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Earth Power Privacy News

California County Bans SmartMeter Installations 494

Posted by Soulskill
from the coddling-the-dumb-meters dept.
kiwimate writes "Marin County in California has passed an ordinance (PDF) banning the installation of smart meters in unincorporated Marin. Among the reasons given are privacy concerns associated with measuring energy usage data moment by moment and the potential for adverse impact on emergency communication systems used by first responders and amateur radio operators. The ordinance also comments that 'the SmartMeters program ... could well actually increase total electricity consumption and therefore the carbon footprint,' citing 'some engineers and energy conservation experts.'" The ordinance also mentions "significant health questions" raised about "increased electromagnetic frequently radiation (EMF) emitted by the wireless technology in SmartMeters."
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California County Bans SmartMeter Installations

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  • Grow Ops in Marin? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:37PM (#34795018) Journal

    Could be the real reason for those privacy concerns, and more power to them.

    • by HaloZero (610207)

      ...and more power to them.

      Very clever. Quite a few places are considering similar bans, for different reasons. One of the more prevalent issues is union labor pushing to keep meter-readers in business.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:41PM (#34795104) Homepage Journal

        .One of the more prevalent issues is union labor pushing to keep meter-readers in business.

        You got a problem with that?

        • by HaloZero (610207)
          No, actually. I support it whole heartedly.

          Are you being funny?
          • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:05PM (#34795488)
            <sigh> kids these days. The joke is older than you are.

            How many Teamsters does it take to change a light bulb?
            Two. You got a problem with that?
            • by rthille (8526)

              Only two? Jeeze, I think when I heard that joke, it was like seven, with all the jobs listed out, and finally ending with the 'you got a problem with that?' line.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by eleuthero (812560)
          When there is technology to eliminate wasteful use of human and other resources, I have a huge problem with that. Does it mean that those who have been doing meter-reading will have to find other lines of work? Yes. There are tons of other low-training labor opportunities--it doesn't require much training to be able to drive a car and write down a number for each house you drive by. A company should not be forced to support hundreds of workers it doesn't need just because the government wants to protect job
          • by Surt (22457)

            And if my electricity costs were lower, I could afford to hire someone to clean my house. Multiply that by hundreds of households per meter reader, and efficiency gains in our society result in huge job creation.

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:31PM (#34797858) Homepage Journal

              And if my electricity costs were lower, I could afford to hire someone to clean my house.

              But in the experience of the past few decades, greater efficiency and profit has not led to cost savings for consumers.

              At some point, when you put enough people out of work, you no longer have consumers who can afford your product. Henry Ford figured that out, but the current perked and golden-parachuted captains of industry seem to have forgotten it. But they figure that if American consumers can no longer afford their products, then there are billions of Chinese and Indians who can, especially if they're given sufficient credit. And long before those markets are played out they'll have earned half a billion dollars so why give a fuck?

              See, short-term thinking is standard in business today. You worry about your quarterly profits, your stock price and that's it. Very few companies look five or ten years down the road, because the CEOs are only worried about their bonuses and the Boards of Directors are all golf buddies of the CEO and they're all going continue to get rich no matter what happens to the company.

              How common is it to hear of a CEO being let go after driving a company into the dirt and walking away with a fat severance package that was approved by the board? I forget his name, but there was a flabbergasting story a few years ago about the CEO of a major home improvement chain who lost fifty percent of the company's capitalization and left with an eight-figure going away package.

              Corporate consolidation guarantees that the people at the top of corporations are not part of the communities in which they do business. This has created a disconnect that has had disastrous effect.

          • by Yohahn (8680) on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:08PM (#34795536) Homepage

            Actually there are generally not many low-skilled jobs out there.. they slowly dissappear.
            There was a research project in the 90's called "The midwest Job Gap". It's basic conclusion was there were 2-4 low-skill workers (for various reasons, these people aren't going to learn their way up to high skill jobs) for every 1 low skill job.

            Here's an old reference to it: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4404804.html [highbeam.com]

            The premise that there is enough work to go around for low skill workers is generally false.

            • Actually there are generally not many low-skilled jobs out there.. they slowly dissappear.

              Well, depends on the jurisdiction, but in general there are often many low-skilled jobs out there. What there are not, however, are reasonably-well-paying low-skilled jobs.

