Customers are ‘deemed to have consented’ to smart meter privacy invasions due to continued usage of electricity says Federal Judge

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Court GavelIn July I reported on the ruling by a Federal Judge for the Naperville, Illinois smart meter lawsuit.  In my article I stated that the Judge “denied an unreasonable search and invasion of privacy claim in the case of the City of Naperville v. Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (NSMA) group, thereby condoning Fourth Amendment violations of the U. S. Constitution.”

In his ruling, the Judge acknowledged that “smart meters are capable of capturing discrete details of behavior” but stated that since “NSMA has failed to allege that the City is actually collecting and using the data … to analyze the private lives of its residents, there is no cognizable claim upon which relief can be granted.”

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A Message to Public Schools and Public Libraries about Wireless Devices

Wireless SymbolRonald M. Powell, Ph.D. [1] has recently distributed two documents related to health concerns about wireless devices.  Although the technical content of each document is almost identical, one is intended as a message to Public Schools and the other is intended as a message to Public Libraries.

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‘Dragnet’ Data Collections by Smart Meters and an ‘Infrastructure of Surveillance’

And What Your Utility Company Doesn’t Want You to Know about Smart Meters

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Smart Meter Big Data Dragnet CollectionIn what was likely a little publicized workshop conducted in November 2013 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on privacy and security issues concerning the Internet of Things (IoT), I found some invaluable insight offered in the FTC video archives on the subject of smart meters.

A presentation was made at the FTC workshop by Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).  Key statements in the presentation and follow-up panel discussion include the following:

I’m not really a cheerleader for the Internet of Things.  To me, it raises a huge number of privacy and security issues, to the extent that IoT devices entail ubiquitous collection of large amounts of data about what people do.”

“And you are also concerned about — or should be concerned about the environmental collection, sort of a non-targeted dragnet collection from devices in the environment.”

Smart meters are a good example.” Continue reading

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“The consequences of deploying bad stuff [smart meters] are dire.”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

This past week there was a meeting of BlackHat USA 2015 in Las Vegas, where InfoSec professionals met.  As part of a blog article written about this meeting, there was the following updated entry by Steve Ragan who attended the meeting:

Smart Meter Threat Vectors“I had an interesting discussion after getting my badge at DEF CON this afternoon about smart grids.

A friend of mine reminded me of a talk given during BSides Las Vegas last year about securing smart meter infrastructure.  The focus of the talk was BC Hydro, the electric utility in British Columbia, and their move to smart meter adoption, as well as the security risks associated with this upgrade.

Smart meters and ICS [Industrial Control System] security issues are a serious topic in many parts of InfoSec due to their reach into a person’s home and life.  It’s a talk worth watching,…”

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New Study Suggests Wireless Devices Linked to Many Health Risks

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Health Effects from RF ExposureRadiofrequency (RF) emissions from wireless devices are likely linked to a number of health conditions and diseases, such as cancer and various other disorders, a new study suggests.

“Oxidative Mechanisms of Biological Activity of Low-intensity Radiofrequency Radiation,” an article published in Electromagnetic Biology & Medicine, reviews peer-reviewed scientific literature and concludes that low-intensity RF radiation induces biological effects in living cells at the molecular level.

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Utilities Remove Burned Smart Meter Evidence from Fire Scenes

NV Smart Meter Fire PhotoWe’ve had anecdotal evidence for quite some time that utility companies remove burned smart meters from fire scenes before fire investigators can determine the source of home or business electrical fires.  This was more officially reported this past March when “Quebec City firefighters asked Hydro-Québec to leave smart meters alone.”

Quebec City’s fire department says Hydro-Québec has been too quick to remove smart meters from the scenes of fires where faulty wiring may be an issue.  “A fire is considered a crime scene and at a crime scene evidence should be left alone,” said France Voiselle, a department spokeswoman.

