Archive for the ‘MLGW’ Category
I was at the recent Thursday night meeting on smart meters. Regardless of what the CA wrote the meeting was very informative. I am a graduate electrical engineer and a former chairman of the MLGW board. I respect the job that the MLGW does and Jerry Collins, Chris Bieber and the employees of the MLGW are good people.
However the union and the public delivered facts that are indisputable. Here are the really important points.
- There is no national construction standard for smart meters. This is still evolving and will not be prepared for some years from now. The meters we buy now will probably not comply.
- These meters have a very simple computer board that could be easily hacked and made to run slower or faster or introduce viruses into the system. We already know how vulnerable our national energy system is to hacking.
- The City of Memphis is broke and there is no benefit for spending some $215 million dollars ++ and all the extra expense for the collection software and hardware. “MLGW places the cost of smart meters in Shelby County at $215 million,” Burton said. The Memphis activist pointed to the example of Chattanooga, which has 100% smart meter compliance. “The cost there was estimated to be $226 million. They have 170,000 customers. But what they need in Chattanooga now is $552 million. When you think that MLGW has more than a million customers, you can see that $215 million won’t cover it.
- The potential saving in meter readers could be achieved by a system of average billings for the great majority of customers who pay their bills on time. The MLGW does this now with average billings for some customers until an actual reading can be made. This average billing program could cut meters readings in half. However as pointed out in the Thursday meetings, the meter readers are the eyes and ears of the MLGW to prevent utility theft and abuse of equipment.
June 5, 2013
Come to the Town Hall on Thursday June 6 at the main Public Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. at 6 PM. We have to STAND UP and speak out!
My name is Joe Saino. My brother and I ran a manufacturing business here for over 40 years. I am a graduate electrical engineer and I was on the board of the MLGW for 6 years. I respect President Jerry Collins and Chris Bieber and the employees of the MLGW. They do a good job of delivering electricity, gas and water.
However they are a pawn in a bigger game and the name of that game is CONTROL. It is control of your lives through the control of your utilities and this is what has to be stopped.
MLGW will not have ultimate control of your use of electricity, gas and water. Those decisions will come from the Washington DC controllers through the US Department of Energy and a smart meter is the first step. Regardless of what the MLGW promises, and I (more…)
May 13, 2013
Health care costs at the City of Memphis, Shelby County and MLGW are very expensive. Shelby County has been fiscally responsible in the past and their situation is much better than the City of Memphis. MLGW’s health care benefits are much richer and more expensive but they have the income from your utility bills to pay the tab. The City of Memphis is the worst. Active employees’ and retirees’ share of the cost is not fully funded to the 30% level as they are supposed to be. Also the City’s OPEB fund for retiree health care is an empty bucket to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars unfunded liability.
May 6, 2013
The question is not should we buy 60,000 smart meters. The real question is should we buy any smart meters.
There is one benefit of smart meters that the MLGW claims that is true and that is less meter readers. Regardless of what the MLGW says, The Federal government through TVA will be calling the shots and it is about control and your loss of freedoms. Nationally, smart meters have delivered unemployed meter readers and a deluge of meter data that utilities have no idea what to do with. They delivered little or nothing of value to the consumer. The smart meter also delivered a public increasingly soured on the smart grid, which came to be perceived as a “bait-and-switch” by industry and politicians.
It is a question of Trust. Do you trust the MLGW, the City Council, the Tennessee State Government, the TVA and finally the National (more…)
May 2, 2013
Atlanta (the core city) is much like Memphis. (The metro area of Atlanta is split up into four counties and has a much larger population than the Memphis metro area.)
Still the comparison is interesting. Atlanta has a core population of 432,000 and Memphis has a population of 652,000. Both core city populations have fallen over the last ten years. Atlanta has 6647 city employees (2224 police, 1021 fire). Memphis has 7568 employees (3028 police and 1862 fire).
Atlanta made some changes to their pension system. Following the bullet points are the actual words from their most recent CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report). The most important points are:
- In 2001 they put new city employees (other than fire and police) on a defined contribution plan.
- Then in 2011, all current employees in the traditional defined benefit plans had to contribute an extra 5 % (up to 12 or 13% of salary) to keep their promised benefits.
- There is a new defined contribution plan for fire and police and certain employees below grade 19 for employees hired after September 1, 2011 that is quite interesting. There is to be a cap on City contributions and other cost sharing provisions. See below.
- All in all, these are some major changes. It is significant that Atlanta has finally recognized that defined benefit plans are no longer supportable and changes must be made. Employees must take the same market chances that private sector employees take. In other words your future retirement depends on the success of business and capitalism, not government.
April 17, 2013
The MLGW will vote tomorrow on smart meters. If it passes, it will then go to the City Council.
There is a lot to like in the technology of smart meters. The collection of billing data from the smart meter system can save money by not requiring meter readers. It also can give a better picture of the system and can be helpful in restoring outages and helping the overall stability of the system.
However what I do not like about the future of the system is the following.
1) Regardless of what MLGW says, MLGW will not control the eventual use of smart meters. This will come down from the Federal Government through TVA and the State of Tennessee. What the Federal government wants is to control your use of electricity, gas and water in the name of global warming. They will do this with time of day rates. They have already regulated the use of coal and (more…)
April 4, 2013
There is a proposal to buy 60,000 so called smart meters at the MLGW. This started out to be 6000 meters but got bumped up to 60,000. I originally thought they were all electric meters but I found out that they are divided into 20,000 electric, 20,000 gas and 20,000 water meters.
Whoa! Let’s back up and rethink this expensive and experimental purchase. First let’s look at the purposes or stated purposes of smart meters.
April 1, 2013
On April Fool’s day it is hard to believe anything that someone tells you. Well here is one that you can believe or not but read the facts.
I attended a City of Memphis pension board meeting last Thursday at City Hall. I have attached the agenda for that meeting. There were two people on the agenda that decided to take a reduced service retirement in a lump sum amount rather than in a semi monthly pension. I asked why they would do this and was told that there are a number of reasons. If a person is in very bad health, that could be one reason.
The amounts of these lump sums were $56,503.64 and $92,330.61. I decided to research the pension ordinance and found another possible reason. According to the pension rules, the following is the schedule of lump sum distributions.
March 11, 2013
Since I published two articles about the 60,000 smart meters that are proposed to be purchased in Memphis, I have gotten a lot of response, both pro and con, mostly con.
I try to be fair and balanced and look at the facts of each and every issue. I want the truth. However the truth of the smart meter issue is often veiled in language that hides the true intent and purpose of the action.
Here is one of the things MLGW says about smart meters.
Smart meters create jobs, with customer utility bill savings turned into increased discretionary spending in the community, which results in higher employment. Estimates based on demonstration results show potential up to $29.8 million, which equals 458 new jobs.
March 5, 2013
In looking at how to save money on what we pay our public employees, there are a number of things that come to mind. Salaries and benefits (vacations, sick days, personal days etc) and pensions compared to private sector comparable jobs. There are millions of dollars to be saved here and still maintain fairness with the private sector. Hopefully Mayor Wharton’s total financial review will address these items in the upcoming budget season.
However there are two things that need special consideration concerning the City of Memphis, the MLGW, Shelby County and the school system and any other public taxpayer financed subsidiary in Shelby County.
One is the line of duty disability system at the City of Memphis. I was the first one to notice that the line of duty disability rate of approval at the City of Memphis was 10 times higher than Shelby County government or the MLGW. I asked why.