Regarding the article In U.S. and Canada, “Smart Meter” Fires Spark Alarm

(Excerpts in bold italic)

All across the United States, Canada, and beyond, deeply controversial “smart meters” for electricity have been catching on fire and even exploding, sparking a major scandal that in at least one Canadian province has forced authorities to start removing all of the more than 100,000 devices. In Oregon, utility officials also announced that tens of thousands of smart meters were being replaced following numerous reports of fires. With the manufacturer saying the problems are systemic in the industry, experts predict more disasters to come as governments continue foisting the “smart grid” on the world in the face of growing opposition.

I don’t see any description here about what burned in the “fire” nor do I understand what “exploded”. An explosion requires an explosive. What is there in a smart meter that can explode? An explanation would be helpful in deciding if the article is credible.

But it is not just fires and explosions that are causing concern. In Quebec, for instance, news reports this week following an investigation by the state-funded CBC suggest that the controversial smart meters have been gouging customers — in some cases charging consumers double or even triple what they were paying before the device was installed. In Ontario, some 8,000 people have already filed formal complaints about overbilling attributed to the new meters.

This too does not seem to be supported by facts. What was the cause of the increased billing? Increased power rates? Increased usage? Error in metering? Could be any of those things. Metering accuracy is something that can be tested. Electric meters are certified much like gas pumps to be accurate to a certain tolerance. They can be tested and recalibrated or replaced if necessary. This is true of both analog and “smart” meters.

Among the biggest health concerns (other than being burned alive) is the emission of pulsed radio-frequency (RF) radiation by the devices.

Besides being an inflammatory comment, this is a controversial comment. Where are the facts? How much RF energy does a “smart” meter emit? How does that compare to the ambient RF energy to which we are all exposed all day each day wherever we go? How much RF energy is required to be harmful? None of those questions are addressed here.

Also deeply troubling to critics are the vast new surveillance opportunities available to authorities and criminals under the smart-grid regime. Among other problems, the meters offer unprecedented tools for hackers and governments to spy on citizens and run roughshod over the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment on a previously unimaginable scale.

Surveillance is a double edged sword. We don’t want to spyed upon. We do want criminals captured and prosecuted. Where is the balance? Surveillance has been conducted for decades, probably centuries. I don’t see how smart meters increase the risk in this area. If someone wants to know how much electricity I use at any given time they can simply make photographic record of my dumb meter readings over time and have a complete picture of my electric usage.

Compare the smart meter to a smart phone and there is no comparison. The phone in many cases can provide huge amounts of information about our activities. Location (GPS). Sound. Pictures. Data of all sorts from telephone calls, texting, social network discussions, web access to bank accounts and all the rest. Smart meters are not even an issue compared to the smart phone in my view.

Even more alarming for privacy advocates, the report continues, is the fact that “deployment of smart metering may lead to tracking the everyday lives of people in their own homes and building detailed profiles of all individuals based on their domestic activities.

How so? How in the world can a smart meter help build a profile on an individual????? Smart phones can.

Some Americans, horrified by the prospect of such intrusive surveillance, have reacted forcefully to the imposition of the “smart” technology. In Texas, for example, concerns over the meters reached a boiling point two years ago when a woman pulled a gun on the installation man for trespassing on her property after being warned to leave. “My main concern originally was the privacy — as far as I’m concerned this is a surveillance device,” Houston-area activist leader Thelma Taormina told The New American after the incident.

That person who was supposedly “trespassing” most likely had a good and legal reason to be on that property.

“Surveillance Device”? Crazy! The smart meter is a device to A) measure how much electricity we use and B) help the power company keep the cost of that electricity as low as possible and C) to minimize the “pain” if load reductions become necessary at times by turning off low priority loads within the home. I think as of now, this can only be done with customer approval.

As far as I can see, the smart meter is a good device when used as intended. That’s the key….used as intended. It may be possible to abuse it’s use although I don’t see how. If it is possible, then it’s likely it will be the government that abuses it’s use and that must indeed be opposed….based on solid facts of abuse. I think there are many more ways the government can pry into our personal lives much more effectively by examining bank records, monitoring cell and landline phone conversations, monitoring our web traffic and so on. That’s were the problem is in my opinion.

Low cost energy, including electric energy, is critical to our economic well being. It’s availability helps provide economic growth including adding jobs. It provides comfort and safety in our homes. LOW COST ENERGY is absolutely necessary.

The power company is our friend in providing such low cost energy. They use all the tools legally available to them including smart meters to accomplish that end. We should be thankful for their service and we should be diligent in preventing the government and others from using technology against us.

Submitted by

Lee Richey, Engineer and former owner of Matric Limited




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