I very rarely comment on issues that arise in the community. However, there is an issue that is on the horizon that I feel compelled to share my concerns about and that is the upcoming issue with the Automatic Metering (Smart Meters) services that the city of Truth or Consequences has entered into contract with L&G and the "Petition".
There appears to be misinformation out there that says the community did not have any opportunity to be involved with this process. Let me share my background: I have been a city commissioner, I have been your mayor and I have been a city employee. I was the city finance director when we had the fiasco when the electric meters were not being read (by a human) and I had to deal with the impact when all of the reality hit each of you and when your meters were finally read and your bills were done and updated.
I was also in this position when the AMI companies made their presentations to the city commission regarding their programs. I also know that the process of the Smart Meters or the AMI's, has been ongoing for over six years! And each time these companies came before the commission or the Public Utility Advisory Board (PUAB) it was published on the agenda in advance for the public to review and for the public to attend and gather information and make their concerns or questions known to the boards at that time. (As finance director we also implemented the city website that allows public access to all agendas and minutes for all boards and commissions.) I also know that the commission referred this item back and forth to the PUAB to discuss, ad nauseam.
The commissioners did this so that they had all the information that they needed prior to making a final decision. That is why it took over six years to complete. I am a business owner and have been since 1985. I want this community to prosper. In order to do so the city needs to get with it and collect what is due them with electric, water and sewer. We need to get our infrastructure in order so that other businesses will come.
The businesses that remain here cannot continue to support it on our own with the GRT that we generate alone. Many of you have recently experienced the estimated utility bills that was due to lack of the human aspect to read meters; Now you are getting your "real" bills! Not very pretty is it! Wouldn't it be great to have consistent, accurate, on time billing? Let's get into the current century and let the computers do the work. If you all think that getting labor is easy, you are badly mistaken. There are very few people out there that want to do this type of work – it's hard! Keep the human beings in the office doing the paperwork that people want to do! Is anything perfect? Heck no! But then neither are we! But it's better than what we have now.
And then I say get the Smart Meters for sewer and water next. Can you imagine the revenue this city is missing out on? I can.
There is a lot of misinformation out there. Be smart and don't get sucked into junk science and myths. You will hear about medical concerns, and that they are hazardous to your health. In fact, they put off less radio frequency than your cell phone, a baby monitor or a microwave.
Yes many cities have passed this up – they have people to work – good for them! We don't. It's as simple as that. Many cities have done it – and it works. People will try to scare you into signing the petition to stop the Smart Meters (a contract that has already been signed by the way) – don't be fooled. These petitions take very few signatures and then cost YOU thousands of dollars in special elections.
Just because a few people did not take advantage of attending meetings over the past six years does not mean that the public was not involved – it just means they did not take the time to get involved. My point in all of this is that this program did not happen overnight; it evolved over many years.
Thank you for your time.
(Over 350 words paid)