FAQ: “Smart” Meter Basics

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Q: What is a “smart” meter?

“Smart” Meters are digital utility meters that send customers’ detailed usage information to the utility using a radio-frequency transmitter (or over the power lines in the case of Powerline Carrier (PLC) systems.  The meter also contains other capabilities, such as remote shut-off. They are part of a larger plan to change the electricity grid to a “smart” grid–though there is controversy about whether the customer meter is actually crucial to that change. Electric smart meters are replacing older analog style meters, while gas “smart” meters are generally small devices attached to existing gas meters.  Wireless water meters are also being installed in many regions.

“Smart” meter planning in the United States is related to the Energy Act of 2005 and administered by the US Dept of Energy, the FCC, and each state’s public utilities commission (PUC). However, in that Act, there was NO mandate to force all residential customers to accept installation of “smart” meters–only that they would be offered. Local utility companies in many states have been approved to install “smart” meters but this does NOT mean you have to accept them on your home or business.

Q: How do I know if I have a “smart” meter or not?

See these photos of “smart” meters and these photos of analog meters, and compare to your own.

Non-transmitting analog (mechanical) electric meters have 5 small clock-like dials and a glass casing which allows you to see the spinning dial inside. “Smart” meters have digital displays and plastic casings which you cannot see into.  Recent “smart” meters often have the word “smart” on the front, but absence of this label is no guarantee it isn’t transmitting. There are a very few mechanical meters which have a wireless-transmitting capability, which can only be identified by measuring RF emissions.

Utilities use a dizzying list of acronyms and technical terms to describe their ‘smart’ grid systems.  Many insist that their meters aren’t the ‘smart’ meters that have been causing all the problems. ALL of the meter types below are ‘smart’ and are associated with health and safety problems:

AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) enables two-way wireless communication between the utility and the meter.  Enables remote shut off & control of appliances.

AMR (Automatic Meter Reading- or ERT) meters are typically wireless one-way meters that report usage to utility personnel in a vehicle with a handheld device. Includes ‘bubble up’ meters that transmit all the time, and ‘wake up’ systems that transmit when they receive a signal.

PLC (Power Line Communication) uses the power lines to transmit utility usage data.  Though this is a wired system, ‘dirty electricity’ used to send the signal also radiates into living spaces from unshielded wiring.

“Radio Off” Digital Meters can still act as a surveillance device.  They also use switch mode power supplies, linked to dirty electricity and health problems.

Bottom line: A ‘smart’ meter is any utility meter that contains electronic components.  Do not accept anything less than a ‘purely electro-mechanical analog meter with no electronic components.’  Be aware that some utilities have been installing meters that appear to be analogs but in fact are fully activated ‘smart’ meters.  More on the “trojan horse analog problem” here.

Q: Can a “smart” meter be harmful to my health or unsafe?

Wireless “smart” meters emit radio-frequency microwave radiation (called “RF”), similar to that used by cell phones and wifi routers. The transmissions from “smart” meters go on day and night, and are not directly related to the amount or time of household usage. See section on Mesh Network. This frequency is part of the range of frequencies recently placed in the category “possible human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization (May 2011).

Public health professionals and scientists have been concerned about human exposure to this type of low-level radiation for some time now. You may have read about ways to reduce your exposure to the RF from your cell phone. But a “smart” meter is an RF emitter that you have no control over. There is no “off” switch, nor can you move it to a different location in your home. See section on RF Radiation Issues, or section on Health Issues.

Dirty electricity from all digital electronic meters is a hazard- read more on dirty electricity here.

Q: How could the government allow “smart” meters if they are harmful or unsafe?

Many scientists and academics have written to government agencies in charge of the decision to deploy “smart” meters, to alert them as to the possible dangers in such a widespread public exposure to RF, and to urge commissions in charge of overseeing utilities to exercise more precaution. Examples: Here is a letter from the California Department of Public Health (pdf). This page contains other objections submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission from medical and public health authorities and qualified individuals.

While the elected bodies of some towns, counties, cities, and states have taken notice of the dangers involved, many have not, choosing instead to swallow the assertions made by utilities of public safety and cost-saving. Often small government agencies are at the mercy (or in the pockets) of the utilities they oversee, which are large, well-financed corporations, and thus don’t heed these calls for caution.

In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission, a regulatory body with no doctors or medical professionals on staff, has set the guidelines for public RF exposure at a very high level, based on biased and incomplete science dating back to the 1950s. The FCC also appears to have waived some requirements for “smart”-meter manufacturers, allowing them to bend several rules that were intended to protect the public, such as not locating one transmitting meter near another transmitting meter (colocation). See this post about the FCC and “smart” meter violations. Apartment dwellers need only look for the “bank” of meters that service their building to see the precaution about colocation violated.  Another provision that is ignored is the 20cm distance that is supposed to be enforced, keeping people from coming closer than that (about 8 inches). No “smart” meter has ever been installed in a way intended to keep people at that minimum distance.

Another FCC violation is the matter of transmitting power. A recent admission from a “smart” meter manufacturer affirmed that because of the type of antenna in their “smart” meter, the power of the transmitter may exceed the FCC limits. [See Sept 14, 2011 CPUC "opt-out" workshop videos, Part 2, at 0:13 and Part 5 at 0:16].

