To the Editor:

Re: Heights officials demand electricity refund (Aug. 17 KDH)

I want to thank (Herald reporter) Brian Bradley for informing us that Oncor and Direct Energy overbilled the city of Harker Heights about $212,000 for electricity. It did not come as a surprise to me that they were actually caught red-handed as they double metered the library’s electricity from July 2008 to June 2013, according to city documents.

I remember going home for lunch one day to find a strange man walking toward my home.

When I asked what he wanted, he stated he was there to put a new meter on my home. I replied that it would have been nice if Oncor had informed me about it.

I urged the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to request that Oncor notify people in a timely fashion. (Oncor placed a billboard on I-35 to warn Harker Heights residents of the coming meters, but they did not warn city of Killeen residents.)

I took petitions with hundreds of signatures to the Texas PUC. The signatures were of Killeen citizens who had outrageous electric bills after the Oncor smart meters were installed.

One elderly woman lived in a trailer and had a monthly electric bill of over $1,000 after installation of the Oncor smart meter. (An electrician who serviced my home told me his electric bill was only $38.) She was in tears as she asked for relief at an Oncor public hearing event.

Citizens organized a march around the Oncor building in downtown Killeen. We wore red, and carried signs that spelled RED for Realistic Electricity Demands. A gentleman emerged from the Oncor building, and asked us if we were marching to protest the smart meters. We stated that we were not protesting the smart meters, just the outrageously large bills we received following the installation of the smart meters.

I learned that hundreds of Killeen citizens appealed to the city of Killeen for relief after their electricity bills went up following the installation of the smart meters on their houses. I also learned that the City Council gave Oncor a contractual raise using city taxpayers’ money during the smart meter installation.

As Harker Heights fights with Oncor to get its money refunded, I am wondering how many of us will get our money back, as it was obvious we were overcharged. Oncor put the blame on deregulation by the electricity providers. Now, I am not so sure that is the complete truth.

Dr. Claudia L. Brown, Ph.D.

Former Killeen City Council member


(6) comments


The irony is rich, several people blame gubment for the problem.

Gubment is the problem IF YOU believe YOU yourself are the problem.

After years of corporate propaganda people actually believe the government is something separate, something apart from them that pursues policies that are always against the people.

The pathetic truth is had people voted for representatives who actually care about the interests of the people then we would have had legislatures who made sure we were protected from abuse of the powers utility companies have over all of us.

Instead we keep voting in these people who declare their intention is to get gubment off the people's backs, but instead make government powerless to protect the people as they pass laws to protect the corporate interests from government regulation which is how the government protects the people.

If people who are complaining about this travesty want to find out who is to blame, based on their comments, I'd say LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

It's you who have kept voting for representatives who keep passing laws to take your money and put in the pockets of corporations.

It's you who keeps believing the people you elect who then say it's gubment's fault.


Get a clue people. If gubment is the problem, then the politicians we keep voting into office are the problem.


What or who is gubment?


August 26, 2013

I think Dr. Claudia L. Brown, Ph.D. For writing this column and just commenting on how vulnerable we all are when it comes to something like this. We all 'object' but do nothing because we don't know what our rights are and where we stand in that regard.

And I was not amazed that the city of City Council granted Oncor a contractual raise using city tax payers money during the smart meter installation.

Oncor put the blame on deregulation by the electricity providers. Now, I am not so sure that is the complete truth. As the only 'wires company' that exists, I personally believe that this is not the case.

I've nothing else to say at this time.


I doubt very much if the 10's of thousands of jobs talked of in the white house release, were created either. Even though the tax payers were forced to invest billions into the companies.


Can consumers ever win when our politicians are in bed with businesses?

Never vote for incumbents- they'll all the same no matter their party affiliation.


I agree with Dr. Brown in that, if the consumer also was docked money during this confusion of who was suppose to pay what concerning the smart meters, a problem which was caused by Oncor.
Then of course, the consumer, down to each and everyone, is owed a refund (if one is due) from the ones responsible for any over payment.

I believe the general public was led astray when these smart meters were inserted onto the public's property. A promise of only good could come from the use of them but as so many other things have been told to the public, that was going to be a gift from the gods, hasn't worked out that way.
And the tax paying public are the ones who have had to suffer, money wise..


The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 27, 2009
President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment to Spur Transition to Smart Energy Grid
Applicants say investments will create tens of thousands of jobs, save energy and empower consumers to cut their electric bills

ARCADIA, FLORIDA – Speaking at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, President Barack Obama today announced the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history, funding a broad range of technologies that will spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system. The end result will promote energy-saving choices for consumers, increase efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

The $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8 billion. Applicants state that the projects will create tens of thousands of jobs, and consumers in 49 states will benefit from these investments in a stronger, more reliable grid. Full listings of the grant awards by category and state are available HERE and HERE. A map of the awards is available HERE.

An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030. That would mean a savings of $20.4 billion for businesses and consumers around the country, and $1.6 billion for Florida alone -- or $56 in utility savings for every man, woman and child in Florida.

One-hundred private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners received awards today, including FPL which will use its $200 million in funding to install 2.6 million smart meters and other technology that will cut energy costs for its customers. In the coming days, Cabinet Members and other Administration officials will fan out to awardee sites across the country to discuss how this investment will create jobs, improve the reliability and efficiency of the electrical grid, and help bring clean energy sources from high-production states to those with less renewable generating capacity. The awards announced today represent the largest group of Recovery Act awards ever made in a single day and the largest batch of Recovery Act clean energy grant awards to-date.

Today’s announcement includes:

•Empowering Consumers to Save Energy and Cut Utility Bills -- $1 billion. These investments will create the infrastructure and expand access to smart meters and customer systems so that consumers will be able to access dynamic pricing information and have the ability to save money by programming smart appliances and equipment to run when rates are lowest. This will help reduce energy bills for everyone by helping drive down “peak demand” and limiting the need for “stand-by” power plants – the most expensive power generation there is.
•Making Electricity Distribution and Transmission More Efficient -- $400 million. The Administration is funding several grid modernization projects across the country that will significantly reduce the amount of power that is wasted from the time it is produced at a power plant to the time it gets to your house. By deploying digital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, these awards will increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system, and will help link up renewable energy resources with the electric grid. This will make it easier for a wind farm in Montana to instantaneously pick up the slack when the wind stops blowing in Missouri or a cloud rolls over a solar array in Arizona.
•Integrating and Crosscutting Across Different “Smart” Components of a Smart Grid -- $2 billion. Much like electronic banking, the Smart Grid is not the sum total of its components but how those components work together. The Administration is funding a range of projects that will incorporate these various components into one system or cut across various project areas – including smart meters, smart thermostats and appliances, syncrophasors, automated substations, plug in hybrid electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, etc.
•Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry -- $25 million. These investments will help expand our manufacturing base of companies that can produce the smart meters, smart appliances, synchrophasors, smart transformers, and other components for smart grid systems in the United States and around the world – representing a significant and growing export opportunity for our country and new jobs for American workers..

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