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Smart meters generate concern PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stephen English   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 21:05

Though electric utility smart meters are becoming more common across Texas, a number of area residents, including Jonathan Love of Lantana, are resisting the switch and speaking out about their concerns.

CoServ, the Corinth-based electric cooperative which provides his and other residents' electricity, began installation of the smart meters in its "eCoGrid" project in March and expects to complete the project by April 2013 in areas they serve in Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Double Oak, Flower Mound, and Highland Village.

The digital meters are replacing the old rotating analog meters and will communicate wirelessly with the electric company.  Currently, there is no option available to opt out of the program.

"My main privacy concern is the immense amount of data the meters are designed to collect," Love said." As far as I am concerned, the meter is a surveillance device. They are going to collect data as if I were a prisoner with an ankle bracelet."

The cooperative, which refers to its customers as Members, has said there's nothing sinister about smart readers. Kathryn Gloria, CoServ’s marketing and communications director, addressed some of the common concerns.

"The company recognizes that a few Members are uncertain about the technology associated with advanced meters, and feels that most concerns stem from incorrect information driven by Internet propaganda," Gloria said.

Gloria said the meter only transmits data related to electricity use and that "per our privacy policy, Member information is not shared with any unauthorized party, and individual Member usage is not reported to the government."

Such assurances are of little comfort to Love. He said his problem is the information he believes can be deduced by the smart readers.

"If I set up a camera in front of your home and took a picture every 15 minutes and used the pictures in ways you could not control, would that be an invasion of privacy? Of course it would," Love said. "The meters will read your usage every 15 minutes for the rest of your life. There are about 2,500 homes in Lantana. That translates into over 7,200,000 data points per month. They will know when you're home or not and almost exactly what appliances are running."

But Gloria says the smart meters aren't really that powerful.

"They serve the same purpose and measure energy exactly the same way the old meters measure energy," she said. "The meter is simply a gateway where the power passes from the utility to the consumer — and it’s either on or it’s off. The energy control a utility has with an advanced meter is the ability to remotely connect or disconnect service (e.g., used for quick, efficient move in/out service and for disconnect for nonpayment) — again, the ability for the utility to turn the flow of power on or off."

Love said CoServ has not addressed his concerns, however.

"I have expressed my concerns to (CoServ) and they dismissed my concerns about privacy and pointed to their Privacy Policy," he said. "However, they could change the policy any time they choose. Who owns this mountain of data? What if the police or your insurance company 'asked' for the data? Would they be required to get a subpoena? I doubt it. (CoServ representatives) state in their e-mailed responses that they are not under the authority of the Public Utility Commission."

Gloria said CoServ is not interested in prying into its customers' lives.

"Please understand that CoServ has no interest in knowing how long an individual ran a blender, dried a load of clothes, ran their pool pump, or how much energy is used to heat or cool their home, unless we can use this information to help a Member, when requested by the Member, understand where they can potentially reduce their electric bill."

Love remains hopeful that the state government can at least compel CoServ and other electric utilities to allow customers to opt out of smart meter programs.

"My hope is that our elected officials will stop or delay the implementation of these meters so that our state legislators can deal with the issue in the next session," he said. "The meters should be voluntary. If the meter was so effective and of such an advantage to me, CoServ would not have to make it mandatory."

Find out more about the new meters at www.coserv.com.

 

 

Comments  

 
+2 #11 Bert 2013-01-16 02:50
Don't take anything less than a total ban the smart meters or digital only meters,they both give off the same switch mode, EMF low voltage high frequency spikes in you home wiring ,that is why we all get sick. It is a slow kill device for the average person. The elite bankers are behind all of this, "The love of money is the root of all EVIL"!
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+1 #10 CC Hillbilly 2012-12-08 20:57
For more information:

http://www.refusesmartmeters.com/
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0 #9 stupid meters 2012-12-01 03:52
http://contractingbusiness.com/news/Smart-Meters-HVAC-Contractors-challenges-Bryan-Rocky-JCI-1026/
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0 #8 Susan B 2012-10-22 11:06
All Readers should visit "Correcting the Gross Misinformation About Smart Meters" http://maisonsaine.ca/smart-meters-correcting-the-gross-misinformation, a position statement signed by 54+ well-respected, international RF (radiofrequency ) experts who have published peer-reviewed papers on the topic. They give hard evidence of why smart meters are dangerous. Well-respected by all but the Industry, that is. As the victim of two smart meters that were forced onto my property for two years, till we obtained a hard-won opt-out, I can attest that the horrific devices are defective, dangerous, and ruined my health, irrevocably. My story is here http://lamesa.patch.com/blog_posts/living-nightmare-how-sdge-smart-meters-led-to-my-headaches-sleeping-ills-hearing-loss and I urge you to read it also. I started a nonprofit to alert the public - www.electrosmogprevention.org. Smart meters are no laughing matter. They are a huge threat to the public health and to our liberties, like no other.
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+1 #7 CC Hillbilly 2012-10-20 19:06
I am so weary of this Big Brother controlled world. I really, really hate it.

Now I hate CoServ too.

I guess I will just have to go off grid and tell them to stick their coop electricity up the back end of their alimentary canal.
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+11 #6 Gary Kerr 2012-10-19 12:16
My life experience has taught me that when somebody tries really hard to convience you how good this "deal" is for you and how safe it is for you, your about to get fleeced by them. The Federal Government "gave" CoServ at least a portion of the money in implement this smart meter exchange. You know you can trust the feds, ask any indian.
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-3 #5 Dumb Meter 2012-10-17 14:29
They can already 'regulate' your power without the smart meter.
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+8 #4 Agree Also 2012-10-17 13:26
The issue at hand is not what the meters can do today. The real issue is whether what the meters will enable in the future. Do you, as a homeowner, want to install an uncontrolled/unregulated gateway on your home?

Products are being developed as we type to install at the point of load (eg. Refrigerator) that can communicate with the meter (gateway) and be turned off by the utility for peak shaving.

I'm no tinfoil hat wearing individual, just a resident whose company sells semiconductors to the meter companies and know very clearly what the product roadmaps contain.

The vision is to have every load contain an IP address and be connected like a computer..... Just imagine the risks involved with such a scheme.

Do yourself a favor and Google "Smart Grid" and educate yourselves.

On a final note, it is my experience when somebody says "Trust me there is nothing to worry about", there is usually much to worry about.
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-7 #3 Chris 2012-10-17 10:27
LMAO. Paranoid much? What are you trying to hide from CoServ???
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+9 #2 Agree, too 2012-10-17 09:46
The door tag left when they installed our meter mentions that CoServ will have the future ability to manage flows and peak usage. Big Brother will decide when and how much electricity you get, and tie pricing to it, I would bet.

Mr. Love is correct to question the information not only collected by the meters, but the information that can be extrapolated from the base data, and who would ultimately have the ability to compel CoServ to turn over that information.
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