The current attitude of governmental bodies in the United States is that if radiation doesn’t heat tissue, it is considered safe. Ionizing radiation (e.g. x-rays) can alter molecular structures and standards for this type of radiation have been established. Non-ionizing radiation (such as cell-phone and “smart”-meter radiation) has been considered safe by government agencies because it doesn’t heat at lower levels of exposure. But a growing number of scientists, researchers, and experts feel this is a flawed position. Clear biological effects have been observed at “non-thermal” levels–most notably DNA breaks, breaches of the blood-brain barrier, and increases in brain glucose metabolism.

The RF emissions spikes from “smart” meters are supposedly under these very liberal FCC guidelines, but if the guidelines are flawed, as many who study the effects of low-level RF on humans and animals think they are, then “smart” meters are indeed a very dumb idea. See also: The Bioinitiative Report; The Seletun Statement; The  Sage Report on Smart Meter RF

Q: Who, then, does the “smart” meter benefit?

Only the utility companies benefit. The utility can save itself money by getting rid of meter readers. Because the “smart” meter measures hour by hour, the utility can charge you more for electricity used during certain periods of the day of their choosing.

Their story is that this device will save you money. But there are no studies, no evidence, to back this up. In fact, in the one study done so far (from Canada), customers’ bills went up, not down. There is only one thing that will save you money on your utility bill, and that is using less electricity or gas. This is easily achievable by reducing your use of high-wattage devices (e.g. electric clothes dryer, air conditioner, and so on), choosing energy-saving appliances when it’s time to buy, and taking care to switch off electrical items not in use. Here are some ideas.

Q: I don’t want a “smart” meter. How can I avoid having one installed?

Three things: Secure your analog meter (make sure it is one first!); write your utility to let them know you refuse any “smart” meter; and/or prevent trespass on your property by your presence. Be aware that measures other than these, such as signs, have failed. Utilities have also destroyed locks and vandalized property but this opens them up to property destruction charges.

Take action now to safeguard your old meter. Prevent tampering by following some of the suggestions on this pages: Defend Your Analog Meter.

If your state or area has an opt-out, call now to make your wishes known. If it does not have such an option, advocate for it and in the mean time, take direct action and secure your analog meter. Without an opt-out, you can try calling, but your utility is very unlikely to want to allow you a choice, as they save money getting rid of your meter reader, and the mesh network depends on everyone having one of these meters. Still, some people have demanded their right to an analog, and done so repeatedly, and been able to keep or regain an analog. Prevent regret by securing your meter now.

Some people have suggested posting a sign alone is sufficient, but we have heard of too many signs simply ripped down by installers to recommend that you rely on this.  You should also adapt and send this letter, but it alone is no guarantee of avoiding installation.

Your bodily presence on your property is the best protection you can have. You have the right to prevent trespass on your property. Even one renter can ask a trespasser to leave from a building or complex. Installation periods for your area are the time to be on guard. This is difficult for many who work, but you can authorize someone else to act in your place if you need to, including neighbor. Here’s one neighbor’s story of protecting his neighborhood.

Preventing access does not mean you don’t want to pay your bill or cheat your utility; it is protecting your health and safety. If you need to, learn to read your own meter and post the numbers for your current reader, if you have one still, or send them to your utility—so that you can protect your meter by limiting access.

No one we know of has had their power cut by taking these measures. They may have been threatened, but they have not been cut off. The bottom line is that your utility has no legal right to force a “smart” meter on your home against your will.  They will threaten you with fines and service disconnection but in the end they do not have a legal right to force a device that emits what even the World Health Organization considers a Class 2B carcinogen.

Rest assured that not one single household has had their electricity switched off for refusing a “smart” meter. No fines have been levied for refusing a “smart” meter.  Our advice is to lock up your existing analog meter securely, and ignore their letters.  Talk to your neighbors and if they come to the neighborhood be prepared to drive them away.

If they disconnect your power, contact your public utilities commission immediately–they cannot disconnect a paying customer. Write us and we will publicize your story–that is just the sort of publicity that utilities try hard to avoid. As of Sept 19, 2011, The Utility Reform Network (TURN) says PG&E has no right to cut you off for refusing a “smart” meter.

Q: I already have a “smart” meter. I don’t want it. What can I do?

You can try to get your utility to change your meter to an analog or a non-transmitting meter. PG&E recently installed an analog for a customer:
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/11/01/pge-begins-removing-smart-meters-due-to-health-effects/

Two other CA customers have demanded the CPUC for analogs and been granted them:
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/09/22/cpuc-you-can-go-back-to-the-analog-meter/
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/10/13/cpuc-grants-sce-customer-an-analog-meter/

Call your utility (number is on your bill) and tell you want an analog meter. Ask to speak to someone in management. If you have been made ill by your ‘smart’ meter, tell them about it in detail. Tell them you know of the people who have gotten analogs. Tell them you are going to the press if they don’t do the same thing for you they have done for others. IF you accept a digital non-transmitting meter, be aware they also have problems, and are not proven safe like analog meters. Do not take ‘No’ for an answer—ask to speak to someone higher up. Report what you find back to Stop Smart Meters—we are keeping track of how people do when requesting analogs from their utility.

