Am I mis-reading this or is there mischief afoot?

Discussion in 'The Fire For Effect and Totally Politically Incorr' started by Hardballer, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Hardballer

    Hardballer New Member

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    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. . .
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2009
  2. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hardballer, I shrunk the LOOOOONG underline in their reply, and it brought the post back to screen size.

    Unbelievable!!

    Hey, it's not like you were asking the AEC how to make a Cobalt Hydrogen Bomb in your garage or anything!!

    The really FUNNY part is that you are right! MOST co-ops have, right on their mailings, fliers, websites, or postings in their lobby, the number of members served.
    Shoot, you could have asked the Meter Reader the next time he was out and gotten a number!

    But do I see something underhanded?
    Not really.
    I see a typical bureaucrat (yes, we have them in Civilian jobs too!) covering his (or her) posterior appendage since (s)he did not know EXACTLY why you wanted the information. It is typical for upper management to pick someone in the lower echelons to blame if anything goes wrong, and someone is just nervious about that.

    Just my Humble Opinion, of course -
  3. jim summers

    jim summers Active Member

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    Sounds to me like you are getting the run around business's are good at that when they don't want to provide certain information.
  4. Tango Victor

    Tango Victor New Member

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    I think you may be reading a little too much into it. I have worked for various electric cooperatives over the years. I can tell you they are bombarded with information requests. With electric choice available to consumers in many states this could be considered competitive information. There are also numerous frivilous law suits out there, people are always fishing for information so a company has to protect their information. You would be amazed at the things people do to try and get the utilities to pay for new TV's, refridgerators, AC units, medical bills, etc...A line has to be drawn somewhere for the availability of information. A cooperaative being non-profit has little to hide. I'm sure this information is available to the board of directors who are member consumers and those who attend the annual meetings. Since the request was somewhat vague in your need for the information I'm sure they are just being cautious. Unfortunately this is the world we live in today.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  5. Trouble 45-70

    Trouble 45-70 New Member

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    The Co. I retired from posts this info on their web site, prospectus and news releases. Sort of like bragging rights. Maybe you asked the wrong office.
  6. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yup.
    So does mine.
    Right on THIS PAGE they say they serve over 34,000 homes and businesses.
  7. Hardballer

    Hardballer New Member

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    Thanks for the input guys.

    I sent the request to the information contact person and it was apparently sent upstairs to the assistant manager of the Co-op.

    I was just so stupefied at this response, I needed some input to balance out my initial feelings of incredulity and just a pinch of P.O.d-ness.

    I guess I you fellows are right, just be bureaucratic B.S.

    I'll see where it leads.
  8. the morning light

    the morning light New Member

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    Maybe they think your a lawyer....LOL
  9. Marlin T

    Marlin T Active Member

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    Now that is funny, very funny. :)

    Good luck at getting the information. Have you gone down to their office yet and seen these guys in person yet?
  10. Bobitis

    Bobitis Guest

    Sounds much like my HOA.
  11. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

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    Gee, seems like an AWFUL lot of hoops, just to get one number.
    I would have to question why also.

    Just went to my electric companies website,
    with a quick look-see I found this.....

    "provided electric service to over 67,000 meters."

    While not an exact number, I'm sure they would give me the closest number they had, if I were to ask.
  12. Bobitis

    Bobitis Guest

    Which begs the question.
    Sup wit dat?

    If the public owns the company, it should be public information.
    No:confused:
  13. Hardballer

    Hardballer New Member

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    Yeah, I thought this should be an easy thing to have answered. Nowhere on their site nor in any of the literature they send me, are there any numbers about anything.




    That's what I thought. Now, if they need me to jump through these hoops and then still may be turned down, what exactly are they hiding or what are they afraid of? That's just what I thought anyway.
  14. Hardballer

    Hardballer New Member

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    Secrecy and Paranoia, Hey maybe it's me who's paranoid. . .

    Here are the parts of the application that set off the flashing red lights and warning bells in my mind:

    Subject: Inspection of Books and Records

    Objective: To set forth the rights of XXXXXXXXX Energy 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. (who determines this?)

    B. The inspection sought be for a purpose directly related to the business of the Cooperative and in the best interests of the Cooperative. (What???)

    C. The books and records sought to be inspected are pertinent to such proper purpose. (Proper???)

    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:

    C. Price or bid quotation for equipment, material and similar prior to acceptance. (Hmmmmm?)

    E. Material or communication possibly libelous in nature. (Whatever. . .)

    Knowing the county I live in, the board chairman personally (he's on several other boards and has been the Mayor of our community for 20 years.), and politics in general, I think that this is not demonstrating a transparent operation.

    Unless you consider transparent something you can't see. I mean after reading this I thought I had somehow mistakenly clicked on some government acronym's site. Paranoia.

    What got me started on this thing was their billing envelope. My wife and I both have a printing background and know that a colored envelope, printed both sides, with a cellophane window and a couple of extra scores and perfs for turning it into a return envelope costs. I just wanted to find out how many they send out every month.

    What started that quest is their pissing and moaning about how expenses have gone up so our Co-op benefit check would not be there like before. They also went to a 20 year pay out plan. WTF???

    That is not the only place we find excess. How about a 15-20 page, glossy paper, four color printed, magazine published and mailed every month.

    My best guess is that there are about 15-20 thousand customers who receive both items every month. Wonder where the money goes. Oh well. I'll keep at it and let ya know. It's kinda fun stirring up a hornets nest.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  15. Trouble 45-70

    Trouble 45-70 New Member

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    Maybe its either a CIA or ACORN front.