates.” I find that an odd definition and not one in accord with Merriam Webster: “an instrument for measuring and sometimes recording the time or amount of something (a parking meter) (a gas meter).” It’s more like numbers in an account. Of themselves, they do nothing. Someone else or something else reads it. He makes up his own definition because he wants you to think all these things already communicate so why the uproar? It’s what is done with the numbers that matters.

Next he says “there are established manufacturing and operating standards” and dismisses this statement by throwing out a website for the reader to investigate. It doesn’t sound convincing, does it?

“Two,” he says – I see three here, but whatever – “security protocols, data encryption and redundant security measures, among other protections (such as?), will prevent someone from ‘hacking’ into a smart meter.” He might have been able to sell this a few months ago, but after all the PRISM, Sheryl Attkison’s computer hacked into her reports on Benghazi and the Edward Snowden deal, this is a no sale, Jerr.

“Three (or is it four?),” Collins writes, “MLGW is operated separately from the city of Memphis; our budgets are separate and the City Council has approved the smart meter expansion in our budget.” So the money that comes into the city of Memphis comes from other people somewhere else? If the Council members are not dealing with taxpayer money, then whose are they dealing with?

Next he attacks Saino’s idea of averaging a bill to save the need for meter readers. “Averaging everyone’s bill is not a choice because each customer is different,” he explains. Exactly. What could be more fair than one rate paid equally by all depending on their needs and usage? He dismisses the practice of estimating bills, although they do it quite willingly now.

Collins closes by painting a world you’ll miss if smart meters aren’t adopted. You won’t get reduced service restoration times (why?), reduced utility theft (although these meters are more valuable than the old ones), leak detection (meter readers already help with that and so does your bill if you check it), improved security and safety (how does that happen?), faster connection time, increased consumption information and data (like we don’t already know that you use less you pay less), improved air quality through lower vehicle emissions (this one is only believed by those who believe in unicorns).

If all these arguments were true, wouldn’t the public be clamoring for smart meters? Unfortunately for him, the public can tell when someone’s doing a con. Every con man promises that his plan will save you money and make you happy – once you fork over money. Don’t buy it.

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