The Virginians and the Power Company:


By —— Bio and Archives March 7, 2012

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Today I drove to Richmond, Virginia, for an interesting hearing, approval to implement new demand-side management programs and two updated rate adjustment clauses—euphemisms for crony capitalism. Dominion Virginia Power, a public service utility, is the beneficiary, along with homebuilders, contractors, and environmentalists.

Demand-side resources (DSM) are programs imposed by Dominion Power and paid for with taxpayer dollars via grants from the Department of Energy and other federal bureaucracies:

  • Residential Lighting Program (bundling)
  • Low Income Program
  • Commercial HVAC Upgrade Program (duct testing, sealing, heat pump tune-up and upgrade,  energy audit, refrigeration)
  • Commercial Lighting Program
  • Air Conditioner Cycling Program
  • Commercial Distribution Generation (CDG)

Three hundred homes in Virginia received energy audits, duct testing and sealing. Thousands received compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) that release toxic mercury when broken. Some Americans claim adverse health effects when CFLs are in use.

The current administration did not issue any new coal power plants or nuclear power plants permits. The demand-side resources (DSM) programs provide Dominion Power with the excuse to forgo construction of new electric generation facilities.

Virginia General Assembly declared, “It is in the public interest to promote cost effective conservation of energy through fair and effective demand side management, conservation, energy efficiency, and load management programs, including consumer education.”

By 2022, retail customers must reduce energy consumption by 10 percent. In case you wonder who is going to pay for all these upgrades, bulbs, load controls, Smart Meters, education, tune-ups, energy audits, duct testing, sealing, it is the taxpayers. The nanny state must tell citizens what to consume, when, and how much.

The docket today, PUE-2011-00093, listed environmentalists, home builders, contractors, Sierra Club attorneys, Dominion Power attorneys, and a hundred concerned citizens who believed that the hearing would cover all aspects of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).

According to the Division of Energy Regulation Senior Utilities Analyst, “Dominion received approval from the Commission to conduct an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot program in several geographic areas within its service territory and has now installed AMI meters on all homes within those selected areas. The AMI pilot program is one of several Dominion demand-side management programs that was considered and approved.”

The analyst continued, “Dominion indicated that the efficiency of the program would be compromised if customers were allowed to opt-out and, further, that the Company was not aware of any conclusive and convincing evidence that advanced metering is casually associated with an increased incidence of detrimental health effects in humans.”

All contractors, homebuilders, environmentalists (Sierra Club), and other interested attorneys who brought into court 12 huge boxes of files, repeated the same canned statements about green energy, protection of the environment, of the planet, and sustainability of energy consumption, with little regard for human needs.

When concerned citizens came to the podium, one by one, the judge told them that the hearing was not about Smart Meters. Undeterred, most citizen testifiers broached the Smart Meter issue and their negative effect on health.

A firefighter described his wife’s condition, headaches, shaking, tremors, burning skin, brain issues, insomnia, constant nerve firing, and other symptoms that have appeared since the installation of their Smart Meter.

A couple in their eighties made an impassionate appeal to have 17 Smart Meters that were installed in the proximity of their apartment removed. The man was a WWII and Korean War veteran with peripheral neuropathy. With tears in his eyes and a tone of despair, he was rhetorically wondering what kind of country we live in. What happened to our freedom? Why are we treating Americans this way?

Dr. Charles Battig, an engineer and medical doctor, argued that Dominion Power’s “avoidance of building more power plants by imposing advanced metering technology may not be to the benefit of all its customers. The desire of Dominion Power to ‘reduce delivery voltage and reduce energy usage on distribution circuits’ could be reasonably accomplished by metering trunk lines, and thereby avoiding the micro-managing of each individual customer. Health and privacy issues would be greatly muted.”

Dr. Battig further challenged the utility company’s claim that the system was set up to benefit customers. Dominion power needs tens of millions of dollars of additional “revenue requirements” which will ultimately be paid by consumers. Virginia legislation allows for “enhanced rates of return” on renewable energy projects. Customers will pay via federal and state taxes by subsidizing these programs.

“Smart metering is promoted as energy saving, and by implication, money saving for the average consumer. However, legislation is in place to ensure that the power company does not lose revenue. “Decoupling mechanism is a legislated remedy already in place, and can lead to the situation wherein the utility customer who responds to the call for less energy use, eventually pays more for using less energy… use less, pay more.” (Dr. Charles Battig)

The judge interrupted Dr. Battig while he was making the point that FCC safety data on Smart Meters was not accurate as it only addressed tissue damage. A 100-page report from SAGE Associates of Santa Barbara, Ca, “Assessment of RF Microwave Radiation Emissions for Smart Meters” released on January 1, 2011 provided evidence for more health concerns in cellular mutation, cancer, and infertility.”

Dr. Battig asked the State Corporation Commission several non-rhetorical questions that remained answered. The three-panel regulatory commission remained silent while the twelve attorneys were smiling.

Did the Commission review such relevant documents, to safeguard the public in its approval process, when it allowed Dominion Power to conduct its smart meter pilot program?

Did the Commission study the different impacts on infants, the elderly, pacemakers, the addition of smart meter RF energy to pre-existing electric field environment of the user, the proximity of smart meters to the customer, or to customers who may live in a multiple family residence with a bank of such meters next to their bedroom or nursery?

Other citizens testified that their consumption of energy has decreased but the electric bill has gone up 17 percent. Some took issue with the government control of our electric usage, telling us what to do, deciding our needs, taking our freedom to decide away. 

John Quinn, a World War II and Korean War veteran, lamented with a lot of pain in his voice, “What is happening to the United States to let a company do that to their citizens? Why are my rights taken away? Why are they not removing these meters that are killing both me and my wife?”

Freddy Boisseau was concerned that, while temperature changes during peak demand are now voluntary, they may not be voluntary in the future. His wife’s medical condition is exacerbated by excessive heat.

Boisseau believed environmental groups’ testimony was based on a global warming hoax. In his opinion, they have lied, manipulated the data, and their computer models are flawed. He added that contractors were interested in efficient home improvement at the expense of other taxpayers through government grants. Environmentalists created this problem based on lies, deception, limiting our energy generating ability, stealing our property rights, individual rights, and ultimately controlling population growth. “The environmental movement is green on the outside and red on the inside.”

Sandi Brasili opposes Smart Meters and Dominion’s expansion because our country is broke.  She believes, we don’t have an energy shortage, we have a manufactured crisis, part of the global warming hoax currently under investigation by our own attorney general in Virginia She urged the Commission to keep rates honest and not waste taxpayer dollars on building improvements.

Jacqueline Whitmore believes that most people do the right thing on their own. It is wrong to assume that people need to be controlled or that they do not have any concern for the environment. Given the high cost of food and gasoline, people monitor carefully their electricity usage.  Americans should be able to decide how they want to spend their money.

The hearing concluded with many disappointed Virginians who came to discuss the health dangers of smart meters and the vulnerability of the Smart Grid. Instead, they heard canned lectures from attorneys, Sierra Club, environmentalist groups, homebuilders, and contractors with a huge stake in the crony payout about saving 10 percent in utility bills by 2022, after spending billions of taxpayer dollars to retrofit homes that would possibly reduce usage predicted on a computer model simulation.


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Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Romanian Conservative is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com