Some people, desperate to regain their health, have had ‘smart’ meters swapped out for analogs by electricians. Please read our section on changing a meter.

In addition, File a complaint in these places:

http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=2292

And the CPUC:

https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/?key=39949189

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67 Responses to FAQ: “Smart” Meter Basics

  1. Pingback: Get smart about smart meters | Karen Kingston's Blog

  2. Michael Grigoriadis says:

    Hi,

    This article is heavily biased and is not suitable for studying smart meters. I’m doing research on smart meters in Finland’s Aalto Uni as a school project. The benefits of customers in smart meters is at least: the posibility to shift your usage of high-wattage devices to hours when the electricity is cheaper -> cheaper electricity bill without reducing your electricity usage.

    I hope that the readers of this article don’t believe your anti-smartmeter propaganda.

    • admin says:

      @Michael Grigoriadis We respectfully suggest that you may know something about how smart meters work in theory, and you might find that theoretical idea appealing–your livelihood may even depend on people accepting them–but you know nothing about how these devices are actually affecting people in real life.

      PG&E chose a unit that is 4x as strong in emissions than other models, and some are configured to pulse 200,000x a day. People are sick. Complaints have been pouring into the CPUC, SmartMeterHelp.com, and other public agencies. We hear from people daily who have been made ill. RF in the microwave range is a IARC Class 2B carcinogen, and people have a basic human right to protect themselves from having a transmitter on their home.

      You are a perfect instance of how people in the industry and in academia are utterly cut off from the real-life consequences of what you are imposing on the populace. Stop drinking the company kool-aid, get out of your ivory tower, wake up and start doing some real investigation.

    • Paul H says:

      @Michael Grigoriadis Your comment seemed to imply that our pocketbook is more important than our health. I would not want to trade places with a billionaire that suffered from the symptoms forced on me due to a smart meter. I have experienced life with one of these pieces of death pulsing microwaves on my copper wiring throughout my home.

      I no longer have your smart meter on my home and I have felt like a million bucks since. So I guess my point would be, would you rather feel rich or just be rich an feel like your dying?

      • Judy Ritchie says:

        Good for you! So many people have their heads…let me put it this way, up their yazoo when it comes to this important issue.

    • bill says:

      “benefits of customers in smart meters is at least: the possibility to shift your usage of high=wattage devices to hours when the electricity is cheaper…”

      If everybody “shifts” their usage from “peak power” periods to “off peak” power periods, it simply creates a new “peak power” period.

      • paul says:

        I think the idea is to shift some of the peak power to non peak periods this results in a load averaging and ultimately can lower infrastructure and delivery costs.

    • Bridgette says:

      @Michael Grigoriadis
      We need help on a Smart Meter project for school and we have no idea what this thing is about and we would like to know if you would help us on this project since you have done it before.

    • Veronica says:

      I have three smart meters on my home. No savings but severe headaches, erratic hypertension, heart palpitations, burning of my skin and eyes, unable to remain asleep and developed electrosensitivity. No body cares that I have had to leave my brand new home, have to dive three towns over at 5 am to take get my kids to school, am living anywhere I can to get away from the rf’s now that I have become sensitized due to the overexposure to the three meters constant emissions–up to and possibly over 180,000 pulsed transmissions per day. If the meter hasn’t affect you, yeah for you!! Now everybody has the same physiology and biological makeup. Look around–some people get cancer and some don’t. You may have high blood pressure and maybe your spouse doesn’t. You may develop Alzheimer’s and I may not. Does my not developing Alzheimer’s mean that you couldn’t possible have a legitimate case of Alzheimer’s. If You fall and break your leg but I fall and don’t break my leg, does that mean that you can’t really have a broken leg, that you are faking it, or that it is all in your head? I’m so sick of people telling me what is truly happening to people affected by these meters and what isn’t truly happening because of them. When you live the nightmare, then come talk to me. Otherwise, don’t pretend that you can know what is happening to others. Are you a physicist, electrical engineer, biochemist, physician, researcher??? If not, then thanks for your unprofessional opinion. But I will use what is happening to me and all the info out there that shows these things are unsafe for the population.

    • Paul says:

      Michael Grigoriadis, wanted to ask that why aren’t GSM modules being used for transmission already considering the hazardous effects of Radio Frequency Transmission?

    • Fritzli Buerli says:

      Before speaking of so called smartmeter propaganda, you’d better check out the studies of Dr. Mikko Ahonen, university of Tampere, Finnland. No matter for whom you may be writing incomplete or false witnesses about another source of microwave pollution technologies, please stop swearing on brilliant and enlightening articles as above. Ever been thing of sweaping work – sometimes it’ll help in thinking, arguing and taking a deep breath of fresh energie – called freedom!

  3. Richard says:

    @admin: “RF in the microwave range is a IARC Class 2B carcinogen…” It *is*? That’s not how I read their assessment, and I think you know that just as well as anyone. Correct?

    • admin says:

      “So the classification 2B, possibly carcinogenic, holds for all types of radiation within the radiofrequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum, including the radiation emitted by base-station antennas, radio/TV towers, radar, Wi-Fi, smart meters, etc.”

