Tips on How to Save Energy and Money without a “Smart” Meter

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

I came across a brochure from energy.gov providing a list of “easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy.”
I like the mention of “no-cost” ways to save energy since smart meters cost billions and billions of dollars to deploy and expose consumers and society to significant risks that smart meter to lower your energy bills.

Well, I don’t need a smart meter to save energy.  If you perform any number of the actions listed below (courtesy of the Department of Energy), you will save energy and money.  By reviewing your next monthly utility bill, you’ll get an idea of how much you saved.

How simple and easy can it be … and without the added costs and risks related to deploying billions of dollars in “smart” meters?

In fact, in pilot studies showing savings by having smart meters, what they actually do is provide you this (or similar) list of things to do to save energy and then later take credit for your actions as somehow related to the smart meter.  (That’s cheating!)

Tips to Save Energy. … No Smart Meter Required

Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills and manage your heating and cooling systems efficiently.

  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Turn things off when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use — TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F.
  • Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow showerheads for additional energy savings.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Air dry clothes.
  • Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products.  ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
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Bio:

K.T. Weaver is a health physicist who was employed in the nuclear division of a leading electric utility for over 25 years.  He served in various positions, including Station Health Physicist, Senior Health Physicist, corporate Health Physics Supervisor, and corporate Senior Technical Expert for  Radiobiological Effects.  K.T. has earned a B.S. in Engineering Physics and an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering with a specialty in radiation protection. 
K.T. Weaver also serves as a consumer protection advocate using the name of “SkyVision Solutions.”  SkyVision Solutions provides awareness information, analysis, and commentary on the benefits versus costs and risks related to smart grid technology.  SkyVision Solutions operates the Smart Grid Awareness website and utilizes this technology-oriented platform as its primary mechanism to document and convey smart grid awareness information to the public and other interested parties.
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“A smarter grid could actually become a less safe grid,” from Discover Magazine

by SkyVision Solutions

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions  The March 2016 issue of Discover magazine features an article, “Blackout of the Century,” with the online version being entitled, “Averting the Blackout of the Century.” [1] At this website I have posted numerous articles explaining how the future “smart” grid is more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats from hackers.  In summary […]

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“Smart” Meters – Are They Really a Wise Investment For Seattle?

Fact Checking City Light’s Claims about the supposed “Benefits to Customers” regarding Advanced Metering (AMI).

Seattle City Light claims that Advance Metering will:

     1. “Empower customers to make energy saving choices.” Studies from the Free University in Brussels have concluded that even under best case scenarios, energy savings are only in the range of 2-4% and that “consumers are not the main beneficiaries of this technology.” Modern humans are awash in information. Our email inboxes are perennially overflowing. We get robo-calls, junk mail, and are forever being asked to take surveys at the end of phone calls.

     When it comes to energy use, people seem disinclined to analyze their home energy usage patterns and in many cases, they have little choice regarding when they run their appliances. Industry green-washed hype projecting exaggerated energy savings do not even begin to justify the significant cost increases most individuals will be saddled with. One time equipment fees for more digital junk and time-of-use billing practices would see our electrical bill increasing dramatically if we allow City Light to go forward with their “smart” meter plans. See also our page on Cost.

     2. “Improve customer service”. City Light claims that “smart” meters will help them pinpoint power outages more quickly. This claim is not supported by the latest industry data. In a 2015 utility industry survey, only 12% of utility power outages during storms were reported via “smart” meters. Customer phone calls were the source of power outage notification 54% of the time. In other words, the hundreds of millions of dollars that Seattle rate payers would be forced to cough up to swallow this “upgrade” isn’t justified. The technology isn’t needed.

      Stating “customer service” as a benefit is not only not true when analyzing the actual data, it is also invalidated by the much greater inevitable harms caused by “smart” meters (fire, privacy, cost, grid security, health, environment).

     “Customer service” is also negated by another emerging issue – customer overbilling. Customer complaints regarding “smart” meter overbilling are on the rise globally. Data from one state alone (Maryland) obtained via a public information records request, show thousands of overbilling complaints from customers.