          • by icebike (68054) on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:17PM (#34795686)

            I too have a big problem with unions Luddites holding back progress just to keep another dues payer in a pointless job filling the union coffers with additional bribe money.

            Radiation fear mongers are the same ones that want to shut down your wifi. The meter is on the outside of the house, any radiation they produce is no more than your neighbors wifi, which is on 24/7.

            Privacy concerns are probably the only real basis for objection because anything broadcasting a signal can probably be intercepted, or demanded from the power company, with or without a subpoena, where as a cop sneaking on to your property daily to read your meter is too costly and would require a warrant.

            Other than police trying to sniff out those running a grow-op in their basement, its not too clear to me why anyone would want this information.

            • by Phoobarnvaz (1030274) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:42PM (#34798068)

              Radiation fear mongers are the same ones that want to shut down your wifi. The meter is on the outside of the house, any radiation they produce is no more than your neighbors wifi, which is on 24/7.

              Was in commercial radio for about 20 years...part of that time in the engineering end and am also a Ham Radio operator. Spooking people with stories of a big source WiFi radiation outside their home is as rooted in truth as telling kids they'll grow hair in their palms or go blind from masturbation.

              I used to accompany our head engineer to the transmitter on a mountain top location. The transmitter was running at 100,000 W...hence away from every/anybody. The first time I ever visited the site...I walked into the room which had the lights on what looked like a dimmer turned 1/2 way up...but the switch was in the "off" position. Turned on the lights to full power. Then we used the "Jesus Pole" after this to ground off any stray current...we cleaned the cabinet out and tweaked the final.

              As for Ham Radio use...I put any antenna up as high/far away from anyone to keep RF away from where people are to keep them from bitching when I transmit and their TV goes crazy.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:17PM (#34795692) Homepage Journal

            When there is technology to eliminate wasteful use of human and other resources

            Seeing jobs for people as a "wasteful use of human resources" is one of the symptoms of why the rise of transnational corporations is destroying so many societies. Why is the corporate profit motive never questioned, but the motive to provide for one's family and oneself is discounted?

            What do you say we don't start thinking in those terms until we've gotten to the point where everyone has sufficient food, shelter, clothing and education?

            A company should not be forced to support hundreds of workers it doesn't need

            Why not? If a company is going to profit from operating within a society, why shouldn't it be expected to support that society? If a company registers a patent in the US, then places it in a subsidiary in Holland, then a subsidiary in Ireland, and then back to Holland, finally licensing it back to itself to the US subsidiary in order to avoid paying taxes in the country that it sells the product, why shouldn't it be "forced" to contribute to the well-being of the people who comprise that market?

            I think we underestimate the danger of believing that profit without responsibility is OK. More than thirty percent of the wealth of the bottom 75% of Americans just evaporated from 2000 to 2008 during a time when the largest corporations profits grew. Can you figure out where that trend heads?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Seeing jobs for people as a "wasteful use of human resources" is one of the symptoms of why the rise of transnational corporations is destroying so many societies. Why is the corporate profit motive never questioned, but the motive to provide for one's family and oneself is discounted?

              Wait, so now we have a duty to prop up businesses that don't have a profitable setup? How dare we fire the buggy whip makers just because new technology came along? Won't someone think of the workers? What? They got jobs putting engines together? We all know todays workers can never be trained to do a new job, how dare you take away their sole means of supporting themselves?

              What do you say we don't start thinking in those terms until we've gotten to the point where everyone has sufficient food, shelter, clothing and education?

              Good luck with that... it's been tried many different ways and has never been sustainable.

            • by Late Adopter (1492849) on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:58PM (#34796356)

              Seeing jobs for people as a "wasteful use of human resources" is one of the symptoms of why the rise of transnational corporations is destroying so many societies. Why is the corporate profit motive never questioned, but the motive to provide for one's family and oneself is discounted?

              On Slashdot? Because we're well versed in the Broken Window Fallacy. Not so much when it comes to economics more generally, unfortunately.

              Also you're begging the question.

            • A company should not be forced to support hundreds of workers it doesn't need

              Why not? If a company is going to profit from operating within a society, why shouldn't it be expected to support that society?

