Monday, February 27, 2012

'Smart meters' and their danger to privacy and health

Yesterday I posted an article about the illegal jamming of signals (GPS, cellphone, etc.) on which we depend. In a comment, an anonymous reader asked whether such jammers could also block signals emitted by so-called 'smart meters'. I've never thought of jamming meter signals, but it may be possible if you could establish the wavelength on which they operate. Trouble is, you might jam other nearby meters as well as your own: but the owners of those meters might not want them jammed. This could cause all sorts of nastiness with your neighbors.

Some readers may not be aware of the controversies surrounding these meters; so I've embedded a short video clip that our anonymous contributor linked to in his comment.

(The sample letter referred to in the clip, forbidding installation of a smart meter, may be found at its YouTube page. Click the 'Show More' button below the video to see it.) I'm pleased to see that some jurisdictions are now rolling back the previously mandatory installation of these meters. Click here to see what the California Public Utilities Commission is doing about it.

In general, I see no reason why power companies can't design a 'smart meter' that doesn't also act as a 'smart snooper', invading my privacy. When they do, I'll allow them to install one on my home. Until then . . . fuggetabahtit!



Rich said...

You can keep your old meter where I live ... for an additional $13 a month added to your bill.

I don't have the money to play that game.

DOuglas2 said...

If that video is the one I remember viewing months ago, it is a bit overblown. The way one would infer daily schedule/types of appliances used/away for vacation is akin to traffic-analysis in signals intelligence. There is presently nothing in a microwave oven that tells the meter "hey I'm a microwave oven". OTOH, there is nothing else that switches 1200W loads on-and-off at intervals just like a microwave oven running on defrost mode.

Anyway, I put up a basketball hoop above my meter, and then became very concerned that it might be inadvertently damaged. Hence the frame with the wire mesh that surrounds it on 5 sides, well grounded to the aluminum siding behind the panel that it mounts to....

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about using some 500mesh copper screen wrapped around the meter and grounded to the incoming conduit line.

Mudbug said...


I am the asst. utility superintendent for the small town (2000+ People) I live near and we are installing the wireless meters for the water, electric and gas utilities (the town owns all three, plus sewer and cable). We have to manually read each meter and it takes a week for 5 people. The new ones make it so easy to read.

As for data mining, these people here are too dull to figure that out. It took them 20 years to finally decide to change out the 75+ year old meters.

Anonymous said...

I find it hilarious how people freak out about a smart meter mounted on the side of their house on the other side of an exterior wall yet they will not think twice about putting their iPhone next to their head for an hour. I think they should also be more worried about their 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz cordless phones and wifi devices. Those devices are blasting all over the house trying to get through walls and floors with frequencies that deteriorate with any obstruction therefore requiring more power. I work in the telecom industry and have over 13 years experience with microwave radio transmission systems. It didn't bother me one bit to have a smart meter on the side of my house.

As far as data mining I don't have anything to hide and if they care about how often my usage peaks from appliances and such.

There is my 2 cents...

H said...

So, someone can do signals analysis on your home power consumption... Couldn't they do similar things with just your old printed power bill? I'm paying a company for a service (electricity). Fine, it's a monopoly but if I reject the terms of service I could in theory live off the grid. Electricity is great but not a requirement for life.

Why should I worry about the power company when I've been providing far more details of my life to the phone company, bank, credit card company, insurance...?

Anonymous said...

I don't care about the RF, what does concern me is the "time-of-day" billing, which almost doubles when you wake up and again when you decide to come home & make dinner.
Not only that, most bills are going up after the smart meters are installed, reason being, is that the old eddy current meters are slow to respond to instantaneous current spikes (ie: electric motors).
With the old analog meters, you were billed on an average reading ( utilities knowing full well there are un-recordable power spikes), now you are monitored 60 times a second and paying for every milliwatt.