Perspective by Cindy Sage: The misguided program of mandatory ‘smart wireless meters’ has done more to undercut the gains in public support for energy conservation in this country than any other single factor. The national shift to embrace energy conservation in the face of climate change has been derailed by mandatory ‘wireless smart meter’ programs. And judging by the public outrage against the National Security Agency (NSA) spying program revealed by Edward Snowden last summer, Americans have come to understand that government mandates for smart meters is likely one more ‘deep drilling project’ on their personal habits, preferences, life styles and medical conditions.
The smart meter program is widely seen as a spying, snooping, expensive, potentially hazardous, involuntary and entirely unnecessary burden for which energy conservation is a mirage. It is unlikely that Americans will stand for public utilities spying on their homes using energy use and conservation as the ruse, and make money on these data by selling their personal information to third party information brokers for profit.
How could one bad idea so completely galvanize such enormous and widespread public resistance? And lead to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) review of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) wireless safety standards and general distrust for government ideas about energy conservation? And undercut public support for some national environmental groups? It is really quite stunning how a single failed corporate/governmental strategy could backfire so rapidly and so completely.