There has recently been increased recognition that smart meters are “not so smart.” People are finally catching on everywhere to the clever use of “smart” semantics that was more hype and propaganda than reality. Just within the past couple of days there have been two insightful articles/ news stories that will be summarized below.
Why Smart Meters Don’t Make a Smart Grid
On May 29th, there was a segment as part of a Wyoming Public Radio program, entitled, “INSIDE ENERGY: Why Smart Meters Don’t Make a Smart Grid.”
Here is an excerpt from the Wyoming Public Radio news story including a 3 – minute audio clip:
“[In 2009], Obama promised $3.4 billion dollars of stimulus money from the 2009 Recovery Act to do for power what the Eisenhower administration did for the roads. The new grid would be smart and efficient, bringing the tech revolution to electricity. It would incorporate more renewable energy. It would have the ability to fix blackouts more quickly. And, it would save customers a whole lot of money.
So whatever happened to that plan?
In practice, the President’s lofty goals have taken shape mostly in the form of a technology called smart meters. Like a FitBit for your house, the meters collect data about a home’s electricity use several times an hour and then send that data to your power company. In his Florida speech, Obama declared they would lay the foundation for a modern grid — and be good for customers too. …
… just 5 percent of all Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power’s customers have looked at their [smart meter granular] usage on the website.
Smart meters may not have delivered the promised revolution for customers, but they’ve proven a boon for the utility companies.
Seidel [representing Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power] notes that the smart meters save the company money by eliminating the need for human meter readers. Moreover, smart meters let the utility know quickly when there’s an outage, instead of depending on a customer phone call as in the past. …
If all smart meters accomplish, though, is cutting costs for utilities and telling us when the power is out, then maybe the smart grid isn’t so smart after all.”
Based upon this news story, the realized “benefits” so far for smart meters are (1) the utility being to “eliminate the need for human meter readers” and (2) letting the utility know more quickly when there is an outage. I doubt the laid off “human” meter readers appreciate that benefit and where those same meter readers could perform a brief visual inspection each month of the old analog meters to ensure no unsafe electrical conditions exist near the meters.
On the subject of outage notification, the smart meter is not actually very reliable as was discussed at this website in a separate article entitled, “Customer Calls, Not Smart Meters, Still Primary Source of Power Outage Notification for Utilities.”
The Wise Grid Series: Smart Meters Are Not Smart
On May 27th, Camilla Rees wrote an article for Mother Earth News entitled, “The Wise Grid Series, Part 1: Smart Meters Are Not Smart.” From the article:
“As was explained in the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy’s Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid report by Timothy Schoechle, PhD, the new meters help the utility industry’s bottom line, as by a law the utilities can charge ratepayers enough to recoup their investment, plus an additional a 10-13 percent return, depending on the state. But the billions spent on meters is wasting federal tax dollars, increasing ratepayer utility bills and, importantly, not delivering on the benefits claimed.
The ‘story’ about the value of the “smart” meters is that the meters are necessary to upgrade the electricity grid, that they have energy efficiency benefits, and that installing them will facilitate integration of renewable energy technologies. This is what communities across the country are being told. None of these claims are true.”
You can refer to the article at Mother Earth News to fully review and appreciate its content. Here we will summarize just a few additional key points:
“Data to be collected by the smart meters, including intimate personal details of citizens’ lives, is not necessary to the basic purpose of the smart grid, such as supply/demand balancing, demand response (DR), dynamic pricing, renewable integration, or local generation and storage, as promoters of the meters, and uninformed parties, routinely claim.”
“Federal, state and local governments have mistakenly believed that the installation of smart meters will somehow lead to reduction in use of fossil fuels, greater electricity efficiency and long-term energy economy benefits.”
“Much of the multi-billion dollar federal subsidy for smart meters does not benefit ratepayers, nor support economic growth, but primarily benefits meter and meter networking manufacturers.”
“When I learned billions of dollars were wasted on meters purporting to be ‘smart’, I realized how desperately we need accountability in Washington. The magnitude of the misspending is mind-boggling. I wonder how policymakers could not have understood the technology’s limitations. Did they just not do their homework, swayed by utility industry lobbyists? Did they not realize stimulus funding could have been better spent on other investments to move us forward faster toward a clean energy economy?”
So there you have it, … more perspective on how “Smart Meters Have Failed and Were a Dumb Investment.” Plus, smart meters expose you and society to tremendous risks including privacy invasions, cyber threats, fires, increased financial burden, and health issues.
For those who see this article, please share with your friends, so more consumers will become aware of the misguided actions of our government, the utilities, and the smart grid industry. To have better success at fighting smart meters, we need greater numbers of people involved in the process.
Source Material for this Article
“INSIDE ENERGY: Why Smart Meters Don’t Make a Smart Grid,” at http://wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/inside-energy-why-smart-meters-dont-make-smart-grid
“The Wise Grid Series, Part 1: Smart Meters Are Not Smart,” at http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/smart-meters-are-not-smart-zbcz1505.aspx