OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

December 23, 2011

Spinning like a Top – Idaho Times-News Story on Smart Meter Battle

The Idaho Times-News story on the Smart Meter installations in Twin Falls Idaho is full of so much spin one wonders why it considers itself a news service at all.

The Idaho Central News Agency would be more appropriate.

Completely ignoring all the controversy about the spy-meters in general, and downplaying local opposition, the paper is reporting only  happy news about the installation of the spy-meters.

“Idaho Power Co. has finished installing close to 500,000 smart meters across its territory in Idaho and Oregon, finishing a three-year project intended to increase energy efficiency.

The new meters come with a digital display to make it easier for customers to see how much electricity they use. Company officials also say smart meters provide more-precise billing and shorten repair time on power outages.”

This ignores the real intent of the Smart Meters which is to move to time of use metering and billing to remotely monitor and control peoples’ access to and use of energy.

Reporter Kimberlee Kruesi goes on to quote an Idaho Power Co., spokesperson: “Davis is the company’s only customer who resisted the meters to the extent that local authorities became involved, said Idaho Power spokeswoman Lynette Berriochoa.”
At least two Twin Falls residents objected to the installation of the Smart Meters on their homes, and both had armed law enforcement show up with the Idaho Power installers.  (See the prior two OK-SAFE posts on this issue for details.)
The Idaho Power Co. rep went on to say, “We’ve gotten a positive response from our customers,” she said. “For the most part, people love (the meters).”
Kind of like how the Korean Central News  Agency reports the reaction to the death of their “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il.
The statements attributed to Vicky Davis in the Kruesi article are imaginary.  Davis was said to have concerns about the Smart Meters and “hacking,” but as she reports, “I never said that.”
What Davis is objecting to is the dual-use technology incorporated in the Smart Meters – they are both a surveillance tool and a reporting tool. (See her letter to the editor at the bottom of this post.)
See diagram below for the Smart Meter wiring:
PLCC (Power Line Carrier Communication) diagram from Engineers Garage.

This site goes on to explain that Smart Meters send a report hourly, not 4 times a day as Idaho Power Co. is quoted as saying.

How PLCC technology is used in meter reading?

Automatic Meter Reading using PLCC technology is quite useful as it saves a lot of human efforts and also makes the whole system more efficient. The automatic meter reading system consists of three components, namely, Multifunction Node (MFN), Concentrator & Communication Node (CCN) and Operation & Management System (OMS). Different components and their inter-connections are shown in the figure.

“MFN is a unit installed in household meters, either incorporated in the meter itself or externally connected to it. Its function is to take reading of the meter on an hourly basis and store it in a memory chip. CNN is another part which manages all MFNs within a particular area and collects meter readings from all MFNs. It is generally installed on substations and needs a computer. The computer is installed with Operation and Management System (OMS) which further manages all the data and meter readings from CNNs.”

There are real reasons to object to the installation of these spying Smart Meters and concerns are growing daily.

Too bad the local Idaho paper isn’t interested in doing real investigative journalism and reporting the truth about what is going on in Idaho with Idaho Power Co. and the Smart Meters.

Vicky Davis Letter to the Editor in response the lack of reporting on the Smart Meter issue:


I spent somewhere between 10-15 minutes on the phone with your reporter, Ms. Kruesi explaining the issues with the Smart Meters.  In her re-written Idaho Power press release that included the local twist that mentioned me, she not only got the issue wrong, she made up a quote.  Please inform her that when she quotes someone, she must use their exact words and not her own contrived interpretation of what is said.

My issue with the Smart Meters is that they don’t just record usage of electricity.  The Smart Meter is a two-way communications device that records and reports second by second power usage within your home.  The communications signal rides on the AC current, which means that it travels throughout the circuit in your home.  Devices – appliances, lighting, etc. that have installed circuit boards will be controllable remotely.    Even if you haven’t bought any new appliances lately, the data collected on your personal habits as recorded, transmitted and stored in a database can be analyzed to discern your patterns of activity and habits.  This data once collected can be sold and used for marketing and other purposes.  Data is a valuable commodity and the data collected by the Smart Meters will no doubt become a profit center for Idaho Power.