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Smart meter “issues are of great concern, not just locally, but also nationally and internationally,” cautions Judge

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Court GavelIn May we reported on a positive story that a Michigan Court Orders Justification of Smart Meter Refusal Fees.  The Court document for this case stated that:

“…because of the numerous issues raised on appeal … concerning tariffs for customers who elect to opt-out of the AMI program, we remand those issues to the PSC and direct the PSC to conduct a contested case hearing on the opt-out tariff. … “We direct the PSC to issue a detailed opinion with sufficient facts and conclusions of law that allows this Court to review the entire scope of the unusual opt-out tariff.

In a motion for reconsideration of the previously reported decision, the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) requested that the state of Michigan forego any further hearings for this case. The PSC contended that no further hearings were necessary concerning the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meter program.  The PSC implied that the Court’s prior remand instructions, in essence, exceeded the scope of its responsibility.  Specifically, the PSC contended that it had conducted sufficient hearings as related to “cost of service principles” on all issues and it need not conduct further hearings.

In an order issued July 22, 2015, the PSC’s motion for reconsideration was denied by the CourtContinue reading

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Insanity: Turning Smart Meters into a Supercomputer Platform

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Supercomputing Smart Meters

This website has cataloged an assortment of societal risks involved with the deployment of utility smart meters and reasons why they should either be rolled back or curtailed.  The purpose of electric usage meters is to support the delivery of electric utility service to customers.  This involves the operation of an infrastructure necessary to transmit electricity from the generation facility to the customer.  Period.

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NLRB Case Files and Judge’s Decision Confirm Smart Meter Fires

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Smart Meter Fire File Photo NVIn November 2014, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision for a case involving Oncor Electric Delivery Company, L.L.C. of Dallas, Texas.

This case involves an Oncor employee who was discharged (including layoff and refusal to hire) for allegedly making untruthful remarks about smart meters causing fires or damage to customers’ homes.

The ALJ decision concluded that Oncor had engaged in unfair labor practices.  Oncor was ordered to reinstate the discharged employee and “make him whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits that he suffered as a result of his unlawful discharge.”  Oncor is currently in the process of appealing the ALJ decision.

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Utility Industry Aware of Safety and Accuracy Issues with Digital Meters for Years

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

EPRI White PaperIn reviewing an electric utility industry document from 2010, it is quite clear that the industry knew of safety and accuracy issues with smart meters before they were ever manufactured and deployed.  The title of the document is “Accuracy of Digital Electricity Meters,” published by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

What is so incredible about the document is how strongly it was acknowledged that traditional analog meters were “an amazing of piece of engineering work.”

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FCC: ‘Prime Example of Institutional Corruption’

Captured AgencyIn a new publication just released from Harvard University, Norm Alster examines how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates.  What follows are selected quotations which are organized in a way to effectively create a synopsis version of the original 59-page document. [1]

“Consumer safety, health, and privacy, along with consumer wallets, have all been overlooked, sacrificed, or raided due to unchecked industry influence.” [2]

“The Federal Communications Commission sits at the heart of a bipartisan Washington web of institutional corruption that has for many years championed corporate interests, typically at public expense.  Echoing industry, the FCC has ignored the growing evidence that wireless technologies pose serious health risks.” [3]

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Fighting Smart Meters Requires More Effective Engagement with Politicians

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Fighting Smart Meters with PoliticiansThis article outlines a sometimes overlooked strategy for fighting the forced installation of smart utility meters and which would help reestablish the boundaries of governments and corporations, specifically with regard to the intrusiveness of smart grid technology and its ability to “get inside the home.”  It is possible that the approach outlined in this article may offer a more effective route to ultimate victory as compared to other options currently be utilized by many concerned consumers and activists.

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Privacy is a ‘Cause for Concern’ with Smart Meters

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Big Data Privacy IssuesWGN News in Chicago recently did a news story about smart meters [1].  The broadcast was primarily focused on the biased theme of “What’s Slowing the Savings on Smart Meters?”  This makes the naïve presumption that there are savings to eventually be gained with smart meters as customers pay additional dollars each month to have them installed.

However, there was some truth in the story that was somewhat glossed over on the subject of privacy.  In an interview with a CEO of an energy start-up company, Mark Handy stated:

The idea that you are now giving access to a granular amount of data about your consumption of energy and potentially about your activities is a cause for most people to be concerned.”