     And what about those customers who don’t want a “smart” meter? We would be forced to pay a monthly opt out fee in order to pay for a meter reader, whereas before, this service used to be free. If “smart” meters are really so smart, why not make them opt-in instead of opt out? If the benefits are so wonderful, why not trust individuals to make this decision for themselves rather than have it forced down their throat? City Light’s proposals thus far are not “customer service” but just another give away to corporations disguised as good public policy.

     3. “Reduce pollution.” More green-washing. City Light notes that vehicles driven by meter readers emit 72.3 tons of CO2 annually. Although this sounds like a lot, in truth, it represents the average annual  carbon emissions of about three Americans.  Meanwhile, at 40-60 jobs with living wages are yet again being phased out in favor of machines. Meter readers did more than simply read the meters, they served as yet another human anchor for community safety and kindness.

     It should also be remembered that hundreds of thousands of digital meters, plus the infrastructure to transmit this to centralized servers, plus the servers required to analyze the data generated and the air conditioners required to cool the servers – collectively have a substantial energy footprint. Yet again City Light is playing a number’s game and evading the real solutions. The real energy savings and pollution reduction needs to come from conservation initiatives and investing in renewals. As for the trivial amount of CO2 emitted by meter reader vehicles, why not supply meter readers with plug-in electric vehicles powered by solar energy?

    4. “Conserve Natural Resources.” This is another very seductive claim with eye-catching language that appeals to our “green” conscience, but containing no specific details to back it up. The way to fix our current archaic centralized energy grid system is to dismantle it and instead, build more localized, decentralized grids. Much power generation is lost through long distance transmission lines.  Although Seattle is in a somewhat unique position of being able to rely almost exclusively on hydropower, hydroelectric power generation is not without significant impacts on the environment. Discussing these in detail is beyond the scope of this article, but it is safe to say that reliance on large hydropower infrastructure is not a wise strategy for the long term future.

     5. “Help City Light better monitor and manage the electric grid service.” This claim has already been made above in number two (and refuted). Repeating the same point in slightly different wording adds no merit to City Light’s argument, even if it might impress a few people by appearing to offer a more robust webpage with a longer list of purported benefits.

     6. “Provide New Safety Features”. More promises with no specifics.

     In conclusion, Seattle City Light’s list of “smart” meter benefits is not substantiated if one conducts a thorough investigation of their promises and assumptions. The main beneficiaries of “smart” meters are corporations and those politicians who accept their cash contributions. Help us stop this freight train of negative consequences before it is too late. Please call and/or write to the City Council asking them to defund City Light’s “smart” meter (“Advanced Metering Initiative or AMI”) program. Email  City Light expressing your opposition to opt-out fees and other aspects of this program. You can phone them directly at 206.684.8441. Educate yourself on the issues by perusing our website. Thank you for your support.

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“Smart” Meters Being Deployed without Transparency or Necessary Public Debate

by SkyVision Solutions

I have discovered several recently published articles and studies that provide profound insight on how the “smart grid” is envisioned to affect the consumer by those developing it and how substantial social implications of smart grid implementation are not being sufficiently addressed or publicly debated.

This article will explain who envisioned the smart grid and why smart meters are being deployed.  Empirical evidence will be presented on how consumer interests and rights are being ignored and why smart meter opposition by the public is fully justified and necessary.  Finally, this article provides possible solutions to correct some of the injustices being imposed upon the consumer.

