For Smart Meter Bill
(The following letter was addressed to Maryland Senator Thomas M. Middleton, Chair, Senate Finance Committee and a copy forwarded to this publication.)
There has been a lot of debate regarding the pros and cons of Smart Meters. Issues such as radiation, health concerns, interference with pacemakers and baby monitors, privacy concerns, etc., have been widely discussed. I am sure that you and your committee members have heard or read extensive arguments on both sides of the issue.
I exercised the right to opt-out of the installation of a Smart Meter at my residence on an interim basis, and I intend to continue to opt-out permanently. Thus, you know where I stand on the matter. I am writing today to request that each of you grant favorable consideration to SB 880.
What I want to share with your committee is my opinion that my electric utility company, Delmarva Power, has been totally inconsiderate of their customers in my community and the Town of Ocean City. I received a letter from Delmarva Power dated Nov. 19, 2013, informing me that I would be receiving a Smart Meter, but there was no mention that I could opt-out on an interim basis as provided by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in their Order No. 84926, dated May 25, 2012. Reportedly, the first 19,260 Delmarva Power customers to receive a similar advance letter were informed that they could opt-out on an interim basis. I had to find out about opt-out on my own. I believe that as many as 180,000 customers in the Delmarva Power service area may have received a letter similar to mine that failed to notify them of the right to opt-out on an interim basis.
Contractors working for Delmarva Power have been installing Smart Meters throughout Ocean City without making contact with customers. In a fact sheet, which accompanied the letter from Delmarva Power last November, it stated “Installers will knock on the door to notify the customer of their arrival and prepare for the service interruption, if necessary.” One local elected official recently reported that he sat watching an installer go down the street installing meters and never once knocked on a door.
Another resident reported that she heard loud rattling and banging outside a bedroom window. Her husband went outside to find an installer putting on a Smart Meter that they did not want. The couple never received a letter in advance of the installer’s arrival. Clearly, the installer should have known that they were home with a vehicle in the driveway, and yet he had never knocked to announce his presence.
A large condominium on the north end of town had all 100 meters replaced with Smart Meters. One of the condo residents told me that no one knew they were replaced until after the installation.
In the just published Order No. 86200 issued Feb. 26, 2014, the PSC ruled that utility customers can opt-out of the installation of a Smart Meter on a permanent basis provided they pay a $75 initial fee and a maximum $17 monthly fee, but subject to revision in the future. They made part of their decision based on an estimate that 1% of Maryland utility customers will choose to opt-out on a permanent basis. This was partly determined by data provided by Delmarva Power that as of Aug. 6, 2013, only 0.65% of their customers had requested to opt-out.
Simply put, if Delmarva Power customers are not being informed that they can opt-out, and many customers are having Smart Meters installed without being contacted by the utility company beforehand; it is no wonder that only 0.65% had opted-out as of last August. Contrary to Delmarva Power’s recent assertion that they have been educating the public about Smart Meters, they have failed miserably to educate the public about the downside of Smart Meters and the customers’ right to opt-out.
The PSC’s Order No. 86200 is flawed if they based their decision on only a 1% opt-out rate. As early as February of 2010, there were estimates provided to the PSC that as many as 25% of customers would choose to opt-out.
Finally, it is worth reviewing the Dissenting Opinion of Commissioner Harold D. Williams that accompanied the recent Order of the PSC. Commissioner Williams explains his dissent in a convincing manner. In his footnote 1, he summarizes his concerns by writing: “My focus on the economic impact of opt-out costs on low-income, poor, and fixed income customers does not suggest that I consider the health, safety, and privacy issues raised by some parties to be minimal or insignificant. Indeed, given those issues, I find imposing such additional costs on opt-out customers even more egregious.”
Thank you for your consideration and for your service to the citizens of Maryland.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.
Common Core Views
Common Core Facts:
1. Worcester County School Board fully supports Common Core
2. Written by trade organizations not educators
3. Adopted by bureaucrats without parent, teacher or legislative approval
4. Inappropriate standards for early childhood learning
5. In violation of 3 Federal Laws governing education
6. Local school boards have lost curriculum control over their schools
7. Government changed FERPA laws to release personal data to virtually anyone
8. Parents are not allowed to see what tests their children are taking
9. Teachers fear losing their jobs if they oppose Common Core
10. Worcester County received $1.1 million cost to implement $5 million
11, Data collection on children and family without permission
12. No empirical evidence that Common Core will improve education
13. Top down centralized education vs bottom up localized education. You choose.
Common sense not common core.
