Posts

Florida Power & Light: The Smart Meter Challenge Continues

People in Florida are taking a stand against “smart meters” being installed across the state of Florida.  Two different groups of approximately 100 people have filed 2 separate petitions with FP&L. These people did not want a smart meter attached to their homes and now FP&L wants to charge them extra for their old analog meters.  Did you have a choice?  What benefits are you really getting from having a smart meter on your home?  Have you noticed any savings on your bill because of your smart meter?  What about your privacy, safety and health?  Who is answerable to you, the customer?

If you haven’t been aware or noticed what kind of meter you have on your home you might want to check it out… if you are one of the 4.5million FP&L customers who are getting them it’s time for you to educate yourself and see what you have attached to your home.

David, that’s you, the homeowner really hasn’t been truly educated on these transmitters, keep in mind that FP&L saved a ton of money by getting rid of meter readers, those folks now get to enjoy more leisure time with their friends and family while you, David, get to enjoy radio waves transmitting from your home.  Remember FP&L received $500,000.00 from the federal government to have GE build these meters to be placed on your home.  Why?

Safety standards for the smart meters are not a concern to Goliath (FP&L) but they should be of grave concern to David (the homeowners) who has them attached to their homes.  There is a lot of information out there on some of the safety hazards of smart meters…one distinct hazard are of fire.  “Smart meters are often installed in pre-existing meter sockets. Meter sockets are expected to operate safely for many years. However, the safe operating life of the meter socket may be reduced by many factors including (but not limited to) excessive moisture, environmental contaminants, frequent changing of meters, excessive electrical load (overload or short circuit), vandalism, ground settling, storm damage, and other conditions.

As utilities move toward two-way communications for meters and remote meter reading, the opportunity for inspection of meter sockets is expected to decline. The interval between site visits by utility personnel could be more than 100 times longer than current monthly schedules”  Who will have the liability for this problem?

Privacy issues with smart meters are:

Homeland Security said our electric grid should not be dependent on wireless systems, which are by their nature extremely vulnerable. We understand that police will be allowed to subpoena the data that the ‘smart’ meter collects from utility companies.  In addition, third party corporations will be able to access and analyze your private household appliance use data without your knowledge or consent.  For example, if your health insurance company found out from your utility that you opened your fridge often in the middle of the night, they may raise your premium to cover their liability for your unhealthy lifestyle.”

Some people are not concerned with having their lives out there for anyone to view and use, I for one care very much for my privacy and have never given consent to any utility to use my data or spy on my lifestyle.

Health concerns are wide and varied, coming from multiple sources and doctors.

“ Exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation from these meters is involuntary and continuous. The transmitting meters may not even comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “safety” standards (see http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf/). However, those standards were initially designed to protect an average male from tissue heating (cooking) during a brief exposure. These standards were not designed to protect a diverse population from the non-thermal effects of continuous exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation. Therefore, these “safety” standards were not designed to protect the public from health problems under the circumstances which the meters are being used.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has called for a moratorium on the installation of transmitting utility meters on the basis that:

“Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.”

I applaud these David’s in taking on Goliath as years from now who will know the final toll this will have on your health and the health of your children.  Are you willing to risk your well being, health, safety and privacy of yourself and your loved ones, I’m not!

Maine and California have a opt out option for Smart Meters and it looks as if Massachusetts is set to follow.

Sources:

http://www.electricalpollution.com/smartmeters.html

smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Business_Strategy

http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Technologies_Metering/Smart-meter-fire-hazards-A-safe-and-sane-approach-5167.html#.UwT9FumPLmQ

Exposing Tax Filing Costs

As part of National Taxpayer Burden Month, Watchdog Wire is presenting a series of interviews, columns and videos dealing with the current progressive income tax system. The current income tax was created 100 years ago with the passage of the Sixteen Amendment to the US Constitution.

As part of our National Tax Burden Month activities we are highlighting a series of videos produced by Kerry Bowers, the State Director for Nevada FairTax. For 13 years Bowers lived in Florida, the last 4 as the Panhandle Director for the Florida FairTax Educational Association.

According to the Fair Tax website:

The FairTax is a national sales tax that treats every person equally and allows American businesses to thrive, while generating the same tax revenue as the current four-million-word-plus word tax code. Under the FairTax, every person living in the United States pays a sales tax on purchases of new goods and services, excluding necessities due to the prebate. The FairTax rate after necessities is 23% and equal to the lowest current income tax bracket (15%) combined with employee payroll taxes (7.65%), both of which will be eliminated.

Bowers support to FFTEA and AFFT has been through legislative expertise specific to HR 25/S 122, computer presentations, and video productions. The following is a video presentation exposing the true tax filing costs born by every taxpayer.

To video more video presentations by Kerry Bowers go to his YouTube Channel.

RELATED COLUMNS:

When is your tax freedom day?

VIDEO: Buchanan Tax Reform panel raises disturbing future without major changes

Disclaimer: The author is on the Board of Directors of the Florida FairTax Educational Association

Danger: Energy Economic Zone Ahead

Government is famous for wasting time and money all at the expense of taxpayers. The greatest waste has been attributed to the “green movement” and its efforts to save the planet by controlling human activities, such as emissions of CO2. This political and uniquely unscientific movement has led the Florida legislature to create comprehensive planning legislation, implement caps on carbon emissions and most recently create an Energy Economic Zone (EEZ) pilot project.