Highlights and Key Points of this Article

  • Because of the absence of transparency or public debate, the smart grid lacks “democratic legitimacy.”
  • Smart meters are being introduced by a “network of actors” that I refer to as technocrats.  These technocrats believe that the decision-making process related to smart meter deployments should be left to the experts and not be opened to public debate.
  • The underlying and primary reason for smart meters being deployed is to facilitate the reduction in energy consumption by consumers.
  • Consumers are viewed by the technocrats as “economic actors” with “knowledge, engagement, and moral deficits.”  To compensate for these deficits, schemes are devised such as “dynamic pricing” as well as the promotion of home automation products and services.
  • Smart meter deployments result in a conflict between what is perceived as being necessary for the “public good” by the technocrats versus individual autonomy for the consumers and citizens.
  • “The role of the citizen as a consumer is often neglected by policy makers, as well as their opinions, attitudes, drivers and barriers towards the acceptance of the new energy system.”
  • “Substantial social implications [of smart meter deployments], such as privacy, security, external control of appliances within private households, health-related issues, environmental perspectives and consequences for financially vulnerable households, are not being sufficiently addressed.”
  • Rather than treating the consumers as deficit burdened subjects requiring behavioral modification, consider them as citizens with legitimate rights and concerns.  Technocrats should consider interaction with concerned consumers and citizens as an opportunity to create a modernized electric grid that has both a high level of public acceptance and resiliency.
Bio:
K.T. Weaver is a health physicist who was employed in the nuclear division of a leading electric utility for over 25 years.  He served in various positions, including Station Health Physicist, Senior Health Physicist, corporate Health Physics Supervisor, and corporate Senior Technical Expert for  Radiobiological Effects.  K.T. has earned a B.S. in Engineering Physics and an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering with a specialty in radiation protection. 
K.T. Weaver also serves as a consumer protection advocate using the name of “SkyVision Solutions.”  SkyVision Solutions provides awareness information, analysis, and commentary on the benefits versus costs and risks related to smart grid technology.  SkyVision Solutions operates the Smart Grid Awareness website and utilizes this technology-oriented platform as its primary mechanism to document and convey smart grid awareness information to the public and other interested parti

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Magnolia Community Meeting on ‘Smart Meters’

Monday    Feb. 29   7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


Magnolia United Church of Christ
3555 W McGraw St, Seattle, WA 98199

 
Join us for a brief presentation followed by Q&A on the topic of “smart meter” technology which will be rolled-out across Seattle in the relative near future. 

Presenters: 

David Ward, has testified on smart meters to Seattle City Council and spent over 1,000 hours researching the smart meter issue. His presentation will show the potential problems with smart meters as well as proactive solutions and actions to consider. 

Sonia M. Hoglander, an Electrical Engineer, Building Biologist and MBA. Her Building Biology consulting company specializes in Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). Sonia has presented her research on the influence of electromagnetic radiation on disease. In 2014, Sonia became an organizing member of Safe Utility Meters Alliance (SUMA). Her mission is to raise awareness of the electromagnetic hazards in our environment, how to protect our children, and create healthier built environments.
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Vast Majority of Consumers Suffer Financial “Net Loss” with Smart Meters

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Frontier Economics and Consumer Net Loss with Smart MetersThis article provides specific information to counter claims made by smart meter proponents that smart meters provide consumers with financial benefits, i.e., saving energy and reducing their utility bill.  In addition, this article presents information to help disentangle how policy makers conflate the topics of grid modernization, smart meter deployments, and sound environmental policy.

Inflated or False Claims on How Smart Meters Help Consumers Save Money

As an attempt to convince consumers that smart meters are “good” for them, they are fed propaganda-like messages regarding “consumer empowerment” by smart meter proponents.  In short, and as stated by the Attorney General for the state of Illinois:

“The pitch is that smart meters will allow consumers to monitor their electrical usage, helping them to reduce consumption and save money. …  Consumers don’t need to be forced to pay billions for so-called smart technology to know how to reduce their utility bills.  We know to turn down the heat or air conditioning and shut off the lights.”

We certainly do not need to spend billions and billions of dollars on smart meters for the consumer to know that if you start shutting off switches or changing the thermostat setting that you can save energy.  The whole concept is actually quite absurd.  For those consumers who do want more detailed usage information, there are a number of products available online or at your home improvement store that can provide the same or better information than with a smart meter.

To help counter some of the claims, ridiculous as they may be as to how smart meters are somehow needed to help consumers save money, I have already written a number of articles highlighting studies and auditor-general reports that reveal that smart meters offer no net benefits to consumers.  Among the past articles supporting this assertion are the following:

  • Families Punished by ‘Smart’ Meters and TOU Rates, Recent Study Confirms, highlighting an Australian study showing that time-of-use electricity rates have inequitable financial and social impacts for households with children [6].

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  • Bio:
    K.T. Weaver is a health physicist who was employed in the nuclear division of a leading electric utility for over 25 years.  He served in various positions, including Station Health Physicist, Senior Health Physicist, corporate Health Physics Supervisor, and corporate Senior Technical Expert for  Radiobiological Effects.  K.T. has earned a B.S. in Engineering Physics and an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering with a specialty in radiation protection.
    K.T. Weaver also serves as a consumer protection advocate using the name of “SkyVision Solutions.”  SkyVision Solutions provides awareness information, analysis, and commentary on the benefits versus costs and risks related to smart grid technology.  SkyVision Solutions operates the Smart Grid Awareness website and utilizes this technology-oriented platform as its primary mechanism to document and convey smart grid awareness information to the public and other interested parties.