      Those are the words of Robert A. Baan, The IARC Monographs IARC, Lyon, FRANCE, after the announcement was made, in an email response to someone asking for clarification on the matter. PDF here.

      • Richard says:

        Exactly…And the key distinction here is the word “possibly”, and that *is* important. Wouldn’t you agree that “possibly carcinogenic” has a very different meaning than “is carcinogenic”, and that your readers might value conveyance of truth rather than misrepresentation of the truth? Maybe you meant to convey the true meaning of the 2B classification, but that’s not what came across in your reply to MG.

        • @Richard: do you ever get tired of being a troll?

          on December 9, 2011 you posted:

          “You’re too kind.
          I won’t be reading or posting here any more.
          Goodbye.”

          Your insistence that we all be as redundant as you is laughable.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_IARC_Group_1_carcinogens
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_IARC_Group_2A_carcinogens
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_IARC_Group_2B_carcinogens
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_IARC_Group_3_carcinogens

          • Richard says:

            Is it trolling to point out the facts, so that forum readers understand the truth behind the hype? I’m not looking for an argument; just wanting to share the facts. You can’t–well, you can, but one shouldn’t–cherry pick and alter the facts to suit your argument. To state that “RF in the microwave range is a IARC Class 2B carcinogen” is totally misleading. It is *not* known to be a carcinogen, and to mislead the public with such baloney is what’s laughable.

          • Sam says:

            The American EPA list Radiofrequencies as a class 2A PROBABLE Carcinogen in their draft report. The financial repercussions to industry were too great and only as a result of intensive industry lobbying was it listed as a 2B possible. Remember it was for all intensive purposes meant to be published as a 2A PROBABLE.

        • baldrad says:

          Richard and fellow travelers buy into AGW hysteria/hype (the supposed raison d’etre for smart meters in the first place), then object to radiation concerns as stated here as “hype”.

          Hilarious.

          • Richard says:

            This is not the place for debating AGW… But since you brought it up… Is it the reason for the existence of SmartMeters? I really don’t know… But I certainly am glad that we don’t have to communicate anymore through tin cans connected by a string. :-)

        • Paul H says:

          Lead paint is in the same class 2b category. Chronic exposure to anything affecting us on a biological level is a poison. The professors can’t teach their pre med students common sense.

          • Richard says:

            Yes, Paul…We all know that lead has been placed in the same class (2B), but just because it is toxic to humans (affecting brain development, etc.) does not make it carcinogenic to humans.

            Lead is a very definite toxin in humans, but its “carcinogenicity” rests on limited or insufficient evidence to support the notion that it “is possibly carcinogenic to humans”. http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Preamble/CurrentPreamble.pdf

            And I love how “baldrad” accuses me (for some reason) of buying into AGW, when both of you clearly have bought into the limited and insufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of low-power RF radiation.

            Your arguments again fall flat. Bummer.

          • Paul H says:

            Richard, since you brought up the notion that lead is toxic to our brains, are you ignoring that our brains absorb microwaves? Or are you saying that there is no evidence that microwaves have an affect on water? Are you ignoring that our brains use electricity at a much lower frequency to function properly? Did you know that the pineal gland produces melatonin when it doesn’t sense light? Are you aware that the pineal gland recognizes microwaves as light and stops or decreases melatonin production? Did you know that melatonin is four times more powerful than vitamin c? Did you know that women working night shifts have a higher rate of cancer and lower levels of melatonin?

            Please look into these questions (statements) and verify them for yourselves. There is a reason why we have day and night. We need darkness for production of melatonin. As we sleep microwaves from the smart meter are absorbed by our brains. This is why people all over America are waking up at the time mass amounts of data are being sent. Ask your friends if they are waking at 3am. This may shock you.

          • Richard says:

            Paul, I realize that you like to cite the 3AM wakening as some sort of anomaly related to SmartMeter transmission, but you have never (to my knowledge) demonstrated the increased transmission activity… and, anyhow, most adults will wake about that time as part of a normal sleep cycle… So, should anyone be surprised that all of their neighbors are waking about that time? Seems pretty normal to me. Anyone else want to weigh in here? AND if anyone can demonstrate the correlation of sleep disturbance with increased SmartMeter activity, then I’m all ears. I’d love to see your data. :-)

          • Richard says:

            And, FWIW, here’s a link to visualize a “normal” sleep cycle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnogram

          • Paul H says:

            What is the mechanism?

            The pineal gland produces melatonin (the stuff that makes you sleep) when the eye doesn’t sense light waves.

            http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/otherendo/pineal.html

            Light waves are identical to man made rf waves.

            When light waves or rf waves are absorbed by the eye melatonin production is stopped and then serotonin is produced. Hence the instant “feel like you drank a pot of coffee feeling”. I’ve noticed that dogs and rooster are being affected.

            Smart meters turn the power up to 4 watts for 90 seconds once a day. Sometimes it’s the 3am hour and also have noticed the 4am time period too (I have both a bulky spectrum analyzer and portable density analyzer) . The type of communication used by the smart meter penetrates most everything in your home and is amplified by up to 20db, when absorbed by metal. Every home is composed of different metals It would be difficult to find identical situations.

            Water absorbs energy emitting from the smart meter. This might be why only one person in the bed wakes up. That person may have absorbed the energy that was directed towards the head.

