With its proposed merger with Fortis energy receiving maximum scrutiny now, we’ve been talking about how Central Hudson has been on a charm offensive, with its television and radio spots attempting to smooth the way so that the Public Service Commission will approve the giant deal, one that we’ve opined doesn’t appear to be so beneficial to its customers.
And thus we come upon the ham fisted treatment of the Woodstocker who didn’t want Central Hudson’s new meter on his home, the one that’s not a smart meter but is in the ‘family’ of smart meters and the guy feels like it’s making his partner sick. (See story, Page 1.) So he asks politely if he can remove it, gets all the paperwork together to show them what he’s doing, gets a new analog meter compatible with Central Hudson’s works, and when he receives no response from the company, he removes the meter and replaces it.
Central Hudson then comes to his house and literally cuts his wires. Shuts him down. No power. No talking about it. You’re off.
Central Hudson doesn’t make electricity anymore. It buys it. But Central Hudson is the only one that has the wires and transmits it to your house. A monopoly. Without Central Hudson…oh, you can run a generator, if you can stand the noise and afford the gas. But that’s about it. No power. Even if you have solar panels, you’re still putting that power into the grid and Central Hudson is carting it off and is still sending power in your house through its monopoly wires. So when Central Hudson says you’re off, you’re off. Yes, the guy can get his power back, if he comes crawling back to Central Hudson — accept a new meter same as the one he didn’t want, and pay $348 for the wires that Central Hudson cut.
See, this is no way to win public favor. If you even care. Central Hudson and Fortis feel that the public won’t stand in the way of money, so it will keep sweetening the merger deal financially.
This isn’t meant as a commentary on the efficacy or potential health dangers of smart meters. There will be lots of material forthcoming on that and a dialogue will ensue and some will agree and some will disagree, and some will be ok with smart meters and some will not.
We would emphatically support the New York State legislation that would allow individuals to opt out if they did not want a smart meter on their house. And the utility companies will fight that, but it can be done.
But we’re also angry at a monopoly that can just cut your wires, leaving you with no place to turn, and no way to fight them. Central Hudson’s feelgood campaign to merge with Fortis should be considered in that light.