     

 

 

 

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Changes are coming to your insurance policy

Due to the accumulation of fire related damage to homes and businesses from Smart Meter related malfunctions, Insurance Underwriting Offices across the country are contemplating new rules that will reduce the coverage available to you due to fire damage from a Smart Meter failure.

In the past, only two reasons existed for an insurance company to consider not paying for fire damage to your home or business, they were arson, and the fact the home or business sat vacant for at least 60 days or more before the fire.

Now a possible third reason can be added to that list, is the malfunction of a Smart Meter. What will most likely take place is that you will receive a notification from your Insurance Company telling you that a new limitation of coverage is now in force on your policy. When fire damage occurs to your home or business and the cause of the fire can be traced to a malfunction of your Smart Meter, then your company would not be held responsible for the financial loss.

The reason for this type of Draconian action on the part of the Insurance industry is simple, to save money. It appears that as the Smart Meters age, more problems are developing with them. When you couple this with the continued lack of co-operation from the Utility Companies, a reduction in the amount of coverage for an insurance policy is the only remaining answer.

The Utilities lack of co-operation can be reduced to two specific items. Number one would be the utilities continued action of removing the Meters from the loss site without giving the Insurance Company the chance to examine the Meter to determine the cause of the fire. It seems that as long as the Utility Companies continue in this practice, a cancellation in coverage from a Smart Meter fire is the end result. The reason that utility companies give for removal of the Meters is that the meters belong to the Utility Company which is a true statement, however, in the spirit of co-operation and concern for their customers, the Utility Companies should leave the Meters at the loss site until a complete examination of them can be done.

A second and perhaps more compelling reason for removal of the Smart Meters from the loss site is that the Utility Company does not want the Insurance Company to discover that most Meters have been operating at a higher temperature than usual. The normal ambient operating temperature for a new Smart Meter is 89 Degrees, the average operating temperature for the Analog Meters, which the Smart Meters replaced, is 85 degrees. The way in which the Utility Companies dealt with this problem was to drill two holes in the top of the Meter casings to let the heat out. Well, they let the heat out, but also let water and dust inside which made the malfunction of the Smart Meter almost a certainty.

If you have the opportunity, consult your state’s Public Utility Commission and refuse to have the new Smart Meter installed, it may just save you money.

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David Ward Presentation

David Ward, a very active SUMA-NW member and contributor compiled an excellent PowerPoint presentation graphically showing the costs and issues with “Smart” Meters or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) relative to Seattle City Light’s Deployment Project. Data has been collected from all across the country and Canada that shows the issue in context. We applaud David’s contribution to the effort in raising awareness in the general public to bring this important modern issue out of the dark. We, the people, must act collectively to demand that Public Utilities and Government Officials stop this seemingly innocuous rollout of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) surveillance technology that is destructive to health, home and freedom.

Smart Meter Power Point Presentation DW

AMI Network

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‘Smart” Meters Not Necessary to Modernize the Electric Grid, Says a Major U.S. Utility

‘Smart’ Meters Not Necessary to Modernize the Electric Grid, Says a Major U.S. Utility

On July 30, 2015, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission issued an ‘order of notice’ commencing an investigation into grid modernization in New Hampshire.  In response to that order, Eversource Energy (formerly known as Northeast Utilities) provided comments on September 17, 2015.  As stated by intelligentutility.com:

While smart meters or AMI meters are often equated with grid modernization, Eversource does not see them as necessary.  In fact, the company says that it has found customers are not very interested in moderating energy use based on time-varying or dynamic rates.”

The position put forward by Eversource Energy is reminiscent of the original intent of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which contained language that required utility commissions and utilities to consider whether it is appropriate for utilities to offer customers smart metering for those who request it.

SkyVisions Solutions has reviewed the comments submitted by Eversource Energy to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission.  This article primarily presents selected quotations from those comments as they apply to smart metering and time varying rate (‘TVR’) programs.

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