What are Smart Meters?

The first generation meters (AMR), which most of the state’s users have, store usage data until it is called for by a van that passes through a neighborhood. The second generation of advanced metering infrastructure, called AMI, is the smart meter system. It transmits signals at a minimum of several times a day and at a maximum several times a minute transmitting RF in the 900 MHz – 3 GHz range of the electromagnetic spectrum, 24/7. It is a large-scale system being forced on citizens at a time when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the of the World Health Organization, has classified RF in these frequencies as a 2B (possible) carcinogen along with formaldehyde, lead, DDT and exhaust fumes. Signals in the mesh network are designed to bounce from house to house in a Smart Grid. The final collector meter (Medusa Meter or the Collector Meter), receiving thousands or millions of more pulses than everyone else is on the last house on the network transmits usage data for between 500 and 5,000 houses, creating strong RF exposures that may exceed FCC guidelines.

How do you know if you are housing a collection meter?
You don’t. Power companies do not have to tell which house has this excessive RF exposure.

According to the utility companies, the Smart Grid promises to enable utility companies and their customers to reduce U.S. energy consumption using a variety of technologies and methods.

We we discovered: The main purpose of a system that allows a utility to remotely turn electricity on and off is to shift customers not only to tiered pricing but also to prepaid plans. Anderson and Fuloria from Computer Laboratory in Cambridge, England have written that the main purpose of smart metering is to ensure that customers who default on their payments can be switched remotely to a prepay tariff system where they purchase a card for so many hours of electricity in advance. Because Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) are paid on a per-kilowatt-of-energy-sold basis, and also receive a guaranteed ROR on assets, they do not have a financial incentive to encourage less energy usage, or to invest in technologies that would help citizens reduce energy consumption.

What the utility companies claim: Smart Meters save customers money.

What we discovered: Connecticut Attorney General warns that the pilot results in that state showed that smart meters had no beneficial impact on total energy usage or bill savings and that the advanced technology is very expensive. A pilot program of 10,000 such meters found no energy savings in 2009, but would cost ratepayers $500 million. He said that CL& P’s plan to replace existing electric meters with advanced technology would be very expensive and would not save enough electricity for its 1.2 million customers to justify the expense. In Australia, energy costs were considerably higher to consumers with the Smart Meter installation. Example: SP AusNet in 2009: 17.49 (analog), in 2012: 101.02 (SM). National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy in Washington, D.C stated, “Investors in utilities gain from the smart meter deployment, as they would from any other capital expenditure, while there is no clear gain and significant new risks (financial, privacy, security, health and safety, and cost) for the ratepayer and consumer.” was recently published by the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy in Washington, D.C: • “In reality, these meters and their dedicated networks are primarily for the benefit of utilities, reducing their operating costs and increasing profits by firing meter readers–ironically with federal stimulus funds–while doing essentially nothing to advance what should be the real goal of the smart grid: balancing supply and demand and integrating more renewable sources. Because Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) are paid on a per-kilowatt-of-energy-sold basis, and also receive a guaranteed ROR on assets, they do not have a financial incentive to encourage less energy usage, or to invest in technologies that would help citizens reduce energy consumption. Investors in utilities gain from the smart meter deployment, as they would from any other capital expenditure, while there is no clear gain and significant new risks (financial, privacy, security, health and safety, and cost) for the ratepayer and consumer.”

What utility companies tell us: Smart Meters save electricity.

What we found out: In the Crain’s Chicago Business article Smart grid test underwhelms. In a pilot, it was found that in the Chicago test, few customers power down to save money and was reported that fewer that 9% exhibited any amount of peak usage reduction. and that the overall amount of reduction was “statistically insignificant”. This was from a report by the Electric Power Research Institute, a utility industry think tank who conducted the study and prepared the report.

*We thank Blake Levit and the Berkshire Litchfield Environmental Council for schooling us on this matter and allowing us to reprint some of their information.

Pix of Smart Meters

smartmeter

itron 1-210+ meter

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