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Utilities ‘Very Excited’ about Mining Smart Meter Data and Invading Your Privacy

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Big Brother Graphic with SMAt a recent IBM-related conference, Dr. Stephen Pratt, Chief Technical Officer for CenterPoint Energy, stated the following during an interview:

“We have an entire organization that’s gotten behind data as an asset

We get a lot of data.  We do 221,000,000 meter reads a day …

We can do nothing with that data, or we can mine that data and use what we find from mining that data …

That is very exciting to me today.”

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Scientists Submit Appeal for Protection from EMF Exposures and Wireless Technologies

Source:  EMFscientist.org

emfscientist_logoNew York, NY, May 11, 2015.  Today 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, UN member states and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of risk.  These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide.

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Customer Calls, Not Smart Meters, Still Primary Source of Power Outage Notification for Utilities

The BRIDGE Energy Group has announced the results of its 2015 utility industry survey on outage and restoration management.  Despite the fact that 81% of surveyed utilities claim to have Smart Meters deployed, only 16% of these utilities use their smart meters as the primary source of power failure alerts on blue sky days and 12% during storms.

Outage Reports by Source

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We Have a “Totally Vulnerable” Electric Grid Infrastructure

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Cyber Security Clipart with Smarrt MeterCybersecurity.  Critical, critical issue.  Totally unfunded.  Totally vulnerable grid infrastructure.  Somebody’s going to bring it down.  And then it will get funded.”

Those were the words yesterday of Thomas Siebel at the Energy Thought Summit (ETS) held in Austin, Texas.  Mr. Siebel is the CEO for C3 Energy, a smart grid analytics software company and the founder of Siebel Systems, which was acquired by Oracle in January 2006.

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Smart Meters Spiral Out of Control and “Livin’ on a Prayer”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Smart Meters Out of ControlThis past week has been one of the worst ever for “smart meters” in terms of critical news reporting and negative revelations about these devices.  Clearly, things are quickly spiraling out of control worldwide in terms of anybody believing that the smart meters are anything more than a giant and costly albatross hanging around the necks of consumers.

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RF Fields Promote Tumors Below Human Exposure Limits

The results are “worrying,” say the authors of a newly published study [1] dealing with the exposure of mice to radiofrequency (RF) radiation fields.

According to Professor Alexander Lerchl, who conducted the new investigative study together with his colleagues from Jacobs University and also the University of Wuppertal in Germany, Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumors.”

Graphical Abstract for RF Article

Article/ Study Highlights (as summarized by the authors)

  • Tumor-promoting effects of RF-EMF exposed mice have been [previously] reported in 2010.
  • We have replicated the study with higher numbers of mice per group.
  • We could fully confirm the previous results, thus the effects are reproducible.
  • Apparently, no clear dose-response relationship is evident.
  • We hypothesize that metabolic changes are responsible for the effects observed.

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How Smart Water Meters Invade Privacy

Most of the focus in the media has been on smart electric meters and the many risks that these devices pose for customers and their families.  Another risk relates to privacy invasions associated with smart water meters.  A growing number of utilities are installing these devices.

Smart Water Meter System.RF1

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Smart Meter Rollout a Waste of Money Says New Study

Waste of MoneySmart meters have been advertised as a means to “empower” consumers with information that will somehow save customers money despite the fact that the deployment of the meters themselves cost billions and billions of dollars.

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‘Smart’ Meters Have Failed and Were a Dumb Investment

Failed Smart Meter ProgamHaving reached the end of 2014, there is no doubt it has been a devastating year for utility smart meters and smart grid advocates.  Whether all utility executives yet realize it or not, smart meters have failed.  They have failed miserably to the deliver the promised benefits.  We are left with nothing but the increased costs and risks associated with boondoggle projects reminiscent of pork barrel spending bills approved in the middle of the night by a Congress wanting to get home for the Christmas holidays.

