Jonathan Libber has hit the nail squarely upon its head ("BGE's 'protection money,'" May 19)! I am one of those who chose to opt out of this "gift" from the Maryland Public Service Commission. Allegedly, these "smart meters" will be a boon to the consumer as they will allow us to more judicially use our energy resources. That alone caused me to pause, I don't quite understand how that will work; how will that meter "inform" me any better than the one that I have now as to my use of energy? And, when you ask the PSC or BGE this question: "Will you be able to actually control my access to energy via this meter?" The answer that you will receive, if any, is usually evasive, or: "We wouldn't do that" or, "No, we couldn't do that."
I believe that Baltimore Gas and Electric will be able to control access to energy such as limiting or shutting down air-conditioning of homes and other appliances such as televisions, computers, even your home illumination. In the event that BGE or any other supplier fails to maintain its capacity to produce energy such as downed lines from lack of maintenance, they will simply shut you down. These meters will allow them to do just that. Any "crisis" or "natural disaster," whether legitimate or not, will give them an excuse to do that.
It's strange that the one-time cost of obtaining a photo ID card which may be obtained from any motor vehicle agency is sufficiently expensive so that it's not forced on the less affluent in our society for fear of disenfranchisement but a perpetual penalty for not allowing Big Brother to control your access to energy is perfectly OK! I am not wealthy, not by a long stretch, but I will pay the confiscatory cost to simply being left alone.
As for the PSC, they are in bed with the utilities. Let's say that BGE has a legitimate need for a rate increase to do whatever and "need" $1 million. They are in "cahoots," as Roy Rogers might say, with the PSC so they ask for $4 million. That allows those thieves on the PSC to pontificate and bloviate for public consumption to give the appearance that they are "looking out" for us! To The Sun and others, the PSC says, "There's no way that we are going allow BGE to gouge the consumers like this, $4 million is preposterous." The dumbed-down public says, "Look at that, the PSC is working for us!" And then the PSC quietly announces that BGE will have to live with just $2 million and the beat goes on! I strongly suspect that this outrageous surcharge for wanting to maintain my privacy will be gradually increased until I can no longer afford my liberty and will eventually have to acquiesce to this tyranny.
The charges are outrageous, unnecessary, confiscatory, punishing and will be increased. The medical questions have not been answered, nor have the questions about the physical danger of these meters, the fires and damage they may cause to appliances. I actually learned something from Mr. Libber that I didn't know and that is the lack of certification by the Underwriters Laboratories for meters that are by now on thousands of homes. The increase in rates is something else to consider. These new meters, just like the old ones, indicate the actual energy units consumed. Why then should they have any effect on the cost of our energy, isn't a unit of electricity the same cost no matter which device records it?
Robert Di Stefano, Abingdon
To respond to this letter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and contact information.