Smart Meters Invade Privacy, Says Documentary

August 9, 2013 By Linda Hardesty

smart meter signWhile the energy industry enthusiastically rolls out more smart meters nationwide, there’s a segment of the population that does not like smart meters, at all.

A crowd-funded documentary, Take Back Your Power, explores the controversy over smart meters. An online trailer is promoting the documentary, which premiers digitally on September 5.

The documentary claims smart meters can allow utilities to overcharge; can invasively monitor other electronic devices in the home or business; and can cause serious health risks.

Directed and produced by filmmaker Josh Del Sol, Take Back Your Power offers a blend of interviews with energy experts, government representatives, regulatory agencies, community activists, consumer rights organizations and consumers. The film also includes footage of utility workers installing smart meters against homeowner consent. And the film-makers say the documentary shows severe property damage caused by technical problems with these devices, documented illnesses, and inaccurate power-bill hikes.

Due to a rising tide of opposition to smart meters, utilities in more than a dozen US states now offer opt-out programs to their customers, although most charge an additional fee, according to the filmakers.

“We want to change how the energy corporations are working with their customers and instill a practice of transparency, accountability and fairness,” said Josh Del Sol.

3 comments on “Smart Meters Invade Privacy, Says Documentary

  1. Good for you. Smart Meters are a demand side initiative corralled by the supply side. Variable tariffs, questions about the broadcast technology and future health impacts, security, hacking, databases for future (carbon or energy) taxation, remote cut-off for grid stability management as well as unpaid bills, the possibility of premium payments to avoid having a Smart Meter; all wrapped up in a rate of return of just 3% paid by the consumers when the Green Deal financiers demand 7% to consider it worthwhile. As good a deal as the Green Deal.

  2. To achieve transparency, access to data is a requirement. How best to make this available to all comers is the question. Would people prefer to get online access to near-real-time data or not? The price is not high when compared to the overall benefits. Here are some of the benefits from both sides of the meter.
    – On the utility side, smart metering completes the last piece of a more reliable network – The utility can monitor, troubleshoot and detect issues. With substation automation they can do so down to the substation. The last mile only occurs with smart metering.
    – From the customer’s perspective there are benefits and opportunities. The benefits are the ability to better understand and manage ones consumption and demand. (This is also a utility benefit if they decide to provide services on the customer side of the meter.) The ability to capture, analyze and react to changes in use can only happen with access to the data. The opportunities are for the development of tools to serve this market.
    Yes the customer pays for access to his/her data. This transparency brings opportunities for anyone that ones to embrace the data. Solution providers can grab data, analyze and provide tools to better understand the reduce cost (risk) to the end user. Fortunately, this same transparancy can also compare between solutions, hopefully bringing the best ones to the forefront while allowing all interested parties to track the “balance” of benefits (and therefore assess the relative cost between the customer and the utility.

  3. David, i appreciate your comments but it is obvious that you are directly involved with the energy supplier or meter business. Let me clarify another obvious agenda of the smart meters. The usage is being monitored and actually “peak rates” are applied to the bills based on the usage periods. It is completely obvious with a review of the customers bills. Anyone can take their bill from previous non metered to after the “smart’ installation and see the costs that are applied to ones usage.

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