Thursday, December 6, 2012

Smart Grid Not So Smart

The Smart Grid: Have you been keeping up with the "smart meter" fiasco? These electrical meters our utility companies have been putting on many houses read more than your electrical usage. Billions of tax payer and rate payer dollars have been used so far to put these meters on our houses.  They claim they are to benefit the public but they are primarily to benefit the utility companies by reducing their operating costs and increasing profits by firing meter readers. (This was done with federal stimulus funds that were supposed to create more jobs.) 

The public is starting to stand up and say they will not accept these meters. They are an invasion of peoples privacy, security and have potential health risks. The utility companies claim these meters are an answer to our energy problems, but they do not address the need for renewable, sustainable electricity that could create a cleaner and healthier future for all of us. They simply increase the bottom line for the utility companies.

Nationwide, some 3 million homes have smart meters, digital electricity gauges equipped with wireless communications, according to the federal Department of Energy (DOE). According to the utility industry's Institute for Electric Efficiency, about 65 million smart meters will be working in U.S. homes by 2020.

•Accuracy: In both California and Texas, higher bills led to independent audits of smart meters and lawsuits by utility customers.

•Security and privacy. Smart meters can communicate when power demands go up or down at individual houses, leading to  people being rightly concerned about a burglar knowing when the house is empty or occupied. For this reason, the Energy Department and most states require rules that prohibit sharing such data in smart-grid designs. However,  firms such as Google and Microsoft are marketing software to manage home power that will rely on smart-meter signals. This makes folks  worry about private data leaking to the open market. Many of us perceive these meters as a surveillance tool. They invade our personal space only to benefit a third party such as information miners, intrusive law enforcement and commercial interests. These meters can reveal data such as what and when you use appliances and how many people are in a household at any given time.

•Health & Safety: These smart meters are radio-frequency-equipped boxes that are installed on your house and emit electromagnetic fields. The biological effects of EMFs are little understood. The potential for damage is high while the public receives little benefit. The utilities are receiving all the economic benefit from this boondoggle. Scientists, physicians groups and citizens are voicing their concerns about the possible negative health effects of these meters.

There have been reports of smart meters exploding and starting fires. You can read more about it here.

Some people have had unexplained symptoms start after their new meter was installed by their utility. Read about this here where they are collecting data on health problems due to smart meters.

I suggest you  watch these videos "Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid" here.
You can also read the report called Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid"  here.