The Smart Meter is a communications, data collection and control device.  Idaho Power is deceiving the public by pretending that “meter” is the same as “Smart Meter”. I was in the process of challenging their demand to be able to install such a device on my premises when they inappropriately called law enforcement to force the installation under the color of law.  The Times-News does a disservice to the community and discredits itself by publishing Idaho Power happy talk and then inaccurately reports opposition.

December 17, 2011

Media Blackout on Idaho Power Smart Meter Incidents Involving Guns

Seems like Idaho Power can squash any evidence about their use of force in installing those unwanted spy-meters (Smart Meters) on folks’ homes in Idaho.  The local media has not reported a word about the resistance to the installation of these meters in Idaho.

A search for articles on Smart Meters on the The Twin Falls Times-News (MagicValley.com) website results in mostly letters to the editor and a few spin stories about smarter this or that, and the federal grants to fund the smart grid.

Nothing about Idaho Power bringing armed law enforcement with them to force the installation of Smart Meters on those homes whose owners did not want them.

Vicky Davis, the subject of an OK-SAFE post dated 12/14/11, entitled Smart Meter Battle Escalating – Idaho Power Brings Guns to the Battle, was contacted by a reporter from the Times-News and interviewed for 15 minutes about the Idaho Power incident.

After several days there is no story in the paper – anywhere.

Vicky has written about this media black out here – the beginning of the article is below:

No News is Suppressed News, by Vicky Davis

“After OK-SAFE wrote an article titled, Smart Meter Battle Escalating – Idaho Power Brings Guns to the Fight, I sent a link to it out to my email list.  Somebody must have forwarded a link to the article to the Times-News newspaper in Twin Falls because a reporter called and asked me for an interview.  We spent probably 15 minutes or so on the phone talking about the issue of the Smart Meter, the Smart Grid and my objections to it.  We also talked about the implications of it for the future and the fact that most people have no understanding of that.  They only understand the happy talk about energy efficiency.  The reporter said she was going to talk to the Editor to see if she could write the story.  That was several days ago but there has been no story so apparently, the Editor squashed it.

I searched the online edition of Times-News for articles on Smart Meters and found only this cheerleading article titled: Smarter homes in Magic Valley as energy meter overhaul reaches south-central Idaho .  Notice the quote from Idaho Power’s representative Mark Heintzelman:

“We would never force someone to use a different pay system, but late down the road we want to give the option for customers to choose to either pay for time of use or continue using the current tiered system in place now,” Heintzelman said.

Of course Idaho Power would NEVER force anyone.   They would just ask their buddies at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to give them an Order to implement time of day pricing because the objective of the entire Smart Grid System is to control usage of electricity under the guise of conserving natural resources.  Idaho Power has primarily hydroelectric but truth doesn’t matter.  There is an agenda and they are moving forward with it up to and including bringing badges and guns to granny’s house in a show of force to prove that she can’t get away with Just Saying No.

I stopped by the Sheriff’s office today to make an appointment to talk to him about Idaho Power’s use of armed reinforcements.  I didn’t get to talk to the Sheriff.  I guess he’s too important to be bothered with a trivial issue of misuse of police power.  I spoke with a lieutenant.   He told me that they are at Idaho Power’s beck and call.  Anytime Idaho Power calls for armed escort, the Sheriff’s office accommodates with no questions asked and no paperwork filed. ”

The rest of Vicky Davis’ article is here.

December 14, 2011

Smart Meter Battle Escalating – Idaho Power Brings Guns to the Fight

In the ongoing battle against the seriously flawed Smart Meter program (which is not mandatory, by the way, despite what your utility company may be telling you), Idaho Power has shown just how far they’ll go  to get their spy meters installed on homes in Idaho.

They’ll bring guns to the fight.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011 Idaho Power showed up at Vicky Davis’ Twin  Falls home with declaratory order and a Deputy Sheriff  from Twin Falls County, to forceably remove the analog meter and replace it with a Smart Meter.

Sheriff Tom Carter“Upon taking office, I knew one of the things I wanted to emphasize was our service to the community in a capacity that goes beyond police work.”