            Did ya get it?

    • http://terrance.who.int/mediacentre/audio/press_briefings/VPC_31MAY2011_IARCmonograph.mp3

      “Let me just briefly summarize in English that in fact the topic for this meeting was “Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields” and this includes the microwaves. Most of the epidemiological evidence as we have summarized here is from epidemiological studies on the use of mobile phones and certain brain cancers, but the microwaves are in fact included in the wider evaluation.”

      hopefully that clears things up for you.

  4. Cecilia Redman says:

    I was just told that if I don’t accept the smart meter, AEP, here in Texas will cut off my electricity. I am disabled and cannot afford to have my electric cut off so I told them to go ahead and install the meter. I do not have what it takes to fight these people. This is just the beginning of Communism in the good old USA and they know that many of us can’t do anything about it.

    • Adam says:

      What are you talking about? This is the exact opposite of communism. This is deregulated capitalism, where the business gets to decide what it wants to do without any interference from government.

      • czehfus says:

        This is not capitalism. Free market capitalism would have other utilities to choose from. This is collectivist utilities that are supported by government. The Public Service Commissions do not allow alternative utilities to even exist. One must go off grid on their own and figure it out and pay for it. It is against the law to make a new utility that offers analog meters. No competition is allowed. That is more like socialism in a forced way. There are NO options or choices in a controlled public utility situation. That is not capitalism, my friend.

      • Paul H says:

        While Al Gore was in office a nasty little bill called The Telecommunication Act was made. It must be a total coincidence that he heavily invested in the technology that delivers death? Most people on his side are coincidentally into eugenics.

        The power companies were given billions to the power companies to implement it.

        Everyone is to have a cellphone and it just so happens to be part of the Obamacare bill. In poor areas there are stands handing out free cellphones.

        There is nothing capitalist about anything mentioned above.

        • Dan says:

          All the problems you speak of I have noticed as well as people I know Here in Santa Barbara VP Al Gore came to town to speak about Gobal warning. He thought the city schould paint the sidewalks blue to show you will be under water, Then bought one of them for 10-11 million.If that dosen’t sum it up I don’t know what dose !!!
          .

    • tina g says:

      Cecilia u do have a choice I know its hard since u are disabled but look for freedomtakers.com you can purchase the letters you are suppose to send them just pay $9.95 make sure it is certified letter you sent to the electric company and give them a deadline to install the analog mechanical meter. If they don’t let them know that you will be informing ur attorney and that they are violating your federal constitutional title 18 and that you would call the cops and let them know that your rights are being violated and that it is a health hazard do some research about what you can do he has a lot of knowledge.

  5. Redi Kilowatt says:

    In the United States, the trademarked name SmartMeter is registered with the SmartSync corporation.
    When I write about SmartMeters, I am writing about the radio electric meters used by PG&E (northern California).
    The term smart grid, and super smart grid are not registered trademarks, just names cooked up by promoters of a more advanced power grid. We don’t have a “smart power grid” here in PG&E territory, but there are a few small regions in the U.S. and Canada that do have “smart grids”.
    The SmartMeters used here are Automated Meter Reading (AMR) devices, and the radio network that collects the data built into the SmartMeters (manufactured by Silver Springs Networks) is strictly an AMR system, it is not capable of : real time total electrical use, demand response, bi-directional electricity management or recording, monitoring power quality issues or cost of service measurements.
    What many people seem to be confused about is the misleading marketing and sales hype. The sales engineers like to refer to the much more advanced (and much more expensive) Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) meters.
    An AMI meter costs about 15 times as much as an AMR meter, and the utility corporations would never deploy such an advanced meter on any residential property unless the customer pays about $5000+ to the utility company and the additional cost of other computer and electrical equipment.
    The AMR meters that PG&E uses only use the Silver Springs mesh network to communicate total electrical usage in 4 hour blocks of time in data packets to the utility.
    A commercial/industrial AMI meter supposedly can transmit on a mesh network, but not a Silver Springs Network. But an AMI meter can transmit on a mobile broadband network (3-4G), Power Line Carrier (RF on power lines), RS-232, RS-485 and Analog Phone Modem. In other words, wired not wireless. AMI meters have been in use for decades in commercial/industrial applications such as large radio stations, municipal water and sewer treatment plants, solar and other generation plants, large manufacturing facilities, top secret government operations and transportation systems, etc. , etc.
    An AMI meter can be programmed to support five demand measures, real time pricing, real time data monitoring, bi-directional monitoring for solar and vehicle chargers and return load to the power grid, time of use data, demand response data, transformer and line loss compensation, power factor, 4 quadrant measurements, instrument transformer correction and increased recording channels.
    The AMI meters have a programmable sag and swell monitor that logs voltage sag and swell duration down to one cycle, minimum or maximum voltage, coincident current and date and time of occurance.
    Voltage and current THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) per phase. TDD (Total Demand Distortion), Distortion Power Factor, Displacement Power Factor, Distortion KVA, and distortion KVAh (all recordable).
    Harmonic analysis plots odd and even harmonic magnitudes and phase angles.
    Programmable diagnostics for voltage imbalance, distortion, current imbalance, and high neutral current. These events may be logged, set an alert, and initiate a call in.
    All these features are not to monitor any individual device or appliance down line from the meter , they are to monitor the power quality and condition of the power being fed into the AMI meter. This data is critical to the operation of any manufacturing batch plant, like cyrogenic pharmaceutical operations , pill counting and tabbing machines, food processing plants, financial equipment like currency counters, automated factories, etc. etc.
    Sooo, now you know the difference between a “SmartMeter” and an advanced AMI meter, and I have never seen an AMI meter with the trademark “SmartMeter” on it.
    An AMI meter is “SmarterThanSmart”, it’s SuperSlick.

