- Devvy - 'Smart' Meter That Does
NOT Save Energy
Exclusive for Rense
- If you are unfamiliar with my first two
columns, they are in the links at the bottom of this column.
- One of the big selling points about "smart"
meters is that they are so energy efficient. They will be good for the
environment and will reduce energy consumption and costs. Sounds good,
but any truth to those claims?
- Let me define a few acronyms here because when I started
all this research months ago, it got a bit confusing at first.
- AMS - Advanced Metering System. The "smart"
meter is considered in that classification.
- PURA -Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. I believe
all 50 states have one, but may not all use PURA
- PURPA -Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978.
PURPA, was passed as part of the National Energy Act
- EPAct - Energy Policy Act of 1992. EPAct was intended
to encourage the development of a competitive wholesale power market
- In my second column, part I (see links below), I cited
a press release, February 8, 2011, by Connecticut's Attorney General
George Jepsen urging state regulators to reject Cl & Ps plan to replace
- "To evaluate the technical capabilities and reliability
of the advanced metering system, state regulators previously approved a
limited study of 10,000 meters. Between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2009, CL&P
tested the meters on 1,251 residential and 1,186 small commercial and industrial
customers, who volunteered and were paid for their participation in the
study. The company reported its results to the DPUC on Feb. 25, 2010. "The
pilot results showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage,"
- What is the current status in Connecticut? I sent an
inquiry to Attorney General Jepsen's office and one of their attorney's
was gracious enough to take the time to reply to an inquiry even though
I live in Texas:
- "Connecticut Light & Power Co.'s smart meter
case remained open and pending through the entire summer. On August 29,
the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority issued a draft decision rejecting
CL&P's smart meter proposal because it was not shown to be cost effective.
Specifically, the draft notes that CL&P's plan would cost $863 million
and contemplates a 4 year deployment of new meters. The PURA noted the
rapidly evolving nature of smart meter technology, that national protocols
have not yet been set, and it was risky to pick a technology before those
protocols are set. In short the Company's proposal came at a high up-front
cost and offered little or no benefits in return.
- "On August 30, the state Department of Energy and
Environmental Protection (DEEP) wrote a letter to PURA, formally asking
it to suspend its actions in the smart meter cases until it could develop
a policy on smart meters as required by Public Act 11-80. The Office of
the Attorney General concurred in that request. On Sept. 8, PURA granted
those motions. The next step is development of a smart meter policy by
- Are there any other opinions about "smart"
meters not being energy efficient?
- Remarks of Stefanie A. Brand
- Director of the N.J. Division of Rate Counsel
- Regarding Energy Efficiency
- Before the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities
- February 25, 2008
- "2. Resist the urge to buy the latest gadget.
- "Fancy meters and smart grids are cool. But they
are expensive and by themselves they don't save electricity. They simply
tell you where and when you are using it. There is no electricity saved
unless you reduce your usage every time you see that information. In the
future they may replace the existing meters we have, but in the present
we don't need one in every ratepayer's home or business. Here's why:
- "· We don't need them to tell us where we
can save electricity or how to target energy efficiency programs. We already
know where we can start saving and we need to start now.
- "· They are expensive. At $300 each we can
spend that money on other measures that will produce larger actual reductions
in annual usage. It's like spending all your money on an expensive new
refrigerator and having none left over to buy food to put in it, rather
than buying a less expensive one that does the same job and leaves you
money for food. The studies that have been done have not really compared
what you would get if you took the equivalent amount of money and used
it for more traditional energy efficiency measures."
- Update July 6, 2011
Discusses AMI (Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory
- "I am sure it was not intended to be a debate on
the merits of smart meters, but let's just say the discussion got lively
as Itron's Dan Pfeiffer's comments followed New Jersey Consumer Advocate
Stefanie Brand's statement. Stefanie made it clear that in her view, advanced
metering infrastructure ("AMI") also commonly referred to as
"smart meters," are not so smart and in New Jersey have not been
shown to be cost-effective. As a result, New Jersey is not deploying smart
meters at this time. To garner her support, AMI programs should be voluntary
and ideally provide consumers rate reductions that are greater than the
cost of the meter. "Outage protection and remote shut-off is not enough,"
explained Brand. "Smart meters provide information but do not do anything.
You have to do the work."
