FAQ: Utility Company Issues

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Q: My utility tells me that the federal government mandates these new “smart” meters. Is this true?

This is not true. At the federal level, the mandate was only to offer each individual residents the option of having a “smart” meter. It appears the utilities, if they ever did offer “smart” meter as an “opt-in”program, stopped doing it very early on. A mesh-type network can’t function without a certain level of compliance, and one supposes people when offered this device weren’t jumping at the chance in sufficient numbers. Even utilities such as PG&E who have a “delay” list are rushing to install all over their territory wherever and whenever they can get the meters on.

This is the frontier of your rights to your health, privacy, and property. There has been a traditional right of a utility to access and maintain their metering equipment on your property. But now what used to be a passive device to measure your usage, an analog meter, is being replaced with a telecommunications transmitter with a micro-processor inside, having capabilities never dreamed of by the utilities who installed mechanical meters in the last century.

No judge has yet ruled on the legality of the program; the US government has mandated changes in the electrical grid, but those mandates don’t cover the issues of “smart” meters that so many people object to. The particulars of the “smart” meters have been left to utilities, who in turn have left many of the micro-details to the industry developers.

What should be viewed as public infrastructure has had the sort of hype and lack of disclosure that usually surround consumer gadgets and devices.

Q: I still have my analog meter, but my utility company is sending threatening letters and calling me, saying I must have a “smart” meter. Is this true?

Stand your ground. Secure your meter (see Basics page, and Defend Your Analog), and pay your bill. You are not a criminal for protecting yourself, your family, and your home.  No one has yet been cut off for refusing a “smart” meter. In California, The Utility Reform Network (TURN.org) says PG&E does not have the right to cut you off for refusing a “smart” meter (Sep 2011). If this happens where you are, please let us know, we will publicize it.

Q: My utility says they have “an easement”. What is that? Can I keep them off my property anyway?

An easement is a clause in your contract with your utility which allows them access to their equipment, for meter-reading and maintenance. Check with your house deed to see if that is part of the contract. Your utility may also have the information about the particulars of their easement.

But many people have called into question whether installation of the “smart” meter—which includes telecommunications equipment and marks an unprecedented change in metering, blanketing your home in a class 2B carcinogen—actually qualifies as “maintenance”!

Stand your ground. Your private property rights are a preeminent part of your constitutional rights. Secure your meter and pay your bill. No one has been cut off for refusing a “smart” meter. Contact us if your utility takes such a rash step, and we will go straight to the press.

Q: Does the utility own the meter on my house?

Yes, that is generally considered to be the case (even though you have paid for it!). As much as you might dislike the “smart” meter they have forced you or tricked you into having, do not discard or harm it. Be assured that the electric “smart” meter ceases to emit RF once it is disengaged from the electrical wiring of your home–at least in the PG&E Silver Springs Network type, there is no back-up battery.Keep it safely in a box or send it back certified mail to your utility.

Q: How can I get my utility to take the “smart” meter off my house?

See this question in Basics.

Q: I’m sick. I want to change it myself for an analog meter. My utility says if I do this they will charge me with tampering and cut off my electricity. Is this true?

We are not lawyers here at Stop Smart Meters, but we do know of many people who, desperate to protect (or recover) their health, have changed a “smart” out for an analog. So far, no one has been arrested, or had their electricity cut off. The legal definition of “tampering” indicates that you must have the intent to defraud your utility or steal electricity from them, which is not the case if you are changing a meter in order to relieve illness caused by RF emissions or other electrical problems with the “smart” meter. Consult legal advice for clarification on this issue.

Pay your bills, naturally. If anything of this sort, including threats, happens to you, contact us and we will publicize it. This is one woman’s story about what happened to her when she changed her own meter.

Q: I took the “smart” meter off my house and replaced it with an analog. What do I do with the “smart” meter? I know it belongs to the utility, and I don’t want to be guilty of theft.

You are right to be careful. The ‘smart’ meter belongs to your utility. Keep it carefully. You have at least two options. You can keep it safely until such time as they ask for it back, or you could ship it back to them by certified mail.

This is one woman’s story about what happened to her when she changed her own meter. 

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4 Responses to FAQ: Utility Company Issues

  1. Sarah Mica says:

    I do agree, that you should not change the meter by your self. But I don’t think that the analogue belongs to Hydro. As a matter of fact, the rumor is that the analogue belongs to the U.S. After all “Corix” is an U.S. Co. As for the real owners of the analogue meter. Well anything that is attached to a house , belongs to the house. Did you ever try to sell your home and take all the attachments with you? I don’t think so, because it is usually requested to leave them. Than the other issue, Hydro is a public utility. Unless secretly sold, it belongs to the public. All they are trying to do with force, is to sell their smart meter. they are no more than high pressured salesmen, trying to protect their investments.

  2. Sarah Spivey says:

    DTE turned off my electric on the 28th of January because i won’t take the smart meter what can i do to have them cut it back on without excepting the meter. I have no lights and my u furnace is out.

  3. Sarah Spivey says:

    My utility company shut my electricity off on the 28th of January because I will not use their new meter. It causes me a lot of pain and the transformer in my yard is sending out very high current into my home can they do this? My bills are paid yet I have no lights or gas.

  4. Sarah Spivey says:

    My utility company shut my electricity off on the 28th of January because I will not use their new meter. It causes me a lot of pain and the transformer in my yard is sending out very high current into my home can they do this? My bills are paid yet I have no lights or gas. I am not good on the computer because of my high sensitivity . I don;t know what you are asking for.

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