    • Paul H says:

      Yes, it’s super slick at delivering low frequency fields throughout your home, even with the power off. It causes inflammation and damage to the central nervous system. I have found that a typical symptom, using PLC, is waking up with numb hands.

  6. Pingback: Basic resources from Stop Smart Meters Wisconsin | stopsmartmeterswisconsin

  7. John says:

    SCE has already installed a smart meter at my residence without my consent. Since I have a concern about the RF danger, I am thinking about designing a Faraday cage to place around the meter. Technically speaking, a Faraday cage stops all incoming and outgoing RF so this would eliminate the RF hazard. A proper design could be achieved using steel mesh which would still allow visual reading of the meter if SCE so desires. Since the cage would only surround the meter and be mounted to MY electrical panel, I would never even physically touch SCE’s meter. I have read about some of the “opt-out” programs and I think it is “bull” that the utilities want to charge you to be in these programs. I should not have to pay extra each month to prevent SCE from poisoning my home. The way I am looking at this is : 1) I am not joining SCE’s opt-out program so they can not charge me more per month adn they get no financial benefit that way, 2) Since I have not physically touched SCE’s meter, they have no grounds for action against me, and finally 3) while protecting my family from RF hazards I can also eliminate the primary cost benefit that SCE gets from the smart meter (firing all their meter readers). Since these utilities have changed to being an IOU (investor owned utility), they only care about profits. They do not care about customer safety. If you can take away the profit potential of these meters, then SCE will drop them. Do you have any thoughts about my approach here? Any idea what you think SCE’s response will be? I do not want SCE to make money from installing a smart meter on my property. I want to legally make this a money losing proposition for SCE.

  8. katherine says:

    I’m in DE and I keep being told by Delmarva Power that there is no way to get the wireless meter that was installed on the house before we moved in of the house. “Everyone has one now, we’ve done away with the clock style meters and these are perfectly safe, let us send you our information that says so.”. What do I do?

    • Send them a certified letter, revoking permission for their wireless device to be sited on your property, and give them ten days to remove it. If they fail to comply people have been hiring an electrician to do the necessary deed for them. Show them you mean business and stop deferring to what the utility says. YOU are the customer!!

      • czehfus says:

        We would pay fines etc. for “tampering with the meter”. I am not a legal expert. Would I go to jail, too?

  9. Andrew M says:

    Smart meters exist with both RF and RS232 connectors. For those people who want a smart meter but are concerned about RF, you could quite easily create an RF shield which used a serial connector to something like an arduino over Ethernet. Best of both worlds right :)

  10. Melissa says:

    One of my co-workers got rid of her smart meter because it made her bill go up. After paying a $75.00 fee to replace the old one and $10.00 per month for someone to come out and read the old meter, it was well worth it. Her bill dropped back down from $600 to $200 a month.

  11. EVmarc says:

    Q: I already have a “smart” meter. I don’t want it. What can I do?
    Answer
    get a solar system
    a grid tie system uses a net meter (net metering NEM)
    new ones are digital but not a smart meter
    Smart meters are incompatible with NEM
    SM’s only record usage one way usage, draw from grid
    will not credit you for energy produced and stored on grid
    Old mechanical meters are NEM capable
    smart meters are not compatible with renewable energy
    not so smart eh?

  12. Mary says:

    RE: preventing “trespass” to install devices. In our area we must sign an agreement to receive power in there they have a clause that says they ” the power company employees” can come on the property at any time to do anything they please. That means if they want to go for a Sunday stroll on the land they can. They come in and cut trees and shrubs, make huge ruts in the driveway, knock down gates, leave the mess in there wake having no plan for the fallen trees. They lie saying one thing and doing another. You chase them off and the sneak on when your not around.
    AND you can do nothing because of that clause you signed and could not get hooked up to electricity with out signing. They do what they want and call themselves a cooperative.

  13. Alex says:

    We are in the process of building in a new home on our land in Southwest Virginia. Appalachian Power Company Rep. says “no smart meter no electricity” after having expressed my desire not to have a smart meter installed. Power company rep. says they no longer provide any analog meters and the only option we have is a smart meter.

    We are not buying the power company’s BS. We are currently researching ways to stand up to the power company. Any suggestions in this matter will be highly appreciated. Please remember, we don’t have a meter yet and it appears that having electricity provided to us is contingent on us accepting the smart meter. Thank you.

    Alex

    • Jennifer says:

      I just hope you are not very far along and can make it an off the grid situation. Except of course install phone lines so you can have wired i-net and phone. For this reason many people wish they could be off the grid. Unfortunately many off the grid properties are loaded w/ poisonous wifi.

