Reader Question: Smart Meters?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mark asks: What do you think of smart meters? Why? Do you have one? If so, how did you get one? Was your electric utility deceptive when installing it?

My reply: Yes, I have one. Or rather, the power company installed one.

But I don’t dislike smart meters per se any more than I dislike electric cars per se. Both are merely technologies which – like guns – can be used for good or bad.

What I dislike about smart meters is the use to which they will likely be put – which will be to ration electricity. And to monitor and control the use of electricity within the home. They have the capability to spy on us – the devices we have, how we use them, etc. – and given the state of  things in this country, I think its naive to image that this Panopticonic capability won’t be used.

Plus, there is the problem of choice. We don’t have any. The smart meters are foisted upon us, want them or not. I believe it is even illegal to refuse them in many parts of the country.

If I had the time and the energy, I’d be actively working to establish grid-free power generation (and storage) at my place and simply cut off the grid power – and have them come and remove their meter.  I recommend anyone who can do so – if it’s practical and makes economic sense – though it will probably become illegal to do so as it amounts to an assertion of independence and we all know how much the busybodies and  control freaks who constitute “the government” like that.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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11 COMMENTS

  1. When our power line went in I explained I wanted NO overhead wires to the house. Various stuff such as big rigs(with often overheight loads), cotton strippers and other equipment and loads of hay would take down a service in a heartbeat. The meter pole is over 250′ from the house. In the early 2000’s they decided to install a meter that could be read from the road, 3/8ths of a mile away.

    It was a war I’d had with the particular meter reader(we read our own for many years and every year or so someone would come out and determine the readings we sent were accurate. This wasn’t good enough since they wanted to spy on us. I parked a big non-working round baler in front of it and it’s stayed there for 16 years or more. FEFEFH’s.

    What got us sideways, for some extent, was my chewing out meter readers hauling ass down our drive and nearly running over our dogs. Our dogs didn’t realize someone wouldn’t stop, open the door and pick them up so they’d stand in the drive and nearly get run over. Everyone who came to see us did that so they knew nothing else. Vehicle coming, a new friend, and a new vehicle to jump in and a driver to lick up and down. Being the a-holes they are, they declined to let a pit bull jump in and ride. They’d much rather run over a dog than take a chance on those “dangerous” dogs….those “dangerous” dogs who never met a stranger.

  2. Keep in mind that the power companies, the media, and the government will not disclose the full capabilities of smart meters to control and monitor. For this one has to look towards the smart meter manufacturers and IEEE papers. Here the full capabilities of smart meters are discussed. Because there’s no reason to hide them there. Ordinary people don’t read these things. Anyone who talks about them in public will get called a ‘paranoid conspiracy theorist’.

      • Yes, the HAN. That’s what I was getting at. The HAN. There’s also an IEEE paper on how smart meters can identify older non HAN compatible devices via back EMF.

        • The thing is that I didn’t have to dig too much or too long to find out that stuff. Our ‘rulers’ are hiding their evil designs in plain sight…

          • Most everything is in plain sight. It’s all manipulation.
            Step 1: “That’s a conspiracy theory”
            Step 2: “it’s a good thing”
            Step 3: “it’s always been this way”

            Step 1 causes the masses to disregard the plans, evidence, etc. Slowly the media and government hone a sales pitch and now it’s good for us, step 2. Then over time people think it has always been, step 3.

  3. Eric,

    Thanks for answering the question. My feelings on smart meters are mixed. My bills have gone down since mine was installed. I haven’t had the problems others have spoken of. What upsets me about them is that, here in PA, we CANNOT OPT OUT of the things. What also upset me was that the electric company was deceptive when they installed mine.

    Here in PA, residents CANNOT OPT OUT of smart meters. Where I live, the law says that the largest electric companies (electric distribution companies, or EDCs, in gov’t parlance) must switch all their customers over to smart meters, because they want a smart grid. We have NO CHOICE in the matter. If I understand things correctly, the electric company can cut us off if we don’t ‘accept’ a smart meter.

    What REALLY upset me though was that the electric company was deceptive when it installed mine. Their website says that they’d send out notices about the impending installations, yadda yadda yadda, but they didn’t; I never got one. Secondly, a guy from a contractor showed up at my door one day, and he asked if he could read my meter. Usually, the electric company would do it, but I figured they outsourced that and didn’t think anything of it. Since my meter is out back and inaccessible from the street, the meter readers need me to be here when they want to get their numbers. I went downstairs, opened my garage, and let him go out back. I went upstairs to do something else. After a while, I noticed that the meter reader never called up to tell me he was done and ready to go. Sooo, I went downstairs and out back to see what was going on. What did I find but my meter enclosure opened and my old meter removed! I saw what looked like a digital meter, and then it hit me: it was s smart meter. I asked the guy if it was a smart meter, and he said yeah, it was. At this point, I couldn’t stop him, because he was well into the job. He finished up a couple of minutes later and left.

    What upset me most was the DECEPTION AND TRICKERY they used to install the thing! Why did he ask to read my meter? Why did he not tell me he was there to install a smart meter? Why not be HONEST about why you’re there, hmmm? Since he gave me the spiel he did, was he told to give it? Furthermore, why didn’t the electric company send me a notice about the smart meter rollout in my area? Could it be because the electric company got pushback on this? I think so.

    I looked into going off the grid. I talked to Solar City about a possible installation. I also researched other vendors. Even for my small house, I was looking at well into the five figures-especially once the battery storage and inverter was factored in. It simply didn’t make economic sense to do a solar installation, much as I would have liked to give the system the finger. My electric bills have never exceeded $100 a month. Even if they were $100 a month every month (they’re not; they only get close in July & August), that’s $1,200 a year. IOW, It would take me well over TEN YEARS to recoup my investment-ouch!

    As for whether or not the EDC can spy on us, I don’t know. I know that the smart meter will send info about how much energy we use; I don’t know if it can discern HOW the energy is used though. Also, since some electric customers have genuine medical issues, the electric company has to send someone out before they disconnect the power-at least for now.

    I used to attend local Tea Party meetings where I live. I remember one of the speakers TALKING about smart meters! Since it was years ago and since nothing had happened (i.e. no smart meters had been installed where I live), I thought it was a dead issue and I forgot about it. I naively thought that the good guys won one for once. I didn’t recall it until that day the installer showed up and obtained access to my meter via TRICKERY. Had I known WHY he was there, I don’t know if I’d have let him in that day. Anyway, those are MY thoughts…

    • The phone and electric co-ops are a lot more careful than that out here in Montana. They send notices telling you that they are coming to work on something, and then follow up with phone calls to remind you. I reckon that they don’t want to risk getting shot at if they show up unannounced – ha!

      They did put in a remote-read meter a few years ago, but now they say they are going to upgrade those (with “smart meters” I guess?). Before that, we read our own meter. You just wrote down the meter reading on your bill when you sent it back in with your check.

      • The electric company would either send a reader to you to get the numbers, or you could take the reading yourself like you said.

      • When we moved in here, the co-op told us the woman we bought the place from refused to read her own meter, so they would send somebody out to read it and charged her $35 for the trip.

        Also, they wanted something like $350 up front based on her electric bills. So we paid it but that covered maybe four months electric for us at the time. She must have been running the electric heaters with the doors and windows open!

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