Davis, an independent researcher and long-time resident of Idaho, has been resisting the installation of the Smart Meter since last year, knowing that their installation was not mandated, and that technology that makes the digital meter works is dual use – serving both as a surveillance device and a reporting system.

(See the earlier OK-SAFE post on the Smart Grid here.)

Another Twin falls resident, Bonnie Menthe, had a similar incident at her home.  She openly opposed the installation of the Smart Meter on her home, but Idaho Power installed the new meter while she was away.  A neighbor watching her home challenged the Idaho Power company representative when he showed up at the Menthe home accompanied by an officer from the Twin Falls city police.

The representative told the neighbor nothing was going on and proceeded with the installation. The city police officer declined to answer the woman’s questions.

Davis received written notification of the forced installation a few days earlier.  Menthe states she received no such written notice.

“Nothing like that was given to me, not stuck in my door.  I wasn’t home and they clearly knew that I didn’t want one. I have a notice posted on my meter stating my objection to the smart meter being installed.”  Menthe went on to say, “I have a six foot fence, and the meter is on the side of my house, with a metal bar to prevent the door swinging opened.  My neighbor says they (Idaho Power) had a step-stool like thing and climbed over the fence on that.”

Below is a reverse order timeline of events leading up to the installation of the Smart Meter on Vicky’s home.  She has also devoted a new webpage on her website Channeling Reality (www.channelingreality.com) called Smart Meter Drama.

From Vicky Davis-

12-13-11 “Idaho Power went to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to get a declaratory order to replace my analog meter with a Smart Meter.  They were accompanied by a Deputy Sheriff of Twin Falls County to enforce the order.
I’ll be on Deanna Spingola’s radio talk show on RBN on Thursday and Friday (12/15 and 12/16) of this week to talk about the Smart Meters and my research into energy legislation and the means by which America’s energy will be choked off in the name of efficiency.  Technology is dual use.   It’s a weapon as well as a tool.   It all depends on who is using it and for what purpose.
Deanna’s program is on from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm central time.
In some places you can listen live on the radio but for most of us, we have to listen on the internet. Listen live links can be found here:
Republic Broadcasting
Call in number for the program is 800-313-9443
12/6/11 – Vicky’s Response  to Idaho Power
December 6, 2011
Idaho Power
Dear Mr. Rick Astley,
On December 3, 2011, I received two duplicate letters from Mr. Rick Astley with Mr. Bell and Ms. Nordstrom listed as recipients of carbon copies. I intend to hand deliver this response letter to Mr. Chris Bell at the Idaho Power office in Twin Falls with the expectation that it will be faxed to the recipients who are located in Boise. I will however, mail a copy to Mr. Astley and Ms. Nordstrom via regular mail.
This letter is the response to Mr. Astley’s letter dated December 1, 2011 concerning my refusal to allow an Idaho Power employee/contractor access to my property to replace my current power meter with an AMI Smart Meter. I have never refused to allow the Idaho Power meter reader access to the property to read my meter nor have I ever refused access to any other Idaho Power employee/representative who made a request for access for any purpose other than for exchange of the meter. It was misleading to imply otherwise.
As I made clear in conversations with the Tru-Check contractor and Idaho Power Customer Service Representatives both verbally and in writing, I do not want a smart meter installed. Smart Meter technology – regardless of the method of communications, is a surveillance, detection, monitoring, data collection, and communications and control device. Those capabilities are outside the scope of a public utility chartered to provide electric service. If your charter has been changed to Idaho de-Power and Spy, then please advise me of the law that requires me to submit so that I can verify it with the Sheriff’s office and my attorney.
Rest of letter here.
12/1/11 – Letter from Idaho Power to Vicky Davis
Dear Ms. Vicky Davis,
As previously explained in my letter to you dated 9/19/2011 Idaho Power must replace existing meters with Advanced Metering Infrastructure pursuant to Idaho Public Utilities Commission Order Nos. 29362, 30102, and 30726. Once installed, this infrastructure will enable Idaho Power to provide enhanced customer services and reduce its operating expenses to keep customer rates as low as possible.
Idaho Power personnel or its exchange contractor, Tru-Check, recently attempted to exchange the meter at *****, Twin Falls, ID on 8/31/2011; however, you refused the Company access to its meter. Under the terms of service outlined in Utility Customer Relations Rule 302.05 (IDAPA, a utility may terminate service to a customer that denied or willfully prevented the utility’s access to the meter.” Although Idaho Power does not wish to terminate your electric service or take legal action against you, Idaho Power cannot ignore the lawful order of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to exchange the meter. Idaho Power anticipates it will need only five minutes to exchange the meter and that your power will be interrupted for just a few minutes at most. You need not be present at the time the exchange occurs.
Rest of letter here.