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Published Article: Symptom Development from Exposure to Wireless Smart Meters

Smart Meter Graphic AAn article was just published in the November/ December 2014  issue of the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, entitled:

Self-Reporting of Symptom Development from Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields of Wireless Smart Meters in Victoria, Australia: A Case Series,” by Dr. Federica Lamech, MBBS.

No health impact studies were ever performed prior to the deployment of  wireless smart meters.  This new article showing a correlation between the introduction of smart meters and the onset of adverse health outcomes strengthens the need for independent research on the potential health impacts of this technology on the population.

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“Why Privacy Matters” by Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald PhotoJournalist Glenn Greenwald  has broken many stories on the  global surveillance being conducted by the NSA and GCHQ.  As one of the first reporters to see Edward Snowden’s files, he faced personal repercussions for his professional work — yet continues to speak publicly about mass surveillance.  In this searing talk, viewable below, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”

The presentation by Glenn Greenwald is particularly important to remind us on “why privacy matters” in a world threatened by more and more intrusive monitoring of our activities, whether it be from recording of telephone calls, tracking of Internet activity, surveillance drones, or utility smart meters.

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Ralph Nader’s Viewpoint on Smart Meters: A “Step Toward Technological Despotism”

Nader PhotoWith a career as a strong consumer advocate, Ralph Nader’s views on selected issues can many times bridge the gaps between the major political parties.  Such is the case on so-called “smart” meters.

This article highlights a portion of a recent program on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.  The program aired on Saturday, September 27, 2014, on KPFK in California.  About 15 minutes were devoted to the issue of “smart” meters, focusing primarily on the aspect of invasion of privacy.

What follows are selected quotes from Ralph Nader on the topic of utility smart meters, complete with two (2) audio files.  One 4-minute audio focuses primarily on the statements by Ralph Nader himself as a part of the radio program.  The second audio provides the entire 15-minute smart meter segment broadcast on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.

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“Microwaves, Science and Lies” Documentary Reveals a Product Defense Strategy

Introduction to the Documentary Film

Waves DVD Jacket. Front“When business leads research, can we still trust science?”

For the past ten years worldwide, questioning on the safety of mobile phone antennas has been increasing.  Numerous scientific studies have revealed the adverse effects of electro- magnetic waves on health.  Yet, most health agencies, industry representatives, and a portion the scientific community claim that current health standards adequately protect the public.

Earlier this year journalist Nancy Meritens  and film director Jean Hèches completed their documentary Ondes, Science et Manigances [or Microwaves, Science and Lies], that demonstrates how the telecommunications industry creates doubt about harmful radiofrequency waves through the manipulation of science.

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U.S. Department of Interior Declares FCC Exposure Standards “Out of Date and Inapplicable”

The U. S. Department of Interior (DOI) has declared that exposure standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are “out of date and inapplicable today.”

Cell Tower ClipartAfter reading the information provided in this blog article, maybe we can start a campaign to have some personnel transferred from the Department of Interior to the FCC.  The people at the DOI seem to have a better grasp on the hazards of radiofrequency (RF) radiation and might be more inclined to take measures to protect humans as well as fauna and flora.

What follows are excerpts from a letter dated February 7, 2014, from the United States Department of the Interior and addressed to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the United States Department of Commerce.  This letter highlights the Interior Department’s concern that cell tower RF radiation emissions have had negative impacts on the health of migratory birds, their offspring, and other wildlife species.

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The Smart Meter Canard

The Promise of the Smart Grid vs. the Smart Meter Canard …

As stated by Timothy Schoechle, Ph.D. in a document released in late 2012:

Getting SmarterThe smart meter is a canard — story or a hoax based on specious and grandiose claims about energy benefits ostensibly derived from the promise of ‘two-way’ communication with the customer.  … These energy benefits have not been delivered, or have been only minimally delivered by the meter networks.”

The meter has come to symbolize a ‘bait-and-switch’ situation, mainly to the benefit the utility industry and its vendors as well as to politicians and bureaucrats.  In their present form, smart meters offer few or no benefits to consumers, but pose significant risks and costs to them and to society.”

