Smart Meters Won't Save You a Penny (But They Can Spy On You..)
by Chris Campbell
These smart grids allow utility companies to monitor and control the way you use electricity. If you're using too much by their standards, they can shut you down. They are made to benefit the utility companies. They can fire meter readers, which saves them cash. And, since they can measure your electric use hour-by-hour, they can choose to charge you more for the electricity you use during "peak" hours.
It gets worse…
Smart meters will make it much easier for the government (and malicious hackers) to intrude on your privacy. The thought that utility companies would partner with the police and government, we now know, is no longer reserved for the tinfoil hat wearers.
In fact, it almost seems inevitable. Why wouldn't the government want to know what time your coffee maker turns on and what you tell your spouse before bed? It's for your protection! And if you don't like your new smart meter, you'll be forced to keep your smart meter -- or pay the price.
It's already been reported that in some communities (Naperville, IL being one), police are dispatched to enforce smart meter installation in the "voluntary" pilot program. And some utility companies already fine customers who refuse the smart meters.
There are also massive (and valid) concerns about the sheer amount of "electrosmog" that smart meters emit. Anyone close to a smart meter will have to suffer through microwave radiation every few seconds, all day and night long. And the consequences of this, according to a number of scientists, researchers and experts, include DNA breaks in brain cells, and an increase of glucose metabolism with exposure to wireless radiation (this includes cell phones, by the way).
Not to mention the smart meters are already being shown to make the grid more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The FBI warned in 2012 that individuals with even a little bit of computer knowledge could hack into these meters using tools and software readily-available online.
The story broke when former employees of smart meter manufacturers were caught altering meters for money. Once compromised, a smart meter will give off faulty readings and lead the utility companies to charge consumers less. "These individuals," the FBI alert reads, "are charging $300-$1,000 to reprogram residential meters, and about $3,000 to reprogram commercial meters." That's not all. They can also be "hacked" using magnets. Apparently, simply placing a strong magnet on them would cause the meters to stop measuring usage.
Not so smart after all, eh?
"This method," the alert goes on, "is being used by some customers to disable the meter at night when air-conditioning units are operational. The magnets are removed during working hours when the customer is not home, and the meter might be inspected by a technician from the power company."
"Each method causes the smart meter to report less than the actual amount of electricity used. The altered meter typically reduces a customer's bill by 50 percent to 75 percent. Because the meter continues to report electricity usage, it appears to be operating normally. Since the meter is read remotely, detection of the fraud is very difficult. A spot check of meters conducted by the utility found that approximately 10 percent of meters had been altered." On top of it all…
Instead of only being penetrated by wired networks, smart meters (and ALL of your devices connected to them) will be vulnerable to wireless attacks too.
Everyone knows that your smartphone becomes exponentially more vulnerable if you leave your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on all the time. And since these meters can connect to your devices (computers, TVs, phones, etc.), they could, if compelled, collect data directly from these devices.
Smart grids are supposed to make our grid more reliable. They don't.
Instead, they are a $900 billion project to further violate our privacy in every square inch of our homes.
And they make the overall grid even more shaky through further centralization of the grid -- at your expense.
Don't be fooled. A smart meter doesn't make the grid more robust. It only makes it smarter at spying on what you're up to. And easier to control.
It's also creating a parasitic market under the "green" guise that's diverting massive amounts of resources and innovation into paths that aren't just unproductive -- they're immensely destructive.
And smart grids or not: "The sad truth is," says Bellinger, "our power grid is not ready for an attack of any kind.
"The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives the grid a D+ grade.
"What does that mean? In the words of the ASCE, the grid is in 'poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life.' "Put simply, the power grid is just barely limping along to meet our average daily demands. It won't take much to push our D+-rated power grid into complete F-rated failure…
"An event like that would affect us on every level. Our economy -- down to basic financial transactions -- is reliant on power. Gas pumps need power. Water treatment facilities need power. Manufacturing … power. Transportation … power." And remember, a large-scale blackout could take weeks -- even months -- to repair.
"But within weeks, if not days, industrious individuals would begin finding ways to do business within the new system. Everything would be different… the way you cook your food, the way you clean your clothes, the way you get supplies, the way you travel. It will be much harder than our current way of life, but life -- and the economy -- will carry on.
"That's the mindset that you need to get into. "If you adapt, recognize a need within your community, and find a way to fulfill it, you'll be back on your feet sooner than you might think."
© 2014 Laissez Faire Books, LLC