back to article Americans resort to padlocking their dumb meters

Campaigners across America are resorting to padlocks and metal cages to protect their 'leccy meters, convinced that the smart versions will damage their health. The Georgia Senate is busy passing a bill allowing customers to opt out of having a smart meter fitted, and without cost, but some of the locals are concerned that …

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I dont think enough research has been done

..to prove that these meters are safe.

The same with Wi-fi and mobile phones etc.

Maybe a threshold will be reached where we'll all start to cook!

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Vic
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I dont think enough research has been done

...to prove that beer is safe.

I shall be conducting field trials over the coming weeks. I want a grant.

Vic.

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Big Brother

Giving the electric company remote control

Dumb meter: You don't pay your bill, and the electric company sends someone out to disconnect your power.

Smart meter: Someone else doesn't pay his bill, and someone at the electric company hits a wrong key on a keyboard, and your power is turned off.

Dumb meter: The electric company monitors and records your total electric use during each billing period.

Smart meter: The electric company monitors and records your electric usage continuously.

If you still don't get it, then watch "Brazil" and read/watch "1984."

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Re: Giving the electric company remote control

"If you still don't get it, then watch "Brazil" and read/watch "1984.""

Seconded, but I wouldn't bother with 1984. Brazil is all you need to see to understand big bureaucracy gone out of control. A very good film indeed. And now I can't get the music out of my mind, "da daaaaa, da da da da da da da daaaaa, da da da da da da da daaaaa, etc.

Customer: my electricity has been switched off

Central Services: is you name Buttle?

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Big Brother

Smart Meters DO NOT show daily usage

By and large, in order to figure out current draw and daily usage, consumers must visit a web site, which no one bothers to do.

A real meter - which I have - like the TED5000 shows a $/hr reading all the time on a display we keep by the kitchen table. The kids and I pick up on that info, and have lowered electricity usage by about 20%. Even I, a 'cheap dad' hardly ever visit the web site.

That's the real thing the electrical companies fear - that usage DROPS because that will cause a drop in profits. So they hide behind clumsy web interfaces. A law that puts these readouts in every new or newly renovated house would save at least 10% of electricity usage. (more in places like North America where waste is much worse). Don't expect the green - industrial - complex to allow them, though.

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Terminator

Rebranding required

Dont call them "smart meters" - "smart" is intimidating to the sort of people who suspect that they could be outsmarted by them; and "meter" sounds a bit metric, like the kind of thing a European communist nazi might use.

Relaunch as the "Freedom PowerVendor(R)" - "Freedom" being a meaningless but inexplicably sales-uplifting word, and PowerVendor(R) embodies capitalist ideals of success, dominance and selling the product, namely power.

Anyone that doesn't demand that a stars-n-stripes-emblazoned Freedom PowerVendor(R) is immediately fitted to their trailer is clearly a pinko fag and card-carrying member of al-jazira.

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"some diabetics are having trouble controlling their blood-sugar levels"

I thought that was the point

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Windows

A genuine "smart" meter

would broadcast the real-time unit cost so that "smart" appliances and sockets would switch on or off when the price crossed a threshold set by the consumer. Imagine the scene played out in homes across the UK:

TV: "Time now, for a depressing episode of $SOAP... Dum-dum-dum-dum d-d-d-d<click>"

Wife: "What's happened to the telly?"

Husband: "Sorry dear, the electricity must be too expensive right now."

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Facepalm

Tell you what.

You, the power lads, start investing heavily in Shale Gas and Nuclear power.

That way there'll be enough to go around and the price will stay stable, so I might stand a bloody chance of saving a bit of cash by using less of it.

Then we'll talk about smart meters. Frankly I cannot be arsed as long as my bill keeps going up regardless of how much I use.

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FAIL

UK User Pay; North America Suppliers Pay

The proposal was, at one point - who knows now - that USERS in the UK were to PAY for the METER.

In the States there is an element of choice whereas, in Ontario, Canada, there isn't. Still there are many ways to shield the meter so that it effectively is neutered.

Ontario has gone remote metering crazy.

The latest trend is to meter hot water, so they stick all these meters in condominiums (rental units are barred by law) and they are read remotely.

ONLY there is one BIG PROBLEM. The meter can;t differentiate between HOT, WARM or COLD water so in effect they are little more than a scam. One remote reading company is owned by shareholders whose forbears were involved in protection rackets - now they atr taking in the dollars and don't have to break a bone doing it!

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Don't Panic Smart Meters will not kill you any day soon

Last week the consumer focus group reported on Smart Meters to a group at Intellect. They have advised the government that they need to investigate the health scare quickly to reasure consumers that smart meters are not going to damage their health. Sure, just knowing what you are consuming doesn't magically reduce your consumption- however if you don't know till you get your quarterly bill how the heck will you be able to make intelligent decisions!