              You apparently believe that absent "unnecessary workers", the company will generate more profit. That is, "if we force X more workers on the company, it'll soak up those profits and put them in our pocket".

              The reality is that the company can react in three ways to increased efficiency of its workers:
              a) retain the benefits as profit
              b) decrease the costs of the product (or service)
              c) increase the wages of the employees

              The option generally taken is B, due to competition. If The Other Company reduces the pric

            • by Ichijo (607641)

              If a company is going to profit from operating within a society, why shouldn't it be expected to support that society?

              Then if the company operates at a loss, should society support the company?

      • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:43PM (#34795120) Journal

        You think the unions want to keep meter readers in business? It wouldn't be unprecedented, we still have fire-tenders on electric trains. But I'd like to see some evidence. There is a very, very strong push by business interests to smear unions going on right now.

        • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

          I think unions like the UAW have don't a remarkable enough job without the help of business interests.

          • by Desler (1608317)

            Yeah, because all the hardships facing the automobile makers were entirely the UAW's fault. It's not as if the managers were being just as stupid approving all those benefits based on highly overfly rosy outlooks of their future prospects. No, no, the only ones at fault are those ebil unions!!!

            • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

              Do you call 30,000 people showing up once a month to pick up a paycheck because the union forced the auto cos to keep them on payroll a hardship?

              • by hedwards (940851)
                It's a minimal issue compared to the other problems. The total labor costs of UAW workers versus their non-union counterparts down south are actually pretty minimal. Certainly a lot less than the money that they were wasting on overproduction.

                The reason why they almost ran out of business was that they were relying too heavily on SUVs and trucks for profit and were trying to produce more vehicles than the market could bear at the price. Additionally, they were slow to recognize the interest in more fuel
          • by spun (1352)

            Right. You just heard about the evils of the UAW from totally unbiased sources. No business interests push propaganda on YOU.

            • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

              So, you're familiar with where my information comes from all on your own? Maybe you should apply for that $1MM psychic challenge.

              • by spun (1352)

                So, you're familiar with where my information comes from all on your own? Maybe you should apply for that $1MM psychic challenge.

                I never claimed I knew, but now that you mention it, where does it come from?

            • by afidel (530433) on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:36PM (#34796000)
              As someone who had to work with the uaw idiots as a non-union outside contractor let me tell you that most of the characterization of the union is an understatement. I had to come back to one plant 4 times before I could get a union electrician to come watch me install a couple racks of equipment because nothing could be plugged into an electric outlet without an electrician present. Then when we finally did get things plugged in the UPS's refused to run because the power was so messed up. He said yeah we know that transformer is messed up, and walked away. So a half million in equipment is afaik still sitting unpowered in racks in that data room because the electrician who couldn't be bothered to meet me for 4 scheduled appointments also couldn't be bothered to fix the power in the building.
        • by onkelonkel (560274) on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:05PM (#34795496)
          "we still have fire-tenders on electric trains" - Not in North America, they got rid of the firemen and the brakemen a long time ago. Through freight trains typically run 2-man crews, Engineer and Conductor.
          • by spun (1352)

            A long time ago? Okay, I guess I'm getting old, the last time I rode Amtrak was 1991, and they had a fire-tender. He was basically a security guard.

      • >>>union labor pushing to keep meter-readers in business.

        Seriously? My electric company eliminated meter readers almost 20 years ago. They replaced the outside meter with a new one that dials-in the reading each month. No more need for a guy to go-round reading the scale.

    • by pitchpipe (708843)

      Could be the real reason for those privacy concerns, and more power to them.

      Yeah, maybe. But they give a pseudo-scientific reason for the ban:

      The ordinance also mentions "significant health questions" raised about "increased electromagnetic frequently radiation (EMF) emitted by the wireless technology in SmartMeters."

      Us 'mericans is gettin dummer by the minute. Why don't they just say that if GOD wanted your power measured, he would have created the meters with smarts already. It makes about as much sense.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by spun (1352)

        Marin Country holds a special kind of stupid. Nobody is as stupid as a rich, privileged person who thinks they are members of the counter-culture. Marin Country is full of that kind of person. San Francisco bankers and ad agency execs who think they are hip and cool because they work in San Francisco. Ex military industrial complex finks from southern California who got laid off by Reagan and found New Age spirituality. Huckster Gurus with an online degree from Spiritual American University. Marin is full o

    • If you're sucking down a heavy amount of juice from the grid to power your grow lamps, it'll show up on a regular meter. Would the smart meters really provide any additional useful information to our brave Drug Warriors?

