17 December, 2009 Curious paranoia from my electric company. I just thought this was interesting. I am doing a feasibility study for a business plan and needed my electric provider to answer a simple, basic question. Much more difficult to get a straight answer than I ever dreamed. I have asked my local utility for the number of customers they serve. Period. They sent me an application to be reviewed by the Grand Puba and possibly the whole board of directors for one simple number. What do ya think about that? Here's my first email to them. From: The Right Site Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2009 7:10 PM To: XXXXXXXXXXX Subject: Info please Hi, To whom it may concern; How many commercial and residential customers does XXXXXXXXXXX Co-operative currently service. Thank you, X XXXXXX. Their reply: Dear The Right Site. , Are you asking about the number of services (locations) or number of members that the cooperative serves. If you can let me know why you are asking, it may give me a better idea of what you are looking for. XXXXXXXXXXXX, Assistant Manager XXXXXXXXXXXXX Energy Cooperative Confidentiality Notice: This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, copy, use, disclosure, or distributin is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. My reply: Hi XXXXXXXXXXX., Thanks for your response. I am compiling information for a study that will be published in early 2010. I am a member of the co-operative and would like to know how many meters are read and billed in the entire area that we service. Thank you for your cooperation in providing me with this information. Best, The Right Site Their reply: The Right Site, Attached is policy 71. It is the policy that we use for inspection of records. When you have completed the application, please send to XXXXX X XXXXX, General Manager, XXXXXXXXX Energy Cooperative, P.O. Box XXX, XXXXXXX XX XXXXX. XXXXXXXXXX, Assistant Manager XXXXXXXXX Energy Cooperative Confidentiality Notice: This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, copy, use, disclosure, or distributin is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. Below is the Application: XXXXXXXXX Energy Cooperative Policy #71 Subject: Inspection of Books and Records Objective: To set forth the rights of XXXXXXXXXEnergy Cooperative (XXX) members to inspect the books and records of XXX. Policy: I. Any active member of XXX may in person or through a duly authorized agent or attorney, inspect the books and records of XXX subject only to the following conditions and limitations: A. Such member be acting in good faith. B. The inspection sought be for a purpose directly related to the business of the Cooperative and in the best interests of the Cooperative. C. The books and records sought to be inspected are pertinent to such proper purpose. D. The inspection be at a reasonable time. E. The inspection be based upon written application substantially in the form attached hereto made not less than one week prior to such time of inspection. II. The right of inspection under I above shall extend only to books and records of XXX, in its possession, as defined in Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 185. III. The initial determination of whether a request meets the conditions of I, above, shall be the responsibility of the Manager of XXX. In case of doubt the Manager may refer such determination to the XXX Board of Directors and in the event of an adverse initial determination by the Manager, the applicant may appeal such initial determination to the Board of Directors. In all cases any determination by the Board of Directors shall be final subject to any ruling or order of court having jurisdiction. IV. The following books and records of XXX shall not be open to inspection of any member of the Cooperative except by specific authorization of the XXX Board of Directors: A. Personnel actions such as promotions, demotions, disciplinary matters and compensation of individual employees by name (but excepting compensation of employees by classification, provided no individual’s compensation is discernible from that information). B. Individual member information such as billing data, communications and other information identified by member name. C. Price or bid quotation for equipment, material and similar prior to acceptance. D. Confidential interoffice memorandum or communications prior to acceptance by management as part of management policy. E. Material or communication possibly libelous in nature. F. Trade secrets and like information where disclosure might cause competitive disadvantage to XXX. V. Interpretations of the foregoing principles and particularly the determination of good faith and proper purpose shall be those established by the weight of court decisions in connection with common law and statutory rights of shareholders of business corporations and members of cooperatives to inspect the books and records of the enterprises in which they have an ownership interest, including that for the purpose of inspection to be a proper one; such purpose be one to protect the financial interest of the individual applicant in the Cooperative and not one merely to satisfy curiosity, promote some political or social goal, or non-cooperative commercial interest of another person or enterprise. VI. An active member of XXX may make notes of or copies of such records on request provided the applicant pays the reasonable cost thereof, including employee time, duplicating materials and use of duplicating equipment and upon advance deposit of an amount estimated to cover such work. Responsibility: General Manager and Board of Directors Reconfirmed: July 28, 1983 Reconfirmed: June 29, 1987 Reconfirmed: July 30, 1990 Reconfirmed: March 29, 1993 Revised: June 1996 Revised: April 27, 1998 Reconfirmed: June 1, 1999 Revised: August 28, 2000 Reconfirmed: October 25, 2004 Reconfirmed: June 25, 2007 Application to Inspect Books and Records of XXXXXXXXX Energy Cooperative The undersigned member of XXXXXXXXX Energy Cooperative (XXX) as applicant does hereby make application to inspect certain books and records of XXX and in support thereof does hereby represent and state that: 1. Applicant is a member of XXX and has been such member since _________________. 2. Applicant is acting in good faith in seeking such inspection solely for the following purpose: 3. The books and records of XXX sought to be inspected are pertinent to the purpose set forth under 2 above and consist of the following: 4. Applicant agrees that if this application is granted such inspection shall be for the sole use of applicant, or of other members similarly situated, and for the use of no other person, or organization, and for no other purpose than the one stated above. 5. The applicant hereby appoints as his (or her) authorized attorney or agent to make, or assist applicant in making such inspection. Dated this day of , _______. _____________________________________ Applicant _____________________________________ Address **** State of __________________________) County of ________________________) ___________________________________ being first duly sworn on oath, deposes and says that (s)he is the applicant above named and has read the foregoing application and knows the contents thereof and that the statements made therein are true and made for the sole purpose therein stated. Subscribed and sworn to before me this _____ day of __________________ , _________ Notary Public _________________________________ My Commission expires _____________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ My Reply: Hi XXXXX, Re: my previous email concerning a small information request. I just wanted the numbers. Actually just one number. Just the number of people and businesses that have an electric meter. Period. Now it sounds like I need a freedom of information act request or a subpoena or warrant just to find out how many customers my public utility-electric company has. I just wanted the raw number. Nothing fancy. No names. Just one number. I am stunned at the hoops one must go through to get a simple answer here. I have to tell you that if this is in fact the case, it sounds like you and or XXXXXXXXX Co-op has something to hide in your very difficult to see books. I mean, I'm just sayin'. We're talkin' one, numero uno, the loneliest number, one number. Instead of receiving a simple number. Again, in case you may have forgotten, one number. The number of people with a meter that XXXXXXXXX serves. I now must fill out an APPLICATION, be subject to a decision making, vetting process to determine my worthiness to receive said information and possibly an appeals process if I am refused. This sound very, very bad for the Co-op. Not on the up and up, kinda Enron like. Very paranoid. Please, can you tell me how this is going to look when it is all published nationally. Just asking. Get back to me ASAP, I have a print deadline to meet. Regards: David Landro. P.S. This number is probably printed in one of your mailings or maybe even the newsletter you put out on a monthly basis. This is not like a secret agent 007 kinda deal here, it was only just a number for my own personal information and enjoyment until now that is. You should be embarrassed by this. To have this kind of secretiveness towards a co- owner in good standing with the company only leaves me thinking you have some very naughty answers. Here, how about this. . . just have XXXX XXXXXXXX drive over and tell me the number. How would that be? He can even whisper it in my ear, cupped hands of course. This sounds like somebody doesn't want to many prying eyes on the books. I'm still waiting for a reply. . .