Vicky’s article on this subject is entitled The Heart of Darkness in the Power of Light and is available on her research website Channeling Reality here.

People in Oklahoma are fighting the installation of the Smart Meters as well.  We’ll post more on the Oklahoma resistance effort later.

December 8, 2011

One Weird Meeting on Health Insurance Exchanges at the Capitol – Update and Correction!

12-9-11 Update and Correction  to this post –

We received a call today from Kate Richey of the OK Policy Institute, offering to correct some of the information in the post below, for which we are grateful.  Prior to this morning, information on who called this meeting was not exactly forthcoming.

Item #1- The OK Policy Institute did not sponsor this meeting on Health Insurance Exchanges.  Kate Richey was invited to speak by Claudia Kamas of Kamas Consulting, and Sandy Ruble of Rx Net,. (Kamas and Ruble are both registered lobbyists in Oklahoma).  According to Richey, the invitation to the meeting went out to several lists, not just the legislative assistants.  The purpose of the meeting was informational for those who missed the prior health care meetings.

Item #2 – Richey clarified her statement about who would run the exchanges to mean within the context of Medicaid expansion of coverage. The quotation marks have been removed, per her clarification.

Item#3 – We agreed to disagree on the statement that it doesn’t matter who establishes the insurance exchange or who governs it – either way it will be operating according to federal requirements.

OK-SAFE, Inc. 12/8/11 –

Off the record – it doesn’t matter who establishes the exchange or governs it – it will be run according to federal requirements. (In the context of Medicaid expansion of coverage, per Richey’s call  12/9/11)

“Utah is working to make their state compliant with the federal law.”

“Those are the only two choices available now – a state-run exchange, or a partnership with federal government.” Regarding the interim study just finished – there is one basic fact – if Oklahoma establishes a state-run exchange, it has to be basically compliant with the feds.  “If we do one poorly, we will end up with a federally facilitated exchange anyway.”   – Kate Richey, OK Policy Institute


For some reason that is still unclear, the progressive OK Policy Institute sponsored Claudia Kamas of Kamas Consulting, and Sandra Ruble of Rx Net, invited a member of the OK Policy Institute to speak at a meeting this morning on Health Insurance Exchanges in room 419-C at the Oklahoma State Capitol.   They invited only the legislative assistants. The invitations, according to Richey on 12/9/11, went out to several lists, not just legislative assistants. (OK-SAFE Note:  Sen. Stanislawski’s office did not know of this meeting until a day or so before the event.)

Both Kamas and Ruble are registered lobbyists in Oklahoma.

From the online view of the meeting, however, it looked like several of the attendees were not legislative assistants.  Lobbyists?

Not Part of the Joint Committee

This meeting was not part of the Joint Legislative Committee meetings on Federal Health Care Reform Law held earlier, and which concluded on November 15, 2011.

The speaker was Kate Richey, hired by the OK Policy Institute in January 2011, who gave a somewhat rambling presentation on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the requirements for the Insurance Exchanges.

Blame the Tea Party!

When it came to the discussion of the federal timelines, and the grants, a couple of men attendees complained about  “the Tea Party” causing the establishment grant money to be rejected.  (One can only assume they meant the Early Innovator Grant, rejected by the Governor in March of 2011, after first accepting it.)

(The term “Tea Party” is thrown out there randomly by people who are generally unfamiliar with the conservative grassroots efforts in this state.  It’s another way of saying,  “There are organizations and groups out there I know nothing about so I’ll just call all of them Tea Partiers.” )

The questioner would be more accurate if he meant the 65% of Oklahomans who rejected the implementation of “Obama Care” in this state caused the rejection of the establishment grant – then he’d be right.

