DELIRIOUS: We're convinced that somewhere in the bowels of the offices of Kaua`i Island Utilities Coop (KIUC) there exists a manual detailing how to make sure that every single action they take will be done in the most arrogant, nose-thumbing way possible.
Either that or CEO David Bissell has some diabolical plan based on reversing the public's long held beliefs regarding flies, honey and vinegar.
We suspect it must be the former because it's not easy to get people to rise up in opposition to innocuous and even beneficial actions and go against their own self-interest.
Yesterday's KIUC press release on the heels of a federal lawsuit against so-called "smart meters" filed by North Shore taro farmer Adam Asquith- the one who led the effort to put the kibosh on federal control over hydroelectric projects- is nothing if not designed to piss off even those of us who can find no validity to the claims of long-term, cumulative health effects of smart meters' use of low-level "radio frequency" signals.
Apparently Asquith is avoiding the health issue though, with the suit citing only "serious security and privacy concerns."
But Bissell, ever tone deaf and oblivious to controversies of his own creation, flipping off the community at every juncture so far, continues on his merry way in the release. He starts by saying he is:
"disappointed that a local smart meter opponent felt the need to resort to the filing of a complaint with the federal court in Honolulu on Friday requesting an injunction to prevent KIUC from moving forward with its rollout of smart meters."
Disappointed? What did he expect after- as has been the case with KIUC since inception- telling opponents to shut up and go away, using incremental changes in policy and claiming that the new policy was always the policy.
While the battle over "opting out" of smart meter programs is not new- with California recently implementing a program where consumers can pay to do so- Bissell's original position was essentially that "we're going to install the meters so shut up and sit down."
Then it was approximately "well if you're home when we come to do it and you can catch us doing it, and you insist,we won't install it that day. But we will come back when you're not there and do it anyway."
Now all of a sudden the release says that:
Under the deferred installation plan, each member will receive two weeks' notice prior to installation, and will be given clear instructions for notifying KIUC if they would like to defer. KIUC will take time to assess the situation with the few who defer and determine the most appropriate long-term solution without delaying the efficiency and cost control benefits of this technology to the majority of members
In other words, more "screw you- we're going to do it anyway," but we have developed this fake "deferred installation program"and we're counting on you being too stupid to read critically.
But the sheer arrogance veritably reeks off the page with this statement:
While KIUC is committed to the smart meter technology, the cooperative has said it will indefinitely defer installation of smart meters for the small number of members who are opposed to the technology and submit a formal request," Bissell said. "We hoped this deferral program and our many conversations with the community about smart meters would relieve the concerns raised by the plaintiff and prevent this issue from ending up in the courts.
The "small number" contention is galling enough since the number is growing, mostly based on the thought that ""if KIUC is for it, it must be bad- so I'm against it." But the claim that there were "many conversations with the community about smart meters" is yet another of KIUC's signature whole-cloth-fabrications... apparently part of the aforementioned manual.
But wait- there's more.
KIUC understands the importance of protecting our members' privacy and security," said Bissell. "It is important for our members to remember that KIUC has been responsible for protecting critical information and systems for years. Smart meters are new, but the duty to protect member privacy and ensure the integrity of our electrical grid is not. The storage, protection and sharing of members' private information is strictly governed by co-op bylaws and policies.
Are you serious? Bissell is actually saying "trust us." And to mention the "co-op by-laws and policies"- which violate the very core principles of co-ops by stripping members of their right to democratically decide all major issues- has to be a joke.
The current election for the board of director has been held out as a chance for a "new majority" to take control, although, as we said earlier this month, we haven't heard anything from candidates about returning control of co-op decision making to the members- or expanding membership to every user on the island- and don't expect a total reorganization to meet the standards of a consumer cop-op, even if the miraculous occurs and that majority come to be.
In the "song" Alice's Restaurant, the sheriff has prepared "twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us."
But to the lawman's chagrin, the judge is blind and isn't going to look at the twenty-seven photos.
And like that judge the people of Kaua`i are simply not going to look at the science behind the safety of smart meters or, for that matter, take any claims of adequate security and privacy seriously.
It's too late for Bissell's bluster. We don't want a new board- we want membership control of major decision-making. And nothing less is likely to do.