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City "exercise its right" to remove those looking to stand in the way of "progress"

In an incident that's sure to draw national attention, two women were dragged from their own backyards and arrested by police in Naperville, Illinois (a town located approximately 30 minutes west of Chicago) after they tried to block installation of the city's new smart meters.

President Obama has been pushing for a "smart grid" for some time, with more high-tech meters that can access more detailed information on power usage.  Proponents argue the high-tech meters cut down on waste and mistakes.  Critics cite a variety of concerns ranging from national security to health.

The two arrested women -- Jennifer Stahl and Malia "Kim" Bendis -- were leaders of an anti-smart meter group dubbed "Naperville Smart Meter Awareness".  The group's website links to a critical article on the project which points out its $23.6M USD cost, only $11M USD of which came from a federal grant.

Even Mark Curran the Naperville director of electrical utilities admits that the meter rollout has taken "longer than we anticipated", after being fraught with technical delays.

smart meter arrests
Arrest photos of Jennifer Stahl (left) and Malia Bendis (right) [Image Source: Naperville PD]

Aside from finances, though, there appears to be a relatively strong luddite component of the group's campaign to block the meters.  The group links to a number of speculative websites that compile information on the supposed "health risks" of smart meters.  The commentary on one site ( echoes the medically unfounded claims that similar campaigns have leveled against cell phone towers or Wi-Fi networks.  Comments the site:

This is of great concern because the exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation from these meters is involuntary and continuous. The transmitting meters may not even comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "safety" standards ... However, those standards were initially designed to protect an average male from tissue heating (cooking) during a brief exposure. These standards were not designed to protect a diverse population from the non-thermal effects of continuous exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation. Therefore, these "safety" standards were not designed to protect the public from health problems under the circumstances which the meters are being used.

To date, there has been no comprehensive peer-reviewed work supporting the notion that Wi-Fi or cell phone signals cause cancer or other health effects, but that hasn't stopped critics from suggesting that undiscovered risks may indeed exist.

Smart Meter protesters
Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Board of Directors (L-R): Jennifer Stahl (Secretary), Kim Bendis (President), and Board Members Amanda Rykov, Lisa Rooney, Tom Glass
[Image Source: Naperville Smart Meter Awareness]

Despite the shaky science, one must wonder whether the city's strong-arm tactics are justified for citizens who don't want the meters.  Ms. Stahl's arrest came at 4:30 when police invaded her backyard with the installation crew after cutting the bicycle lock she used on her fence gate.  When police found Ms. Stahl standing in front of her old-fashioned "dumb" meter refusing to move, they arrested her and charged her with interfering with a police officer and preventing access to customer premises.

Ms. Bendis's arrest proceeded similarly.  She was charged with attempted eavesdropping and resisting a peace officer.

A defiant Ms. Stahl told reporters, "It was forced on my house today.  It was really a violation. I violated something, but I’ve been violated too so I guess we’re now in a society of violating one another.  I have not done the work of attempting to educate the community and advocating for the right of anybody in Naperville to refuse the smart meter just to stand off to the side."

Ms. Bendis declined to comment to reporters, citing advice from her lawyer.

Both women were released within hours.  City Manager Doug Krieger defends the arrests, commenting, "The previous installation attempts were met with some resistance and we wanted to ensure our employees’ safety.  The city has always had and maintains the right to access our equipment, and today we were simply exercising that right."

Smart Meter
The Elster Rex2 smart meter (left) is being installed in homes, supported by wireless stations attached to poles and other infrastructure (right).
[Image Source: Naperville Smart Meter Awareness/Elster]

While the cost is one reasonable criticism against smart meter projects, another more ground criticism is security.  Prominent sources, including defense contractor Lockheed Martin Comp. (LMT), have suggested that Chinese or other sophisticated rivals of the U.S. could "hack into" smart meter networks and use attacks to cripple or otherwise interfere with the U.S. power grid.  If this premise holds true it would represent a tremendous new national security risk.

Another interesting criticism comes from security researchers [PDF], who report that smart meter data, if carefully analyzed, could reveal intimate details of one's life.  For example, a house hooked up to smart water and electric meters could allow a third party to track when people shower, whether a home alarm is on, and how often people use their televisions.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald [Naperville]

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Waste of money
By arazok on 1/24/2013 3:32:04 PM , Rating: 4
We have these in Ontario. The government spent billions rolling them out so they could charge varying prices depending on the time of day you used your power. The idea was that by billing more for peak usage, people would shift to using power in cheaper, low usage times.

At the time, power cost 5.5 cents a Kwh. To get people on board, they dropped the overnight rates to 2 cents a KwH, and hiked the peak rate to 6 cents a Kwh. If you chose to do your laundry and run your dish washer overnight or on weekends (non-peak times), you could save a few bucks. That was 10 years ago, and because it could only save you money – opposition was muted.

Now these are fully rolled out. Today, our rates are: 6 cents a Kwh for off peak demand. 10 cents a Kwh for peak demand. Now it’s impossible to save money, but the government can claim that power is the same cost as 10 years if you simply shift your usage. For some reason, the media has said little about this.

