Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's so smart about smart meters?

I haven’t been able to figure out what, exactly, is supposed to be so dumb about the old ones.

They seem to track our power use just fine. BC Hydro hasn’t complained that it’s not tracking accurately, so what’s the trouble?

Supposedly the new ‘smart’ one will let me know when I’m being wasteful. Only hang on, I can figure that out. Or, if I’m not sure, I can go outside and look at the meter. If it’s whirling too fast, I know there must be something on that’s eating the power. The clothes dryer? an electric heater?? something to check, or maybe turn off?

One goal of the new ‘smart’ ones might be to make a bunch more human jobs redundant. Yet even that won’t be much of a savings. Meter readers don’t make big-time wages, and most of them now serve double-duty, reading gas meters at the same time they check the electricity consumption.

Oh, Hydro's got their promo up and running (what did that cost us?) and even claiming this will make our power cheaper. But if that's the case, why were they seeking a rate hike? Maybe to pay for these? Meters that a lot of people seem to not want?

Many groups and individuals have posted information about the perils posed by these new devices. Here’s a link to more information. Here’s even one with information about how to replace your ‘smart’ meter with an old one; this same article also contains links to forms for making official complaints to Hydro – and more.

The old meter that’s outside my house still seems to be working just fine.

Whatever happened to the concept, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Or, is this just some deal cooked up between BC Hydro and the company that supplies these? Because if it is, I suppose that might qualify as some kind of (even if dirty) ‘smart’.

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