A post by Pat

If you’ve never heard of smart meters, be prepared. The Obama plan for our economic revival may put one in your house.

I’m not opposed to technological improvements to the infrastructure or against efficient energy usage. I’m certainly not against saving money on my utility bills by avoiding peak rates. What troubles me is that I can see where this is going. Carbon taxes. What is promoted as a helpful tool for the consumer will eventually be the helpful tool for the tax collector, not to mention Big Green Brother deciding to turn off your stove because you’ve had too many cups of tea today.

Smart meters have recently been made mandatory in the UK. They’re talking about home energy inspections.

My energy decisions are between me and my utility company. What I do in the kitchen is none of the government’s business.

Obama, Congress craft green-economy jobs plan

The details and cost of the so-called green jobs program are still unclear, but a senior Obama aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a work in progress, said it probably would include the weatherizing of hundreds of thousands of homes, the installation of so-called smart meters to monitor and reduce home energy use, and billions of dollars in grants to state and local governments for mass transit and infrastructure projects.

Smart meters send gas and electric usage measurements directly to the utility company on a continuing basis. It’s part of a high tech “smart” future.

What’s behind the push for the ‘Smart’ meter?

The rationale behind smart meters is simple – by making it clear to consumers how much energy they are using and exactly what it is costing them, they are empowered to cut their usage and thus their bills.

After all, unless you can measure something you can’t be expected to accurately control it.

Utilities meanwhile, benefit from a two-way flow of data which enables them to manage use more efficiently and which will help them to solve one of the biggest bug-bears in the industry: estimated billing.

Read about the experience of having a smart meter in your home.

Britons shine a light on energy use at home

At 500, the meter is set to sound an alarm.

“I’ve become like one of Pavlov’s dogs — every time it bleeps I think I’m going to take one of those pans off the stove,” Brenda Marchant

And they’re happy about it. I think they are eco-lunatics but this is what we’d all have to live with.

I’m starting to feel a chill.

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6 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Kelly says:

    Pacific, Gas & Electric here in Northern California have been pushing these a lot. My mother is supposed to make an appointment to have them come out and set it up. My cousin’s husband has been a meter reader with PG& E for over 20 years and I’m sure he’s getting very nervous about his job disappearing.

    Aside from the job losses, the Big Brother aspect is truly frightening.

  2. daredevilaccordian says:

    We had a “smart thermostat” in our old apartment (not of our choosing, but of an agreement between the Apt complex and the city) – and it was horrendous. Being in Central Texas in the summer – I promise that it is a rotten idea to let the electric company control when your air conditioner turns on and turns off, based on peak useage. We had the choice to override the decision and thus did so – by installing our own thermostat that was not controlled by the electric company. We were plenty motivated to be smart in how we set and used it, as it reflected DIRECTLY in our bill, which we worked hard at keeping to affordable levels. And, in monitoring our usage month to month, we noticed that we used precisely the same amount with our own thermostat as we did with Big Brother’s thermostat… yet we were able to live in reasonable comfort by setting it to the cool temperatures that we needed, at the times of day that we needed, as opposed to the times of day that the city deemed that we needed coolness.

    I will figure out how to live off of the grid should this truly be the wave of the future. Luckily we still have the option of secession here in Texas, and hopefully that would happen before we let numbnuts and his band of merry crimnals, frauds and powerbrokers intrude in our homes.

  3. Jon says:

    It depends on what kind of “smart meter” it is. Some will turn off your air conditioning and stuff if the power company realizes that it needs more capacity. I can’t imagine any argument for preventing “secession” from that; you can just imagine if someone’s oxygen or life support system were shut off by the power company. But, others will simply record what hour of day the rate of power consumption was happening and you’ll be billed based on sliding rates. This is a perfectly reasonable, free-market way of prices reflecting how dear power is at different times of day and, if you can, you adjust and, if you can’t, you can pay more. There’s no reason for the government to know anything about your power usage, and I wouldn’t call the power company “Big Brother”, any more than the drug store clerk who knows what your prescriptions are.

    The non-free-market angle is the government paying tax dollars to install them in everyone’s houses, but there’s some justification for that, I guess. It’s in all of our interest to keep power company “peaks” from getting too high, and meters do that, so paying for poor people’s meters makes some sense. It’s pretty complicated, I guess, but it’s not exactly a left-wing, pseudo-socialist plot.

  4. savvydude says:

    Smart meters? Puh-leaze. PG&E put one in my home last year and they told me it only sends the data to PG&E electronically. So, I guess if you don’t pay your bill, the utility can cut it off without sending someone out to your home. Pretty sneaky, huh? Since PG&E gave $250,000 to the No on 8 campaign, I hope their ‘smart meters’ have a major meltdown.

  5. Scottie says:

    How about investing in nuclear power plants and generating clean abundant energy instead of creating a shortage of energy and then rationing it? The people preventing us from doing so are the very people that want to make sure we aren’t using “too much” of the energy supply they are artificially constricting.

    Conservatives – create more supply (ie. create more wealth for everyone)

    Liberals – restrict supply and socially engineer behavior to adjust to it. (ie. restrict wealth and ration it politically)

  6. ffigtree says:

    And here’s hoping Big Green Brother doesn’t resort to this: “Experts call for the end of flushed Toilets”

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