Sarasota County has established by ordinance an Energy Economic Zone. The first public hearings on the EEZ pilot project in Sarasota County are being held in September. Citizens and business will learn what the EEZ is all about. But what is end purpose of an EEZ? What will be accomplished by establishing an EEZ in Sarasota County?

My answer: The greatest expansion of local government power over your and my pursuit of happiness.

Here are ten reasons why I believe the Sarasota County EEZ will fail:

1. Any governmental expansion of power always meets with stiff public resistance and the EEZ is meeting stiff resistance. The EEZ has been denounced with bi-partisan support in Sarasota County. Neighborhood associations, anti-growth proponents and Democrats are standing shoulder to shoulder with TEA Party groups, 912 Project members and the Republican Party of Sarasota Executive Committee to denounce this project and its attempt to control the lives of citizens.

2. Economic zones do not work. County Commissioner Nora Patterson in an e-mail to an opponent of the EEZ states, “Our existing enterprise zone [in Newtown] is truly a depressed area and I can tell you in advance that the overall situation has not improved, in fact quite the opposite given the economic downturn.” So Commissioners know that enterprise zones do not work from the Newtown failure. Why throw good money after bad? Because it feels good to do so. The EEZ is being driven by ideology, not by any proven method to create jobs or expand the economy in Florida.

3. One of the purposes of the EEZ is to create energy efficiencies and thereby reduce energy usage. This is a FALSE premise as greater efficiency leads inextricably to greater energy usage. This phenomenon is called the “rebound effect”. Increasing the efficiency of lighting encourages us to illuminate more. This means that we need more energy, not less to meet future demand, expected to increase by 30% over the next decade. The EEZ concept is a fallacy, even if the five sitting County Commissioners believe in this fallacy, it is still a fallacy.

4. The incentives provided in the ordinance as currently written are not defined. This makes the ordinance open to broad interpretation by staff in its implementation. We have experienced what happens when bureaucrats are given the leeway to implement policy in Florida. This has happened with numeric water standards being imposed on the state by the Environmental Protection Agency. Placing Draconian standards on water quality to save us from ourselves. Standards that cannot be met!

5. The incentives are front loaded without regard to clearly defined end results. Under the current proposed ordinance businesses would be awarded incentive grants in addition to tax abatements for job creation. The business would promise to create new “green jobs”. This is a failed model, see reason #2 above. You and I do not pay a business until the job is done. In this case County government is so trusting that they will pay upfront for a promise of future job creation. The County has tried this recently with Sanborn studios. Sanborn Studios closed its Lakewood Ranch facility in December 2011 after just one year in operation. The company that promised to produce Hollywood movies, TV shows and create more than 100 jobs in Sarasota got a $650,000 grant from Sarasota County. It is good to learn from experience right?

6. The EEZ is “crony capitalism” writ large. Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth. The proposed ordinance establishing an EEZ is the ultimate example of crony capitalism. Government picks the winners and losers, not the free markets. This always leads to corruption and political favoritism.

7. Government does not create jobs! The great myth is that government can via incentives create something from nothing. Jobs are created only when a business cannot meet the market demand for its products or services. That is an economic fact. What can government do to help create a market for a product or service? Nothing, absolutely nothing. What government can do best is to do the least. That is to say government is best that governs least. Protecting property rights is the role of government.

8. All of the County Commissioners are Republicans dedicated to limited government and the U.S. Constitution. The Republican Party of Sarasota Executive Committee passed a resolution condemning “local ‘sustainable development’ policies such as Smart Growth, Wildlands Project, Resilient Cities, Regional Visioning Projects, and other ‘Green’ or ‘Alternative’ projects.” The EEZ falls squarely into all of these categories! A copy of the full resolution was presented to each Commissioner.

9. The County’s attempt to establish an EEZ has led to at least one law suit. According to Kathy Attunes, “The EEZ and attached Enterprise Zone incentives are separate statutes. It can be argued that the Enterprise Zone statutes exist independently of the EEZ statute (377.809), and these state Enterprise Zone statutes apply independent of any local eligibility requirements and a $300,000 cap. The EEZ green standards and $300,000 cap are not outlined in the Enterprise Zone statutes; the statutes do not mirror each other. We are concerned that the EEZ statute and linked Enterprise Zone incentives are in conflict, which potentially sets the County up for litigation brought by businesses who have met Enterprise Zone criteria but not County EEZ standards. We do not want the BCC to proceed with a program that opens the door to a flood of untargeted Enterprise Zone tax breaks, and the possibility of having local control negated by state statute.” I agree more litigation will follow.

10. Finally, this is just bad public policy and a waste of taxpayer money.

There are many other reasons why the EEZ is bad policy for Sarasota County but in the interest of brevity I have listed only my top ten.

I do not need nor want government telling me how to save energy. I am perfectly able doing that on my own. If I wish to waste energy then I will pay an economic price for that behavior. That is how personal freedom and free markets work. Government forcing choices upon me is morally wrong. The EEZ is morally wrong!