  14. Richard Combs says:

    I am reading your write up on the legal authority for utilities to mandate smart meters. You reference the Energy Policy Act of 2007. I believe it the the ACT of 2005.

  15. Lee Leeman says:

    It is my opinion, that with the plethora of wireless devices surrounding us, ie cell phones, portable handsets, wireless computers, wireless routers, a wireless smart meter poses little additional threat to your health. Indeed, the focus on insisting that smart meters emit dangerous radiation, conveniently shifts attention from the REAL danger these devices pose, and that is the invasion of privacy.

    My old analog meter measures kilowatt-hours period. A smart meter measures many other parameters, such as power factor, that when sampled at high speed can serve to provide a ‘signature’ of individual appliances and time of day use. It is not difficult for data mining software, provided with this kind of data, to easily determine the differrence between your turning on a toaster and a motorized device like a hair dryer or power tools. Add the ‘Zigby chip’ options, and it is designed to communicate and even CONTROL your appliances. Now you might think it is nice to have the power company turn on and off your A/C or furnace, for example. What you might not be realizing is that the ability to turn on and off, also allows the utility to selectively DENY SERVICE on an individual appliance…. that is to say, your clothes washer or dryer might not even be run unless it is at night during low power demand times. That is a whole different thing than providing you with the information to CHOOSE to do your laundry at night.

    Further, it is possible to gather information on your usage pattern, create a profile, and sell that information to corporate sellers or manufacturuers.

    I’m sorry. I just dont think we need that kind of surveillanc capability and THAT is the real objection to so called \smart’\ meters.

    • Squirts says:

      I don’t know why a company would purposely lose money. If these meters benefit the company in profits, then why would they limit a customer?

  16. Pingback: Sounding the Alarm about Smart Meters Smart Grid with Curtis Bennett and David Chalk AxXiom For Liberty Live! | AxXiom for Liberty

  17. Norm says:

    Smart meters may or may not be here to stay! It may depend on the health damage they do, the privacy concerns and the costs to the public. It took years to find out the dangers of asbestos, tobacco, DDT , lead paint etc. So what can we do if a smart meter is installed on our homes? Place a faraday cage around the meter and the meter base, and ground them to the incoming water pipe or a ground rod. A faraday cage will prevent over 90 percent rf from coming in or going out of the smart meter. Make the faraday cage
    removeable for inspection purposes only. magnets will do! Mark the cage as your property, with notice that the inspecting power company to replace it after inspection.
    Look after your health! Your home must be your safe haven!

  18. Longshot says:

    I got a letter from DTE ( live in Garden City, Mi.) Oct. 9th stating in the next two weeks they were coming to put these in. Wednesday Oct. 16th I chained and locked my gas meter which is on the side of my house not in locked yard (right underneath my bedroom window), then I locked electric meters with things to fill in loop. Put No Trespassing Signs (I have two lots joined) on two gates, above my gas meter and on a locked open breezeway porch.

    Also on the signs it states Private Property No Trespassing
    I Do Not Consent To Installation Of Any Smart Or Advanced Meter.

    This letter made me literally sick and couldn’t sleep until my boyfriend got back into the state to help me lock these up. I’m already sick with several serious medical problems, I don’t need more or worsened. I feel traumatized. I not only sent a certified letter to Advance Metering Team but to the the President of DTE. It was long and from the heart.

    My Mom is going on 83, has two stents and a pacemaker and eventually because of her health will end up living with me so I can take care of her. I was horrified to think of these meters and her pacemaker and stated that.

    Consumers Energy’s Opt Out literally is an opt out and you can keep your analog meters but DTE still wants you to pay the upfront fee and monthly fee to have the meters read but still demand the installation of the Smart (electric) & Advanced (gas) meters. Our public utilities commission is called MPSC and some judge said they can install these or lets put it this way they can install a meter. Got news for them I already have two. In-fact in June they forced me to have the gas meter that had been in basement (I bought this house in 2012) to the outside. I was adamant of them not putting in this new kind and had a supervisor here that day.

    Now my old analog was from 1970 as I was told and probably had the old dials, this brand new one does have 4 digital numbers but two dials that resemble analog so it’s not 100% analog but nevertheless I don’t believe it’s the advanced. Supv. was actually very nice, they also put in a new gas service line. They did have a meter move out program. But I’ve now wondered? But the thing is they never had to enter my house to read it, it had something already on house to read it. But even news said they wanted the old gas meters out of everybody’s basement for safety issues.

    Who knows. Why this disruption of our lives. You have pictures of smart meters, do you have any of the advanced meters (gas)? because they are different, shape and how mounted.

    So everything’s locked, letters sent. I have an in-ground pool, the cover never came off this year or opened but in letter I stated unlocked yard would be a liability. The previous owner already had chained and locked fence because of this. They cut and damage my fence and leave yard open they’ll have a lawsuit on their hands.

    It is a damn shame any human being that owns their own house has to be put through this. This is MY HOUSE, I paid for it and I own it not DTE. To sit here sick and have to worry about them now sending me a threatening letters to shut off service or to actually shut it off.