- Advanced Metering Infrastructure
Implications for Residential Customers in New Jersey - July 8, 2008
- Prepared by Rick Hornby, Charles Salamone, Stu Perry,
- Dr. David White, Kenji Takahashi
- Prepared for New Jersey Department of Public Advocate
- Division of Rate Counsel
- "The smart meter has the ability to relay price
signals to controls within the home.
- "However, the AMI system does not include any controls
within the home. The smart meter also has the ability to record and store
hourly usage data, to report status of power supply, and to turn power
for the entire home off or on (i.e., remote disconnection or
- connection of service).
- "The communications network has the ability to send
prices and control signals to the smart meter, as well as to collect information
from the meter including whether the home is receiving power, whether certain
appliances are on or off, and hourly electricity use. The MDMA is computer
hardware and software that can process the hourly usage data collected
by the meter and transmitted on the communication network.
- "Again, it is important to reiterate that an AMI
system does not include any controls on the customer side of the meter,
i.e., within the residence, such as switches or thermostats that would
control appliances in response to the price signals. Customers who participate,
or utility customers as a whole, would have to pay for any such controls
within their homes.
- "The meters and communication systems utilities
currently use for residential customers typically do not have this functionality.
Instead, most residential meters are typically only read once a month and,
as a result, the utility does not know how much electricity a particular
residential customer actually uses in a given hour or period during that
- "In contrast, the meters and communication systems
that the utility uses to serve its large usage customers in the commercial,
institutional and industrial sectors do have the ability to record actual
customer usage by hour.
- "The major forecast benefits to a utility from an
investment in AMI are expected savings in the costs of operating their
distribution systems. In particular an investment in AMI would enable utilities
to control and read meters electronically and thereby eliminate staff
currently required to read meters and to turn power on- and off at the
meter. This would produce a reduction in the utility's annual labor costs."
- I have mentioned this several times: Good-bye to tens
of thousands of meter reader jobs in this country as we slide into a depression.
- Ms. Brand was absolutely correct: the consumer has to
monitor the meter constantly in order to "save energy" and money.
- Recall in my second column I spoke about the Spring
2011 issue of Industry Week and let me quote: ""Manufacturers
now are focusing far more on supplying the smart grid, in part because
the market is much more lucrative. Sensors and devices will be an $85.5
billion market by 2014, according to a Zpryme Research & Consulting
LLC report. To capitalize on this shift, many smart-grid manufacturers
are gearing up by adding people and ramping up their product development.
While working on building the demand side is still important, supply presents
increased opportunities for manufacturers."
- The "smart" meter is critical to the "smart"
grid in covering this nation with more dirty
electricity. But, this is all about big money.....maybe. Let me go
back to the Advanced Metering Infrastructure study above:
- "Savings to utility. The AMI filings of utilities
in other states, and the studies prepared by New Jersey EDCs, indicate
the total cost of AMI, measured as the net present value (NPV) of revenue
requirements over 15 years, would be greater than the NPV of forecast savings
in utility operating costs over the same period. The forecast savings from
automating various distribution system operations range from fifty percent
to seventy-five percent of the total cost. As a result, we assume that
utilities who invest in AMI will eventually file for an increase in their
distribution service rates in order to recover that shortfall.
- "Savings to ratepayers. The estimates of savings
to residential customers from AMIenabled dynamic pricing, a form of time-differentiated
pricing, hinge upon three major assumptions:
- "· the reduction in peak use per participating
- "· the percentage of customers who will voluntarily
- "· the long-term persistence of the reductions
per participating customer.
- "There is considerable uncertainty regarding each
of these assumptions despite the results from pilot projects in other jurisdictions.
First, most pilots entice customers to participate through some form of
"appreciation" payment and therefore provide no guidance regarding
the percentage of customers who will voluntarily participate in the absence
of such an incentive. Second, most pilots have only operated a few years,
thus they provide little guidance regarding the long-term persistence of
participation and reductions per participant.
- "In addition, even if one accepts the assumptions
made by EDCs about AMI-enabled dynamic pricing, the economics are not particularly
attractive either for those customers who participate or for residential
customers in general. For example, one analysis estimates that an average
residential customer would reduce his or her electricity use by 16 percent
during a critical peak period in order to save approximately $1.24. If
that customer had the same reduction in each CPP, and there were 8 CPPs
or "events" over the summer, the customer would save $ 9.92 for
the year. Based upon those estimated savings per residential customer,
that analysis then assumes that fifty percent of residential customers
would voluntarily choose to participate in dynamic pricing, and would continue
to do so at that level of reduction for at least 15 years. Even with these
three optimistic assumptions, that analysis indicates that it would take
approximately 15 years for the aggregate savings from AMI-enabled dynamic
pricing to offset the shortfall between the total cost of AMI and the forecast
savings in utility operating costs."
