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Opinion: “SMART” metering and you


Say goodbye to the meter reader

by Frederick Sinclair, Alfred NY

Most of us have homes, businesses, farm operations, outbuildings etc. which are in some manner connected to electric, natural gas or water provided by a utility. These services are metered by the utility, and from the , have relied on the tried and true analogue (mechanical) meter; the one with the rotating disk and dial pointers, indicating usage. Utility companies have introduced and got approval to install the “SMART” grid which will replace your existing mechanical meter with a digital wireless transmitting device which will provide real time usage monitoring  and remote control to the utility as well as provide the user with enhanced monitoring capability. For the consumer, this promises quicker response to outages, monthly actual billing, instead of estimates, and the ability to monitor usage. For the utility, the “SMART” grid enhances the ability to assess usage, via the regular two-way wireless communications between the meter and their control systems, elimination of workers reading meters and, enhanced ability to regulate distribution and bill cost based on exact time of usage.

Many states and areas of dense population have been experimented on  with the “SMART” grid. The public response has revealed some alarming criticisms regarding the real life experiences of living with these digital meters. There have been several fires caused by the digital units’ failure to handle surges. They are not as good as the old mechanical unit onboard surge suppression. The burning of entire smart grid neighborhoods in California occurred as the result of a massive surge caused by a fallen tree on high tension lines. The wireless signals broadcasted by the new digital meters have been documented to infiltrate the attached building and increase radio-frequency  exposure  of residents and nearby neighbors. In apartment buildings with multiple, and in some cases banks of meters, the combined radio frequency exposures exceed FCC and OSHA regulations. People with Electro Hyper Sensitivity (EHS) have been made ill by the radio signal broadcasting units installed close to living quarters. The transforming of voltage to transmit data has also been shown to be a source of dirty electricity and increased EMF in building wiring systems. Strong public complaints have resulted in State and City laws enacted, requiring utilities to provide “Opt-Out”  options where the owner can keep the original meter. In New York this is an option and there is, however, a monthly charge to cover the employment of the meter reader.  That charge is reasonable because consumer complaints indicate that the new meters result in higher bills than the old.  You can find out more about Opt-Out by contacting your electric and or natural gas provider. A good webpage to learn more is

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