    They did this over the meter move out program. But NO WAY will this work to install these toxic meters. We can’t even relax in our own homes. My bills have been always paid on time, don’t owe anybody anything. Damn, how dare they disrupt my life, threaten health of me, my Mom and cause me extra stress I do not need. I’m sick enough as it is and have enough in life to already worry about, this is insanity.

  19. Longshot says:

    Well I just came across this so there have been people who they have shut off everything. http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/02/14/woman-battling-installation-of-smart-meters-tells-her-story-on-radio/

    I sent a certified letter to DTE President and Advanced Metering Team and did get a response of insulting my intelligence. Basically said AMI meters are safe and customers can’t keep their analogs. In-fact went on to say analog meters are obsolete that can’t be purchased anymore. What a joke. Consumers Energy in Michigan Opt Out is allowing customers to keep analog meters. What DTE’s problem is don’t know or care. Mine are chained and locked. I’m stressed out and just getting sicker from all this crap.

    My Home, don’t owe anybody anything and have to worry about this. Madness

  20. Kathy says:

    Avista Utilities in Spokane, Washington entered my fenced and gated yard without my knowledge or permission and installed a smart meter.

    I am told that I must keep it and I have no recourse.

    Public Utilities District is one, which I will pursue. I was told I might disappear one night were I to undertake such a lofty task.

    I do not want a SmartMeter. I did not ask for it. They committed trespass. They told me that by accepting their services I agree to whatever they want. I have no choice. They are a monopoly in this area.

    Time for no more monopolies and controlling interest in something everyone needs. No more hostages!

    • Paul H says:

      Educate your neighbors and your community of the danger. You need numbers on your side. Take Back Your Power is a great tool to accomplish this.

  21. Kathy Again says:

    Hello.
    I’m a little scared. My utility company wears heavy boots and I’ve spoken against their putting their smartmeter on my home.

    My question isn’t about that, however. I would like to know why it makes noise. The way I noticed it in the first place was the whirring and clicking sound it sometimes makes. What is that? Is it faulty?

    I don’t know where else to find an answer this question. I’ve been all over the internet trying to learn.

    Thanks.

    Kathy

  22. SM says:

    I just want to point out that there are a number of people around the country who have chosen to go off grid or build homes off grid and have had the “authorities” come after them and tell them they are not allowed to live in a home without public utilities. There is nothing free market about any of this.

  23. giles says:

    ATTENTION: to maintain credibility you need to add a header to your faq:

    DON’T PANIC if you see a digital meter.

    some smart meters only transmit for a few seconds one a month when some
    power companies send out a meter reader to collect data on 100s or 1000s
    of dwellings at once. they neither radiate constantly and are incapable of
    spying or shutting off your appliances remotely. ask your power company.

    the best analogy is thayt 75% of water districts in america add flouridation.
    first find out if your district does or does not add fluoridation. you should still
    be vigilant because they may later decide to fluoridate and harmless smart
    meters can be replaced by harmful ones. this issue is bigger than one town.

    don’t panic. check before you yell at your local water or power company.

    we need to face all serious issues whether or not they affect us locally.
    the amount of toxic pollution is increasing exponentially and it’s only a matter
    of months or a few years before it hits you anywhere in north america. if your
    smart meter is not yet harmful, your unsheilded electric wires defintely are.

    (everything else on this site is correct so maintain your credibility. good work.)

  24. Derek says:

    I don’t understand why anybody would defend the smart meters. I got an idea if you think it will be cost saving and such a great thing then go head have a smart meter and those that choose not to let them not have them …Can anybody defending the utility company forcing a smart meter on people possibly then bang on their chest and say this is a greeat free country ..This country was made great for just that freedom of choice … If you people who love smart meters knock yourself out you want wifi go head in fact ill defend your right to have it but please defend mine not to .. You want to smoke eat junk food you do that I choose not too

    I had a guy move next door this summer first thing he did was put a pole up I was in severe pain all summer severe headaches only when I left the home did it abate got to the point i couldnt move was hospitalized .. Found out later this was a hidden stealth antenna ..Ill choose to stay away …You cant apologize to people 10 yrs from now when you finally admit the evidence is overwhelming that is causes health implications

    We don’t even need to discuss the issues nobody should have to explain themselfs put up with the rhetoric of idiots sayting its not a health problem lets just cause this America and give free will the say , let everybody have an option

  25. Pingback: Smart Meter Information |

  26. Maud Crossing says:

    Privacy and legitimate health concerns are being ignored by the greedy power companies rolling out (wireless) smart meters in many countries. The idea of further saturating communities with higher levels of electromagnetic radiation from these dangerous devices, and the increasing indiscriminate use of wireless technology, terrifies those who have detailed knowledge of the adverse health effects and biological harm that microwaves are doing to populations, and to all animal and plant life on Earth.
    Smart meter lunacy could well prove to be the most prominent health curse of the 21st century.

  27. jim morisseau says:

    my town went to smart meters over a year ago, no problems that I know of. I also have sat TV and Internet, and even a mobile based home phone. I wonder if people would have the symptoms they claim even if it were only a dummy meter. And my father used to start the dishwasher at midnight to save on the power bill, he dies 40 years ago. No offense, people seem to complain about everything that comes down the pike, so even tho there may be something to this, it sounds like the boy crying wolf. There are tens of millions of these things, if they were so dangerous I have to think there would be more news about it.

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