- Translated, that means the utility companies will go
for rate hikes when they take it in the shorts -- and they will.
- This is going on in many states. It
happened last year here in Texas with people's utility bills doubling:
- "Why the Rise in Energy Rates with the SmartMeter?
One of the propaganda ads about the SmartMeter was that this will be a
way to save energy and lower costs, but many who already have the meter
are finding out that is not the case. A man called to find out why his
rates had gone up and was told that now that the meter could read exactly
what time of the day that he was washing his clothes or using his air conditioner,
PG&E could determine if that was "peak time" or not, and
since it was "peak time" then he would have to pay "peak
premium rates." If he wanted to save money then he could wash his
clothes in the middle of the night or use his other appliances at that
time, or his air conditioner then (when he really didn't need it anymore
because the temperature is cooler). Many other people have reported dramatic
increases in their rates, not decreases. As of March 2010, six hundred
complaints had been received by PG&E in Northern California because
of their faulty rates."
- Regulatory Aspects of Smart Metering: United States Experience
- Submitted on behalf of the National Association of Regulatory
Utility Commissioners by:
- Diane Ramthun, Assistant General Counsel, Wisconsin Public
- Sarah R. Thomas, California Public Utilities Commission,
- January 26, 2011
- "As a building block to the smart grid, state regulatory
commissions want to encourage the deployment of smart meters, while ensuring
that projects are in the public interest. Under their broad authority to
regulate utilities, state regulatory commissions are establishing rules
and guidance for utilities in deploying smart meters as well as other smart
grid projects. For example, commissions in Texas and California have established
minimum functionality requirements for smart meters and guidelines in the
analysis of benefits/costs.
- "State regulatory commissions are also reviewing
smart meter projects in the context of utilities seeking approval to make
large scale installations, obtain cost recovery through rates, and impose
new tariffs and consumer practices related to smart meters. The Public
Service Commission of Maryland, for example, in a landmark decision reviewed
a proposal for a large scale deployment of smart meters by a utility and
initially rejected it, in part because the Commission disagreed with the
proposed cost recovery method.
- "1. Institute for Electric Efficiency, September
2010 Update, Edisonfoundation.net/iee/ (last visited January 20, 2011).
For the purposes of this reference, smart meters are defined as advanced
meters that allow for two-way communication and real-time electricity consumption
- "2. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Pub.L.
No. 111-5 (2009) (Title IV Energy and Water Development, Dept. of
Energy, "Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability" states
that "funds shall be available for expenses necessary for electricity
and energy reliability activities to modernize the electric grid, to include
demand responsive equipment, enhance security and reliability of the energy
infrastructure, energy storage research, development, demonstration and
- "3. 16 Texas Admin. Code § 25.130 (2007).
- "4. Decision Adopting Policies and Findings Pursuant
to the Smart Grid Policies Established by the Energy Information and Security
Act of 2007, No. 08-12-009, 2008 Cal. PUC LEXIS 541 (Cal. P.U.C. Dec. 22,
2008). Decision Adopting Requirements for Smart Grid Deployment Plans Pursuant
to Senate Bill 17 (Padilla) Chapter 329, Statutes of 209 (Cal. P.U.C. June
24, 2010), 2010 Cal. PUC LEXIS 233, 282 P.U.R. 4th 189."
- This from the great State of Georgia: Will the Smart Meter
decrease my energy bill?
- "The Smart Meter will not decrease the amount of
your energy bill. However, in the future, the system will allow Georgia
Power to offer you detailed energy usage information and rate options so
you can better manage your home's energy usage."
- June 5, 2011: Billions of Taxpayer $$$ Wasted on Risky Technology
- "10. Increased Charges to Rate Payers
- "There are widespread reports of excessive charges,
due to malfunctioning smart meters. In Bakersfield, CA, where PG&E
started installing the first smart meters, more than 100 people attended
a meeting held by State Sen. Florez to complain about absurd electric bills.
Those with new smart meters had bills 200-400% higher, with no increase
in power use as compared to the same months of the previous year."