On behalf of Soroptimist International of Berlin-Ocean City, I’d like to thank the community for the support of our basket and bag bingo fundraiser on March 1. Soroptimist International of Berlin-Ocean City provides scholarships to girls and women in the local community as well as the National Honor Society pins for Stephen Decatur High School.
I’d also like to thank our volunteer bingo caller – Violet Shipp, members of Soroptimist International of Berlin-Ocean City – both past and present, friends of Soroptimist International of Berlin-Ocean City who volunteered their time, the student volunteers from Stephen Decatur High School and the local businesses that provided prizes for the evening.
I’d like to recognize their businesses and thank each for their donation: 19th Hole Bar and Grille, A Perfect Face, ABC Printers, Inc., Acquest Title Services, Inc., Applebee’s, Bank of Ocean City, Berlin Auto Wash, Blue Moon Alley, Carraba’s Italian Grill, Choptank Electric, Claudia Nichols – State Farm Agent, Coconut Malorie Resort, Crab Alley, Dandy Don’s Bike Rentals & Service, Dough Roller, Drummer’s Café at the Atlantic Hotel, Fenwick Float-ors, Grotto’s Pizza, Hair Repair, Hair Shack, Harborside Bar & Grill, Johnny’s Pizza Bar & Grill, Liquid Assets Bistro and Package Goods, Lombardi’s 94th Street, Lucky Angler, Main Street Deli – Berlin, Millsboro and Ocean Lanes, Old Pro Golf, Phillips Crab House, Ruark Golf, Scentsy (Vicky Nock – Independent Consultant), T Shirt Factory, Taylor Bank, Thirty One Gifts (Michelle Lieske – Independent Consultant), Three Brothers Restaurants Inc., Trader Lee’s Bar, The Treasure Chest, Trimper’s Rides and Waterman’s Seafood Company.
As a nonprofit organization, the support of the community is essential to our mission of helping girls and women. Thank you for helping us achieve our goal this year.
Laurie R Newton
(The writer is the president of the Soroptimist International of Berlin-Ocean City.)
Save The Geese
I am a resident of Ocean Pines and I am writing to save lives; the lives of the geese that inhabit the Ocean Pines community ponds.
I do not know if the surrounding communities are aware of the recent decision made by the Ocean Pines Board of directors to euthanize the geese due to “the mess” they cause. The residents of Ocean Pines were informed of this decision and despite many emails from us calling for the repeal of the decision, the Board remains firm.
There are other options, such as relocation or investment in machines that would better maintain these common areas. The ponds are now home to a variety of ducks, geese, and other birds all living together. I personally feel they should be left where they are.
My husband and I enjoy all the local wildlife, from the wild ponies, to the deer, fox, and yes, the geese. I appeal to all animal lovers to express your outrage over this cruel and unnecessary plan to eliminate these geese and have your family, friends and neighbors do the same.
Contact information: OPA Board of Directors, President Tom Terry, firstname.lastname@example.org; Vice President Sharyn O’Hare, email@example.com; Treasurer Bill Cordwell, firstname.lastname@example.org; Secretary Terri Mohr, email@example.com; Dan Stachurski, firstname.lastname@example.org; Marty Clarke, email@example.com; Jack Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org; General Manager Bob Thompson, email@example.com; and Ocean Pines Advisory Committee members Jim Trummel, by laws and resolutions; Roy Foreman, recreation and parks, Bob Adele, environmental and natural assets.
The Criss Family
Recently my son, John Holloway, retired from Ocean City Fire/EMS after 28 years of service. He is very deserving and proud of his accomplishment.
There was a party held in his honor and in lieu of gifts he asked everyone to bring donations for my new venture, “Kenille’s Kupboard Pet Pantry and Rescue.” We received over 500 pounds of food that will help families in need take care of their pets and be able to keep them at home.
Thanks to all those who attended his party and contributed to the Kupboard. Your support is so appreciated.
Congratulations, John. Be proud of all your hard work and may all good things come your way.
West Ocean City