      • by spun (1352)

        If you're sucking down a heavy amount of juice from the grid to power your grow lamps, it'll show up on a regular meter. Would the smart meters really provide any additional useful information to our brave Drug Warriors?

        That doesn't matter, what matters is what the growers think it will do.

      • It might actually.

        Consider a grow op that puts some but not all of their lamps through the meter lamps through the meter (and the rest either from a tap-in before the meter or from other sources). The meter reader sees readings that look fairly normal for a domestic property and no suspicion is raised.

        However the smart meter would see power cycling in lockstep with the timers on the grow-lamps. Maybe you could stagger them but I bet the pattern would still look very different from a normal household.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Actually, they would. As it is there's a short period of time between when you start the operation and when the meter reader checks the metere. Between which time the power company doesn't have a clear idea as to which house in particular it is that's sucking down the extra juice.

        It's increasingly common up here in Seattle for drug growers to rent a house with somebody else's information and grow pot there. A system like this would likely make the period of time between moves shorten dramatically and mak
    • How much electricity is actually required to operate marijuana growing lamps for one household? Unless they are growing enough to sell, should they even worry about this at all? A single PC probably uses more power than a few lamps...

      • by spun (1352)

        I used to do network security for a non-profit medical marijuana club in San Francisco. I can tell you that even one four hundred watt light, the bare minimum you could possibly use, would use a lot of electricity. You keep it on 24/7 for 2-3 weeks, then step down to 12/7 over the course of a week or two, and run at 12/7 for three months. A more typical setup would be four one thousand watt lights. Your electric bill would average over $800 a month for that.

  • they want the energy to be used, (they want $$$) they just want us to think they want us to use less
    • Re:My guess.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:44PM (#34795144) Homepage Journal

      they want the energy to be used, (they want $$$) they just want us to think they want us to use less

      If by "they" you mean the energy corporations, you're right. County officials being among the easiest of all government officials to bribe, and usually the least expensive, I can't imagine that the 2010 version of Enron would miss such an opportunity.

  • The ordinance also mentions "significant health questions" raised about "increased electromagnetic frequently radiation (EMF) emitted by the wireless technology in SmartMeters." Reminds of "My neighbors wifi gives me migraines..."
    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Fortunately, there is already an answer to those "significant health questions."

  • The ordinance also mentions "significant health questions" raised about "increased electromagnetic frequently radiation (EMF) emitted by the wireless technology in SmartMeters."

    I wonder how many in the Marin County government also don't carry cellular phones (often near their hips or groins), or use wifi, or bluetooth.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:40PM (#34795080) Homepage Journal

    Could set up a solution so that the data is sent over the power lines instead of being wireless?

    • I asked this question to PGE.

      They claimed that they looked into it, but the bandwidth was not wide enough.

      Really? What kind of bandwidth does one need to send power usage information?

      My guess was that they wanted to set up another "last mile" network for later commercialization.

      Network over power lines is the obvious solution for a smart meter, and that is a common setup in Europe.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        They claimed that they looked into it, but the bandwidth was not wide enough.

        Really? What kind of bandwidth does one need to send power usage information?

        1 bit per day transfer speeds would by far exceed the information they get by someone reading the meter...

      • Data rates for BPL (Broadband over Power Line) is about 3Mb/s. This is too slow to sell it as a DSL competitor, but fine for AMI data. The largest amount of data they would need to send would be during a firmware upgrade which could be from 50MB-200MB, so 3Mb/s should be sufficient and is similar to other data methods. PLC (Power Line Carrier) was on-par with modem speeds (which PGE tired this), and may be what they are referring to.

        The common reason for not using BPL is that you need to "hop" ove
      • by Mysteray (713473)

        Really? What kind of bandwidth does one need to send power usage information?

        Not much. But consider what happens when a security hole is found. Say it requires a 2MB firmware update on all 10M of your customers' meters.

        (smart meter firmware size)*(installed base)/bandwidth = (minimum number of days the attacker has blinkenlights capability over your grid)

        I can't take credit for this observation. I can dig up the reference if you'd like.

