Islands' Sounder


Concerns about OPALCO broadband | Letter

April 16, 2014 · Updated 4:45 PM

At the recent OPALCO “Town Hall Meetings” a few things were finally made clear. All costs of new fibre optic cable and all of the proposed wireless internet system will be charged to electricity customers. This expensive communications infrastructure is far in excess of what is needed for electricity distribution, its primary use is “Broadband.”

In addition, OPALCO will compete to provide internet service with our existing providers and CenturyLink. This means that electric bills will increase substantially just at a time when more and more of us are suffering from the economic collapse, this is manifestly unfair and unethical. The OPALCO board of directors has exceeded its authority and violated state law (RCW 24.06) by changing the “purpose” of the cooperative. This action actually requires a two-thirds majority vote of the members.

Worse yet, the building of a wireless network means that San Juan County will lose its most precious and valuable attribute as the only non-wilderness area on the U.S. West Coast with (mostly) safe levels of man-made electromagnetic radiation. Trading our health for slightly faster computing is a bad bargain indeed.

We may be able to avert these losses by refusing to vote for any incumbent or any candidate chosen by the nominating committee in the upcoming OPALCO Board election.

Steve Ludwig

Lopez Island


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