A few of the notes from Richey presentation, 12/8/11 –

  • Question from attendee on the governance of exchange.
  • Richey – No opinion on which form is best.  Wait until the state moves forward with legislation.  Each model has their pros and cons.  “We need to take action and move forward.”
  • On Feb. 29, 2011 the federal government issued some answer in the form of Q & A on State Exchanges.  Is OK ready to run an exchange by Jan. 2013?  The exchanges have to launch by 2014, so has to be “beta ready” by Oct. 2013.
  • Regarding states not being ready – “the feds are willing to meet you where you are and walk with you through the exchange.  If we turn down establishment grants, there is money still out there.  If we miss the deadlines the funds will still be available.
  • Question about grants – Yes, they will be available on a rolling schedule through 2014.
  • Question: Where is the advocate in Oklahoma for the exchanges? Seems like we got derailed by the Tea Party they just didn’t want the state to commit…? 
  • We’re working on the governance structure.
  • Not sure why the money was returned.  Will have to reapply for another establishment grant.
  • Comment from attendee: NAHU (National Association of Health Underwriters) are behind (advocate) it.  The OHCA working groups are active.  We were sad to see those funds return.  The Tea Party blocked it.
  • There were groups there at the beginning, various advocates.
  • Feds will set up exchange if they need to, but they don’t want to run it for long run.  Will eventually turn it back over to the states for most of the functions.  (Except data hub?)
  • Grant agreements come with benchmarks that must be achieved. “Even if we miss the deadlines on these grants the money will still be available until 2014.”  As far as Richey knows no one has applied for a Level 1 or Level 2 grant.  “Even if we move ahead there will be some level of federal involvement.”
  • There is a tentative federal-state partnership plan being developed.  There will be some sharing of some responsibilities.  Feds will regulate, run the hotlines, operate data hub.  It will take more planning, some sort of partnership model.
  • Those are the only two choices available now – a state-run exchanges, or a partnership with federal government.
  • Regarding the Interim study just finished – there is one basic fact – if Oklahoma establishes a state-run exchange, it has to be basically compliant with feds. If we do one poorly we will end up with a federally facilitated exchange anyway.
  • Health care reform requires the electronic health records infrastructure.  A group in NE Oklahoma is working to get the state compliant with the electronic information technology infrastructure.
  • OK’s High Risk Pool will be folded in to the state exchange for their coverage.

For the entire OK-SAFE notes on today’s Health Insurance Exchange meeting, a pdf is available here.

For the real definition of Health Care Reform see this OK-SAFE post

So, Who Gets the Grant Money Now?

The question that is on the table is this – has there been a move to change the State Designated Entity (SDE), overseeing the distribution and use of the federal grant money, from being the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust (the OHIET)?  This Trust is working behind the scenes to implement the information technology provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“Obama Care”) in this state, and has already been instrumental in awarding contracts.

Despite the wishes of the people of Oklahoma.

Richey PPT –

Supposedly, the Kate Richey/OK Policy Institute power point presentation will be available online at some point in time via their website – http://www.okpolicy.org .   As of this writing, it is not yet posted.

In the meantime, keep calling your legislators and tell them “Oklahomans said No to Obama Care in 2010” – and we still mean No!

OK House: 1-800-522-8502

OK Senate: 1-800-865-6490

For contact information for the OK House members, click here.  OK Senate members, click here.

Blackwell: The GOP Caucus Was A Sham, Steele Abused Power of Speaker’s Office – The McCarville Report Online

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — oksafeinc @ 10:13 pm

This from The McCarville Report Online, dated December 8, 2012.

Thursday, December 8, 2012:

Blackwell: GOP Caucus Was A Sham, Steele Abused Power Of Speaker’s Office


Rep. Gus Blackwell says this week’s caucus of House Republicans was a sham and Speaker Kris Steele abused his power.

Blackwell’s allegations, in an email sent and obtained by The McCarville Report Online, are the latest in an on-going series of attacks from some House members dissatisfied with Steele’s leadership.