        • Couldn't they build in some sort of (broad/multi)cast into the spec so they can send firmware updates to everybody at once?

  • What people need is a broadcast of the current energy price, so they can optimize their usage. Reporting peoples usage habits has NO value to either the customer or overall energy consumption. The power company is not going to control the customer usage (except with interruptabe servive).
  • could well actually increase total electricity consumption and therefore the carbon footprint

    What about the carbon footprint of all the vehicles used daily by meter readers? How can a lower power transmission come close to that?

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Um... they still wander around checking the meters once a month. The smart meters are for tracking usage over the course of the month and monitoring when usage is highest.

      They already installed mine back when I was unable to decline for any reason. My concerns are the documented inaccuracies, signal interference with wifi, security (anyone with a bit of electronics know how can read your meter) and general pointlessness (since they still have to read the meters by hand to bill you).
      • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

        Seems they could simply add a module to track all of that throughout the month then have the meterperson gather that when they make their rounds... if that's what smart meters are really intended for.

      • by sribe (304414)

        They already installed mine back when I was unable to decline for any reason. My concerns are the documented inaccuracies, signal interference with wifi, security (anyone with a bit of electronics know how can read your meter) and general pointlessness (since they still have to read the meters by hand to bill you).

        Not the ones around here. They can remotely read them from quite a distance away. They still have to drive around. But there's less driving, less stop and go, and no reading by hand.

  • And the unions ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by perpenso (1613749) on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:53PM (#34795296)
    I would be surprised if utility workers unions did not have some input here, meter readers being automated out of a job. I'm not being paranoid, I grew up in such a union household. Although my dad would have been the guy installing/replacing a meter not reading it.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      If that's the case, who can blame them? Rather than efficiency gains going to pay better wages or reduce hours, the efficiency gains are largely going to the upper class. And it's not being replaced by any alternative means of getting money for food, clothing or shelter either.

      Investing isn't a viable option for those that don't have a job, or are just squeaking by with the bare essentials.
  • by epyT-R (613989) on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:57PM (#34795352)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_meter [wikipedia.org]

    I'm not claiming this wiki article is complete, but the amateur HF bands are far far away from 900Mhz. I could understand a complaint if the switching supply in the meters (that drives the embedded logic) spewed harmonic RFI and/or dumped noise on the line due to a bad (cheap) design. I think electronic dimmers, radio driven electric fences, and existing broadband-over-power solutions are much bigger threats to HF bands than the circuits in these things.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Oops, I forgot that there's a 900Mhz AR band now. My apologies..

    • You're attempting to apply some rational analysis to the problem, when the problem is actually irrational behavior. It doesn't matter that there's a 900 MHz band or where bands are at all. What matters is that a bunch of misled or malicious folks misled other folks into becoming the horde of angry villagers with pitchforks and firebrands chasing something that they don't understand

    • by JakiChan (141719)

      Amateur Radio has a secondary allocation on 900-928Mhz. The ordinance doesn't say anything about HF.

      Also, there are first responder radio systems in 900Mhz, and these smart meters don't play nice.

  • ...I agree with the reasoning behind it (seems like a lot of handwaving - especially the "wifi is scary and will kill your children while you sleep" bit) but frankly I'm glad. In my experience Smart Meters are little more than a money grab by the utility/landlord and have a negligible effect on actual consumption. When I was renting an apartment a few years ago they offered to install one in my apartment. "Stop paying for your neighbors electricity and pay for your own" they told me. Although I wasn't a

  • by Simonetta (207550) on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:58PM (#34795380)

    Marin crosses the line in legislating psuedo-science into an active ordinance. I hear the anti_smart-meter people present their case on KBOO (www.kboo.fm) radio, the world-class alternative radio station out of southeast Portland Oregon USA. They're well-intentioned and enthusiastic, but they really seem a little touched with the ol'hippy paranoia 'all science is evil' herb-induced vibe.