The key debate here is make smart meters smart- vendors are key in ensuring that there is uniform standard for meters that includes privacy, interoperability so you can change suppliers and that the data displayed is useful.

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Speaking only for myself ...

"they're getting symptoms of insomnia, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations"

Probably because their bills have been increasing.

Here at the Ranch, I have 17 PG&E meters, ten electricity and 7 gas. PG&E, in all their brilliance, have seen fit to replace half the electricity meters and four of the gas meters with so-called "smart meters". The half which were replaced have seen a spike in usage. The half that have been there since the year dot are still consuming 'leccy & gas at the rate expected, based on my decade-old records.

Yes, I'm consulting my lawyer.

No, I'm not an "Oh knows, teh wireless is gonna kill us ALL!!!" loony.

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DJO
Boffin

The RF equipment in smart meters is exactly the same as in a mobile phone, even down to the SIM. (on the shelf behind me there are several smart meters used for test purposes all with SIMs fitted)

To avoid entirely justified accusations of hypocrisy I hope everybody who is arguing against smart meters on the grounds the RF emissions are a hazard have also rejected mobile phones.

While many people will squeeze a mobile phone against their head I seriously doubt many people will jam their heads next to a smart meter when it is sending.

Although the meters are capable of sending readings at any interval and in commercial premises the readings are often taken daily for a residential setting there really is no reason to collect more often then once a month.

So the deadly health risk is essentially a basic mobile phone being used in another room maybe once a month for perhaps 15 seconds – Oh the horror!

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The use of cell-phone frequencies is EXACTLY why people who have become Electrically Hyper-Sensitive (EHS) do not want them on their houses. They already have trouble when cell phones are in use near them. I have met many such people, and I have personally observed their reactions to be in direct response to cell phones that were near them without their knowledge.

I agree is it not necessary to transmit information every 30 seconds. One University Professor with EHS reports it is those "burst of information" transmissions that seem to be more troublesome, which belies the idea that the total overall energy transmitted is low. It's like the difference between the constant background noise of a city having a lot of overall sound energy, but it is nowhere near as jarring to a human as someone sneaking up on you and shouting in your ear every 30 seconds.

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Why be part of a bad health experiment in your own home?

People should not be forced to be part of an experiment on what causes cancer, etc. in their own home. It isn't even a controlled experiment.

Do some people get irrationally afraid at the sight of a technology (cell towers) they don't understand? I am sure. Do some people become ill around certain common electrical devices? Also undoubtedly true.

Just because nobody understands what is happening in no reason to assume people are "loons." Man made electrical radiation is a new invention (100 years?) and I do not believe we know all the possible health effects. In the USA, current federal guidelines for Radio Frequency emissions pre-date the wide introduction of cell phones and do not consider any possible health effect except the degree to which they cook flesh, called "thermal effects."

If you want to be a part of an uncontrolled experiment at the possible risk of your health, fine. I'm already in enough involuntary experiments, thank you.

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Re: Why be part of a bad health experiment in your own home?

"Do some people become ill around certain common electrical devices? Also undoubtedly true."

Cite proof, please. A double-blind test.

Put a person who claims to be electro-sensitive in a screened room (Faraday cage) with a concealed wireless router, cellphone, whatever. Neither the experimental subject nor the person telling them what to do is allowed to know beforehand whether it is turned on or not. Ask them how they feel BEFORE finding that out. Repeat until a statistically significant body of evidence is gathered.

In a less kind and possibly unethical variant on this experiment, let the subjects know where the router is concealed (say, above a ceiling tile) but don't tell them about the spycam recording their every move and the *other* concealed router permanently turned on. I'd bet 9/10 "electrosensitive" subjects would feel the need to sneak a look at the router (and then report back that they're fine when they see it's turned off, despite the fact that the other one should be making them feel ill.

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Go

GPC

I worked for the company in question for many years and I can say with great authority that Georgia has some of the highest quality rednecks you could ever ask for. I myself installed radiation filters on meters back in the '70s to prevent radioactive electricity from the company's first nuclear plant (E. I. Hatch) from contaminating homes. The filters were cheap and easy to install looking somewhat like two tie wraps and a small sheet of Aluminum. Some even had "Coke" or "Pepsi" on the inside. Some were made by "Coors".

We were also asked by customers if the plants were so expensive to build why didn't we just buy one instead.

Oh yeah, highest quality rednecks you could ever want.

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Re: GPC

I know someone who, to this day, is absolutely convinced that using a microwave oven makes food radioactive. Sad thing is he has several college degrees ...

