by Angela Chagnon July 6
After Burlington’s special election results revealed that the Burlington Electric Department’s $13.5 million bond request had been approved 1,808 to 1,176, the Burlington Free Press ran a story describing the celebratory mood of the measure’s supporters.
“When news of Burlington’s approval of a smart-grid bond vote reached Church Street on Tuesday night, a gathering of supporters raised glasses, tucked away calculators and eased more comfortably into cafe seats. …. Burlington Electric Department General Manager Barbara Grimes said the victory justified the 108-year-old utility’s first-ever post-bond-vote party. A dozen or so scattered supporters heartily agreed.
Scott Moody, a Burlington Electric board commissioner, kept it simple: “This is a victory for the ratepayers of Burlington.”
Past bond items for BED have been General Obligation Bonds, which require a ⅔ majority vote to pass. This time, BED managed to get a Revenue Bond on the ballot that only required a simple majority vote.
While BED parties it up, some ratepayers in Burlington are disappointed that a project they view as unnecessary is going forward. Even more disappointing were the numbers that showed up at the polls — only 15 percent of BED’s roughly 20,000 customers cast a vote Tuesday.
MJ Farmer, a former electric utility engineer and Burlington resident, expressed her disappointment with the low voter turnout. “This vote will replace all electric meters in Burlington with wireless meters,” she said. “Less than three thousand people voted.”
Farmer does not share Moody’s positive outlook on the outcome of the vote, and says she expects the transition to Smart Meters to be anything but a smooth one.
“I predict problems with installations, much higher installation costs, and much higher utility bills,” she stated. “I think they will soon be known as ‘dumb meters’.”…
I reported a similar response on my post Burlington is Smart??? on June 29th