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Dr. Karl Maret Discusses Smart Meter Potential Health Effects

Sources of RF RadiationOn January 28, 2014, Dr. Karl Maret gave a presentation at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California on the potential biological and adverse health effects from the radiofrequency radiation emitted by “smart meters” and other wireless devices.

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Major U.S. Utility Says “No Rational Basis” for Mandating Smart Meters

NU Position on Smart MetersNortheast Utilities (NU) operates New England’s largest utility system serving more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

In a written submittal  filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, Northeast Utilities was highly critical of a proposed state plan that would require utilization of “advanced metering” or smart meters within the state of Massachusetts as part of an electrical grid modernization plan.  In fact, the comments are quite remarkable in that they appear to reflect reality without undue political spin or bias.  Let us hope that other utilities, public utility commissions, and politicians everywhere can soon come to similar unbiased conclusions that are based upon economic realities and reflect consumers’ and societal best interests.

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Radiofrequency (RF) Fields: Possibly, Probably, or Definitely Carcinogenic — The Evidence Mounts Toward the Latter.

BrainThe International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) generally categorizes agents (e.g., substances or radiation) into four (4) categories in terms of cancer causing ability:

  • Group 1:        Carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2A:     Probably carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2B:     Possibly carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 3:        Not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.

This article will demonstrate in a step by step fashion that evidence is mounting for RF radiation being considered definitely carcinogenic.  In the paragraphs that follow, information is presented showing how research data has accumulated over the past couple of years showing a progression from Group 2B to Group 2A, and finally to Group 1.  In addition, evidence continues to mount regarding other types of adverse biological effects caused by RF radiation emissions, some of which are summarized in the final section of this article.

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President Obama Touts ‘Smart Meters’ at Clean Energy Summit

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

President Obama 24 Aug 2015While primarily speaking about solar energy yesterday evening at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Obama also naively touted the purported benefits of utility smart meters.

I prepared a two-minute video clip of the President’s remarks at the Clean Energy Summit (below), but the principal statements mentioned regarding smart meters are as follows:

“Six years ago smart meters were pretty rare.  Today 60 million consumers have access to detailed information about how much energy we use, how we use it, when we use it.  So we can use that information to change our habits.  Use energy more efficiently.  Save more money without a whole lot of sacrifice.”

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Governments Planning to Use Smart Meters for the Collection of “Population Statistics”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Population Statistics Data CollectionAs recently stated by Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Few other types of data get inside the home the way that electrical usage data does.”  Governments and corporations everywhere are recognizing this fact as more and more smart meters are deployed into the population.

A new paper has just been published entitled, “The Role of Digital Trace Data in Supporting the Collection of Population Statistics – the Case for Smart Metered Electricity Consumption Data.”  This paper demonstrates how technocrats are continually finding innovative ways to use smart meter ‘big data’ while invading your privacy in the process.  Continue reading

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Smart City/Grid Technocrat Philosophy on Life: “If you are going to travel, travel now.”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Smart Grid and Smart City and PrisonsAt this website I have categorized and listed the various risks related to smart grid technology. Beyond that, however, citizens need to be aware of the policies and extremist views that many proponents of smart cities and smart grids are actually trying to implement.  These views are those of elitist technocrats who strive to create a society based upon maximum technological efficiency.

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When Water Gets Inside Smart Meters, “All Bets Are Off.”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

SmartMeter for Water ImageIn June it was reported based upon a Chicago Tribune investigation that a Chicago Suburb Claims Smart Water Meters Don’t Overcharge. “They Misrecord.”  The Tribune has continued to investigate this issue and has found problems with smart water meters in another Chicago suburb, this time in Aurora.

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Smart Meter Time Varying Pricing Can Lead to “Catastrophic Consequences” for the Grid

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Catastrophic Smart Meter SynchronizationA new study has been released based upon research at Bremen University that reveals that the use of time varying rates implemented through the mass deployment of smart meters can lead to consumer demand avalanches resulting in smart grid blackouts.

The study has the somewhat long title name of, “Econophysics of adaptive power markets:  When a market does not dampen fluctuations but amplifies them.”

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