- Going back to Industry Week cited above: "The demand
portion includes how to control energy inside the consumer space: smart
meters on buildings, smart thermostats and smart appliances, to name a
- This is all about controlling what you do in your own
home and conditioning people for energy rationing down the line. Mark my
words because sustainable development is the name of the ugly game. Control
everything about your life, how you can live, How much eneergy you will
be allowed to use, where you can live; this
article explains it in spades.
- "Patrick Wood, co-founder of The August Institute
and editor/publisher of The August Forecast and Review, may have discovered
the answer; and he presented his findings this June at the California Eagle
Forum in Sacramento. It was the group's Tenth Annual State Conference,
and the organizers chose for a theme: "Agenda 21 and Its Many Tentacles"
of which Smart Grid can certainly be regarded as one.
- "As described by Wikipedia: "Agenda 21 is the
action plan of the United Nations related to sustainable development, and
was an outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
(UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is a comprehensive
blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations
of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans
directly affect the environment."
- "Wood titled his talk: How Agenda 21 Seeks to Implement
Big Brother's Technocracy Controls through Smart Meters, Smart Grids, and
Smart Growth which pretty well sums up his conclusions.
- "Smart Grid enables control over energy (water and
natural gas, too!), distribution and consumption, on a local, national
and global basis," Wood states on his web page.
- "With its ability to continuously monitor electrical
usage and control electrical devices in people's homes, "Smart Grid
is not just a new system for delivering electricity more efficiently; it's
the enablement of Technocracy," he told his audience; and later: "It's
a subset of Technocracy."
- As to the status my case. I have completed more than
100 hours of legal research to cut down on billable hours by my attorney
as well as chasing down PUC regulations, federal and state legislation
(endless and you have to read all 438, 226, 109 or 65 pages or miss something
that can bite you later), and some other legal inquiries. All very time
consuming. However, there will be much on the legal side for my attorney
to do before and during the hearing. Right now I'm trying to line up expert
witnesses who will give testimony without compensation. You see, a public
hearing regarding a formal complaint to the Texas PUC is, according to
the PUC's web site, "...much like a trial where testimony and evidence
can be admitted for the Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) consideration
in making a decision on the case."
- I have already inquired and we can have expert witnesses
testify via telephone. In my previous columns I covered the failed lawsuits
and the problems with just putting up a sign or tinkering with a 'smart'
meter and the possible legal repercussions by a utility company for defacing
their property. My case in Texas is very important. While the folks in
Maine did win an opt-out, they were then penalized with a once time charge
($40.00) and a recurring monthly service "fee" ($12.50). We intend
to do better in my case and we intend to make our win set the stage for
other other states.
- Very seldom do I ask for donations; maybe every year
or two for a special project. My husband and I live on a fixed income and
attorney fees for this type of process runs into many thousands of dollars.
If you can make a donation (to date four people have been so kind as to
make one), please
go here; all donations go directly to my attorney. The information
is also there if you live in Texas and would like to become a petitioner;
to date we have seven. Ideally, a few hundred will smack the TPUC into
reality along with expert witness testimony. In the end, John and I will
be responsible for the balance of legal costs, but I feel we have no choice.
- Incidentally, ONCOR claimed they had no access to my
analog meter so they "estimated" my utility bills for June &
July at $397 bux and some change for each month; they were almost identical
except for about seventy five cents. Surprise, surprise. The meter reader
showed up two weeks ago. I unlocked the gate and escorted him to the meter.
Very nice, cheerful young man. He can thank me he still has a job. Anyway,
it took that young fella about 15 seconds to read my meter. I then escorted
him back through the gate and locked it. My new bill arrived the other
day: $218.00. My, my. Defines the phrase "rip off".
- While we all wish the hearing were tomorrow, it takes
time because we only have one shot at this (metaphorically speaking) and
it has to be done right. I thank you in advance for your financial support.
- My fight against the 'smart meter'
Meters - The new silent killer
- Remember: Your privacy is now someone else's paycheck
- Smart Meters Can Reveal Your Personal Habits in The Worldwide
minute presentation on "Technocracy" Patrick Wood (Video)
- Smart Grid: The Implementation of Technocracy?
Meter Protect in California (video)
- What's Wrong with Smart Meters? A Beginner's Guide
- Rejected from Stimulus Funding, Dayton Power & Light Says
No to Smart Meters
- DOE's Scott Blake Harris Discusses Smart Grid.
- What bilge. Build new jobs off rotten technology.
- Pennsylvania Smart Meter Plans
- http://www.devvy.com. You may also sign up for her free email alerts.
This Site Served