Oklahoma Politics: August 2015 Archives

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) will hold a hearing today on Public Service Company of Oklahoma's request to impose additional fees on customers who opt-out of PSO's "Smart Meter" program.

The hearing is at 10:30 a.m., August 27, 2015, in Courtroom B at the OCC's offices at 2010 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City. The docket number is 201500109: "Application of Public Service Company of Oklahoma for Commission Review and Potential Approval for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Alternatives and for Cost Recovery of Any Approved Alternatives."

I have been unsuccessful so far in finding the detailed application online, but you can read the current PSO tariff, which includes the Smart Meter provisions approved by the OCC that went into effect on April 30, 2015.

Acting on an alert from the Tulsa 9/12 project, I submitted the following comment on the PSO website and the OCC public utility complaints page.

Our family has opted out of the PSO Smart Meter program. I understand that PSO is asking to install a transmitting, data-recording meter everywhere, even on opt-out homes. Please uphold the spirit the opt-out by rejecting this request from PSO, so that opt-out homes can continue to use non-transmitting analog meters.

We also object to the penalty PSO wants to impose on smart meter opt-out customers. Our opt-out does nothing to increase the cost of delivering electricity to our home over the current cost. If smart meters are truly a cost-saving measure, ratepayers should get a rate cut for opting in.

Here is the alert from the Tulsa 9/12 Project:


PSO has filed testimony before the OCC (Oklahoma Corporation Commission), claiming only 150 people have refused the Smart Meter "Offer". They also filed testimony asking the OCC to remove all analog meters on the bypass list and replace them with an AMR (a one way wireless transmitting meter instead of the AMI two-way transmitter currently being installed) claiming they will turn the transmitter off and charge the customer to have it read manually.

What they are not saying is, they can turn the meter on remotely at anytime without the customers knowledge or consent. The AMR meter also requires an FCC license and contains a 900 mhz transmitter which pulses every 15 to 20 seconds at or over 220,000 micro-watts, making it very harmful for those who are electro-sensitive (many AMR's have two transmitters). In other words they have applied for the installation of a Smart Meter on every home with no exception to retain an analog meter. This is not the case in other states where they retain their analog, if the OCC accepts their conditions, and if the Attorney General doesn't intervene, it is NO OPT OUT at all.

The scheme continues to unfold:

Utility costs will continue to skyrocket by design, because "the more the customer conserves the more they pay".

Smart Meters do not conserve energy, people do. You do not need a smart meter to program a thermostat.

If you're not fired up yet - this should do it...

The OCC has amended their rules for what they call the "Demand Program" (Title 165 Chapter 35, Subchapter 41 effective Jan. 1, 2016).

The OCC has set up an incentive program (customer provided funds) for the Utilities to re-educate and convince the customers to reduce their consumption (or the Utility can do it remotely through the meter) to the point that the Utility doesn't build another power plant (EPA and DOE requests 4% reduction). The rules also state that the Utility can apply for a "True-Up Recovery Tariff" for the revenue loss caused by the customer reduced consumption, "the more you conserve (save) the more you pay".

This is a win win for the Utility, they were approved to charge the customer base to remove the reliable analog meter (a 30 to 40 year life) and replace it with an unproven digital meter (3 to 10 year life). The capital investment for IT and the infrastructure to switch over to the digital surveillance is to be borne by the customers while the Utility creates a new revenue stream collecting and selling the customers personal data collected by the meter, a revenue projected to exceed the electricity revenue.

It makes one wonder, is in fact the OCC representing the Utilities and regulating the people when they should be regulating the Utilities and representing the people?

Please attend the Oklahoma Corporation Commission "Hearing On The Merits" (to impose a penalty or tax upon those refusing the "Smart Meter Offer"). Numbers count whether you give "public comment" or fill the court with your presence.

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, 59, was stabbed to death Sunday night.

The fatal attack took place at a Braum's Ice Cream store in northwest Oklahoma City, according to news reports. Christian Costello, the commissioner's son, was arrested.

I join my fellow Oklahomans in mourning the loss of Commissioner Costello. He was an outstanding public servant, admired for improving workplace safety while working with Oklahoma employers as a collaborator, not an adversary. Under his leadership, it became easier for Oklahomans to deal with the Labor Department, as he improved online access to department functions, which made it possible to cut department costs without sacrificing service.

Costello set himself apart by refusing to take campaign contributions from lobbyists, and in 2012, he called attention to the lobbyist effort to curry favor with new Republican officials at the State Capitol, noting the massive shift in contributions by the Oklahoma Public Employees Association -- from 97% to Democrat candidates in 2004 to 64% to Republican candidates in 2010. He reminded his fellow Republican officials that they had taken the legislature despite a tsunami of lobbyist cash supporting their opponents.

Beyond his public service, we remember Mark Costello's sense of whimsy -- campaign ads that spoofed Donovan's psychedelic 1960s tune "Mellow Yellow" ("Vote for Mark Costello"), inviting New York City mayoral candidate Jimmy McMillan (of "The Rent Is Too Damn High" party) to sign autographs at Costello's booth at the 2012 Oklahoma Republican Convention.

May God comfort his family and friends, and may he rest in peace.


Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs pays tribute:

It is with great sorrow that we learned of the death of Labor Commissioner Mark Costello. Mark was a longtime friend to the staff, board and members of OCPA. While our prayers and deepest sympathy are concentrated on his family during this unthinkable time, we remember the life of not just a great public servant but also a great man.

Mark was everywhere. If someone was trying to make their community better, get involved in the political process, or host a group committed to freedom, Mark was there, fully engaged in mind, body, and spirit. This loss will be felt by all Oklahomans in the days, weeks, and years to come.

We are grateful to have known and been led by Mark Costello and remember him most for his keen sense of and commitment to True North.

A statement from the Costello family:

There are no words to express the shock and sadness that our family has experienced the last number of hours. The outpouring of emotion and support our family feels is tremendous.

Our son, Christian Costello, has experienced many difficulties over the past several years. Christian, like thousands of Oklahomans, struggles with a mental health disease and like many families we did our best to support him. Mark was committed to being there for his son and provided whatever help he could as a father.

We ask for your prayers and support as our family tries to cope with and understand this life-changing tragedy.

Mark loved to brag about his kids and their successes, but like many in the public eye, he also viewed his family life as personal.

We ask that you respect our family's privacy as we work through this very difficult time and please understand that our family will struggle with this for years to come as we try and find answers.

Here's one of Costello's 2010 radio ads:

During the 2010 campaign, Costello spoke briefly at a voter education rally in Muskogee, talking about his early working life and how Barack Obama "inspired" him to get into politics. He also deals graciously with a correction from the audience:

In February 2013, Mark Costello spoke to the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee about reforms at the Labor Department:

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Politics category from August 2015.

Oklahoma Politics: April 2015 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Politics: November 2015 is the next archive.

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