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Big Brother

Rise Of The Socialists

Make no mistake, this isn't about helping YOU. It isn't about saving energy. It isn't about mysterious medical conditions. It isn't about global warming, hacking, or the mythical Speghetti Monster. It's about POWER. Not electrical power - it's about total control of the Socialist iron fist. Once the "smart" meters are installed, the Socialists can do what they want with your power, cut it back, or turn it off whenever they want. Pelosi could black out an entire city, as punishment for protesting Obamacare. Or global warming ... whatever reason they want. They crave that kind of control - they live and breathe it, they dream about it, it's all they ever wanted. Will you hand over your freedom like good slaves, or fight the Socialist enslavers ? Will you help - or damn - your children, their children, and so on ? Your choice.

The government cake is always a LIE !

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Re: Rise Of The Socialists

Actually, no. If the abuse of power got that bad, then everyone would do what the criminal classes do already: an insulation-displacement bypass between the streetside of the meter and the house.

It's called theft at present, not protest.

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Stop

Socialists

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

You might not have noticed but these are private, capitalist corporations that want to install smart meters. Replace the word "socialist" with something more appropriate and your rant might make more sense...

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Bah!

So that's what the fear is? Not the fear that if the electricity company reps can take a drive-by reading with something resembling a TV remote that they will be laying off hundreds of meter readers who stand little chance of getting a job in this economy?

Because, you know, that is what I heard. When I asked my meter reader why the (British parent owned company's) gas and electricity meters couldn't be like my water meter.

But I guess your version has more Anti-American-Knee-Jerk comment possibilities (and I see plenty of people taking advantage of them already so clearly you are right).

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they can try

The meter is inside a granite outbuilding. I don't think they 'll get much of a signal unless they're outside the door so it won't save them much.

They'd be better off spending some money on replacing the bloody poles before the rot through instead of after each one rots away.

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Meh

Re: they can try

Blocked by a granite wall - are you sure? I've sent ordinary Wireless-G Ethernet 30 metres sideways and down through a reinforced concrete floor. Didn't even need directional antennae. Only got 5Mbps out of it, but it worked. How many Mbps does one need to read a meter?

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Facepalm

OMFG, the new meter is making me stoopid

Too late, dearie....

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Go

I know this is stupid...

...but the only thing I don't care for concerning the new meters is the loss of a spinning disc to "indicate" real time power consumption. The more modern meters seem to all have a boring digital display. While it may be capable of more, around here the display simply switches between a self-test and an accumulated kWh reading.

Couldn't they at least have included a "snake" character that changes its "crawl" speed based on power usage?

I've been told that remotely-readable meters with spinning discs exist, but I've never seen one. As it is, I'm not sure that all the modern meters are remotely readable. Only the ones located in rural areas clearly indicate such capability, at least for now.

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Happy

Down with this sort of thing

Careful now

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I'm sorry my fellow Americans are so stupid.

Sometimes I am quite ashamed of the ignorance here.

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Re: I'm sorry my fellow Americans are so stupid.

Don't cry for me, Ben-ita!

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Anonymous Coward

Me no likee

Smart meters just seem a bit of a waste of resource to me (at the moment any way).

In these frugal times for most if not all, I'd rather have a means of popping in the numbers (meter readings) and seeing an informal bill appear (rather than a formal one if you kno wot I mean).

Controlling my own domestic energy use from afar is not really high on my shopping list at all.

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Facepalm

"Total Load Phenomenon"

appears to be missing a couple of words. insert "of Bullshit" between Load and Phenomenon.

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Alien

Lizard masters

Smart meters will mean that we'll soon be under the mind-control of our lizard masters.

Mutate now and avoid the rush!

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Joke

Do it right or don't do it at all! The AFDB.

Let's use proper terminology please! It's formally called the AFDB or Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie. AND be certain that you make your beanie according to approved specification standards or it won't work! Do it right or don't do it at all.

http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

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Facepalm

My budgie has been within two metres of a WAP for all of his life. He even lived just above the base station for a cordless phone for the first three years. He's now eight years old and still full of life. If it doesn't hurt a budgie it doesn't hurt us.

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Meh

Actually some good arguments

Actually reading the letter they propose sending to US utility companies, 80% of it make good rational sense - unfortunately it's the other 20% that defeats their argument and makes them seem like loons.

http://stopsmartmeters.org/sample-letter-to-utility/

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Chaos

If they're like the radio controlled off-peak meters, they may have problems with radio reception losses. Sorry - you can't have any electricity today, I haven't been able to "phone home".

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Flame

Smart meter safety in Australia

They're rolling out (compulsary) smart electricity meters here in Australia and they keep catching fire due to dodgy installation. Now that's definitely harmful to your health!

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Black Helicopters

As an American I can honestly say

that all our meters are belong to Them.

The article surely brought back childhood memories of one meter reader in particular, who would always call out "Water man! Water man here!" so as not to get shot while sneaking 'round the side of the house.

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