        Marin is a strange place. I've visited there many times and it seems normal and well-ordered, but it has a true bizarre historical undercurrent that goes back a hundred years (even before all the rich hippies moved there in the 1970s). It's =almost= the kind of place that would pass a law forcing the sun to rise in the West in order to get a great morning sunrise for the folks living in Stinson Beach. It is exactly the kind of place that people would ban a technology that they don't quite understand and doesn't appear to do anything to make them younger and more beautiful and more hip (and more rich). They are exactly the kind of people who would consider a piece of equipment from the power company ('a rather déclassé institution run by drab ordinary pedestrian types, not-our-sort-of-globally-aware-organic-people', dahrling) that emits radio signals from their home-lifespace to be an evil intrusion. If it's not spying on you for the Republicans, then it's trying to keep track of how much electricity is being diverted from your hot tub to the grow lights in your secret garden.

        Marin has probably changed a lot since "The Serial" was published in the late 1970s, but it's the kind of place where the people pay a lot of money and a lot of karmic energy to make sure that it doesn't change all that much. Still they have crossed the line on this one issue.

        Personally, I'd love to live in Marin. The MILFs are as gorgeous as the models. It's the 'coolest' place on earth. The grass is greener and everything's always groovy, no matter how stupid and ugly the rest of the world becomes. But I'm a little too ugly and a little to poor to be accepted as one of the 'golden cloud people' north of the Golden Gate.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:00PM (#34795394) Journal

    This is really about some people who have seen vastly increased bills. Now, the question is: are the new meters wrong or were the old electromechanical meters (installed decades ago) wrong?

    Occam, whare are you? Or, as the saying goes, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

  • This neck of the woods is populated by the 'cult crowd' mentality as far as I see and hear it.

    Erhards EST & the 'exclusive gathering' with inside information about XX (be it global warming, vaccinations & autism, or TV and miscarriages) manages to put a scare in darned near everything.

    It is almost impossible for me to stop laughing when the newest 'fact' of coming doom is related in Marin.

    Problem is, that if I laugh, I loose some good friends.

    • Problem is, that if I laugh, I loose some good friends.

      Then what happens? Is their grip on reality so tenuous that they float off into the sky or something?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:02PM (#34795432)

    One. Advertised: if the utility company is having trouble delivering the demanded power, they can reduce the voltage a little bit and buy/generate a little bit less (expensive) peak power. Your lights will burn a little less brightly, but you probably won't notice.Not advertised: if the utility company is having trouble making money or needs a place to sink their spinning reserves during off-peak demand, they can use SG to raise the delivered voltage to end customers. Your lights will burn a little brighter, but you probably won't notice. It will also cost you a little bit more. Too bad.

    Two. Advertised: through price signals and load shedding, the utility can reduce the peak-to-trough difference in electricity demand, lowering the cost of delivering electric power and passing the savings on to you. Not advertised: the utility can replace fast-response generators like natural gas with slower response generators like coal, because they don't need as much fast response generation capacity to deal with their now smaller peaks. Of course, coal has a bigger carbon footprint than gas. Too bad.

    • by JSBiff (87824)

      "the utility can replace fast-response generators like natural gas with slower response generators like coal, because they don't need as much fast response generation capacity to deal with their now smaller peaks. Of course, coal has a bigger carbon footprint than gas."

      Or nuclear (which I believe is also slow-response), which has a smaller carbon footprint than gas.

  • Yeah, federal law pre-empts, only the FCC gets to regulate wireless devices and their use. I'm pretty sure (IANAL) that this is a case where the power company, if it wishes, can simply ignore the ordinance. And the country is stupid enough to try to enforce fines or sue, crush them in court.

  • As far as radio interference goes, Wenzel's Techlib [techlib.com] has some info about how to mitigate this. Of course, sdddddddddddwsssssssssssssss cvvvvvvvvvvvvvv;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
    Sorry, cat got on keyboard. Anyway. Of course, it's not like the technicians installing the meters are checking for ground loops... but perhaps they should be? If there is that much potential to interfere with first responders, you'd think some tests on the wiring would be in order...

  • by The Raven (30575)
    • privacy concerns associated with measuring energy usage data moment by moment: Almost believable, but since when has government cared about privacy?
    • potential for adverse impact on emergency communication systems used by first responders and amateur radio operators: Possible, I don't know what frequency they operate on. If it's not in the bands those areas use then this is FUD.
    • could well actually increase total electricity consumption and therefore the carbon footprint: Complete FUD. Driving around readi

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