Steele, in a statement to TMRO, said, “I’ve never been one to dive down in the mud, so I’m certainly not going to start now. What I will say is the vast majority of us know we’re sent here to do a job, so we’re focused on doing that job and doing it well. I’m proud we spent time on policy at our retreat and I’m confident Oklahomans will be glad we did, as well. Beyond that, internal Caucus issues are handled in the Caucus and personnel issues must be handled in accordance to law, so I cannot comment further.”

Here’s Blackwell’s email:

From: Gus Blackwell
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 3:26 PM
To: Republican Legislators
Subject: 2011 OHOR Republican Caucus Retreat

Dear Fellow Republican Legislator,

I do not use the term “caucus member” because, after Tuesday’s meeting, it is apparent our dysfunctional group is anything but a meeting of members of a political party tasked to decide policy.  Obviously, our caucus retreat was not intended to be an opportunity for our caucus to discuss, debate, or decide policy. Instead, our caucus meetings have become carefully orchestrated and planned events, with little or no time for the actual discussion of caucus business.

The 2011 Republican Caucus Retreat in Shawnee stands as an outstanding example of what I am writing in this email. After a first day of tours and dinner, no caucus business was transacted. The second day had time for a breakfast with a political presentation, a 30-minute museum tour and five and one-half hours of other presentations, before staff was asked to leave and we actually began “caucus business.”  Our discussions as a caucus lasted less than 45 minutes out of the over 15 hours of scheduled activity.

Although I had requested to be put on the Caucus agenda over a month earlier, my topic, discussing Speaker Steele’s removal of people from positions of authority, was relegated to the last item on the agenda.  Realizing the lateness of the hour, I requested from Chairman Watson the topic be tabled until the next caucus meeting, so it could be fully vetted.  He informed me, “No, the Speaker wants to address it now.”

What followed was the one of the most absolutely abominable displays of caucus politics I have witnessed in the legislature. After just 10 minutes, while I had the floor and was responding to the Speaker, a motion was entertained to adjourn and quickly half-voted on.”

Read the rest of The McCarville Report Online post here.

December 7, 2011

Class on the U.S. Constitution – Make Reservations Now!

From our friend Kaye Beach at Axxiom for Liberty:

Key Opens Door to U.S. Constitution

Rep. Charles Key

 Oklahoma City, OK – On Saturday, January 14, 2012 Oklahoma’s own Champion of the Constitution, Representative Charles Key, will be hosting Constitutional Scholar Michael Badnarik at the Oklahoma State Capitol, featuring Badnarik’s acclaimed “Introduction to the Constitution” class.

Even if you consider yourself knowledgeable about our founding documents, this eight-hour class will be a life-changing experience.

The class runs from from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm, with a one-hour break for lunch and occasional breaks throughout the day.

Each student will receive an autographed copy of Badnarick’s book Good to be King, used as the text for the class.

Valued at $250 or more, class students may attend for only $150, or 4 ounces of .999 fine silver. This is an incredible bargain for 8 hours of instruction, a $20 hardcover book, and several additional hours of personal interaction with the “Stepfather of the Constitution”.

Oklahoma represents the critical first domino in “Operation Domino Effect”.  Other states are signing on to take the plunge, too!

Michael Badnarik Announces OPERATION DOMINO EFFECT

“On January 14, 2012 I will be teaching my Constitution class on the floor of the State House in Oklahoma City. I would like to teach my class in every state capitol in 2012! With your help we can have unconstitutional laws falling like dominoes.” Read More.

Michael Badnarik

Activists, candidates and elected officials are encouraged to come together to learn more about the meaning and value of our founding documents.

Oklahoma Event Flyer (to download and share)

Please join us!


Oklahoma City Event Details

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012 9AM – 6PM

Place: House Chamber of the Oklahoma State Capitol

Cost: $150.00 per student (or 4 oz of .999 fine silver)

For reservations contact:

“The Constitution has become an old piece of paper. Michael brings it back to life.”

 Read more about Michael Badnarik and how he is “Lighting the fires of Liberty, one heart at a time.” at http://www.constitutionpreservation.org

Hope to see you there!

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