On top of that, studies released by the power authority showed that once a house gets on the smart meter, people initialy shift their demand. But after a few months, they revert to their pre-smart meter usage patterns. Largely because it’s a royal pain to schedule your life around off-peak usage. People just pay the higher rate.

The government spent billions of dollars on a system that does not deliver any results.

RE: Waste of money
By Director12 on 1/24/2013 3:38:08 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, my wife works for a power company and can confirm that this is the tactic. The other thing that pundits don't tell you is that these things can be used to control 'smart' appliances but turning them on/off according to the state of the grid (or the whims of the state?).

As for the article, the state destroyed private property, trespassed on private land and arrested the woman for no 'crime' other than standing up against local tyranny. She should sue the lot of them.

RE: Waste of money
By Solandri on 1/24/2013 4:50:52 PM , Rating: 5
Legally, you don't own the meter. Nor do you have rights to restrict access to the easement through (or over) which power lines run through your land to get to the meter. I've run into this twice. First when the company (which operated 1000 acres as a hiking park) tried to prevent the city from stringing up power lines over its property. And second when a neighboring property owner tried to prevent another company I worked at from constructing a new building by blocking new electrical lines (which ran through his property). It's a utility, and utilities have the right to run lines and access them through your property along city-approved easements. You have no right to block them. So no, property rights were not violated and there was no trespassing.

It was a crappy way of handling it and is sure to generate lots of negative publicity. But it was legal. Without getting into the argument about whether the new meters are a good or bad thing, what they should've done is simply cut off power (with sufficient advance notice) if you refused to let them install the new meters. Then it becomes the homeowner's choice to allow the new meter or live without electricity.

RE: Waste of money
By Director12 on 1/24/2013 5:00:02 PM , Rating: 4
So he who makes the laws is always in the right?
I won't raise the obvious on that point.

The real answer is to generate more power, with LFTR (safe nuclear) reactors getting some attention there's no excuses IMO. Yet they persist with coal and dirty nuclear?

RE: Waste of money
By Yojimbo on 1/24/2013 8:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well what are you raising? I mean what exactly are you saying? That it's wrong for someone else to own something that's on your property? Like someone else said, electricity isn't a right, it's a commodity. You need to have the infrastructure for the delivery of the goods. The charge laid against this smart meter is that it can be a health risk, but there's no basis for that. Do you suggest that the government should step in to require any electric company to supply its goods in any willy-nilly way its customers request? Since the foundation of the complaint against the smart meters is being rejected as bogus, as it is believed that there is no health risk, why should the electric company's operations be interfered with on behalf of the protesters? The fact that the electric company is installing them to comply with a civil statute or decree is not relevant.

RE: Waste of money
By Yojimbo on 1/24/2013 8:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
anyway, i also have a problem with people being dragged off their own property in such a case. Perhaps the electric company should have just turned the power off and left, but there might be regulations prohibiting them, etc. But it's not clear exactly what happened at the scene that resulted in their arrest.

RE: Waste of money
By George Karadimas on 1/27/2013 8:29:21 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah! The STANDARD OBFUSCATION statement "But it's not clear exactly what happened at the scene that resulted in their arrest." SO!...... Let us leave it to the AUTHORITIES to sort it out! Just like putting a Fox in charge of the hen-house and then wondering why there are chickens missing, with marked and repeated regularity!

Smart Meters is an AGENDA 21 instrument of SUBJUGATION!
Mark it on your wall for reference , for the day that you come to your moment of awakening!

RE: Waste of money
By Mint on 1/25/2013 9:17:39 AM , Rating: 1
Guess what: LFTR and other nuclear produce baseload power. If people use more power in the day than at night, you can't use LFTR it for the difference, because half of it will be wasted.

That's why you need smart meters to encourage people to use electricity at night instead of daytime. The more even the demand curve, the more efficiently we can generate electricity. It's true for natural gas, too.

With dumb meters, people using electricity during low periods are paying more than market rate to subsidize people using power during peak times.

The number of recs you and arazok got for your posts really points out the idiocy of DT's readership.

RE: Waste of money
By RufusM on 1/25/2013 11:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is: How are people going to change their behavior?

People can install a programmable thermostat that decreases some HVAC usage during the day or at night, but millions of people are at home during the same times, so how is the behavior going to change? I can't heat or cool my house more during off hours because it won't last very long. I can't shut of my fridge/freezer during the day.

I guess I *could* stay up all night and only cook and do laundry at 2:00 AM but that's not really practical.

RE: Waste of money
By djc208 on 1/28/2013 12:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Some of it can't be shifted, you are correct. But most newer appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and even dryers have delay features that allow you to have them run at off-peak times. Which can also be good from a noise/disturbance standpoint.

For people that use electric for their hot water that can also be modified to do more of it's heating during off-peak hours. This also dovetails onto the above as washing clothes/dishes will require hot water. I can remember just such a system at a friend's house over 20 years ago, should be easy today.

Many electric cars offer charging control to allow people to take advantage of the best charging times/rates. No reason small things like phones and tablets can't do the same. May seem tiny but over the millions of devices it becomes significant. My computers are already set to wake up and perform backups during the night, which is both convenient and off-peak.

In the future more appliances will offer programmable or smart capabilities to take advantage of these types of controls. Smart meters would allow them to automatically shift their useage around the rate structure, i.e a fridge that cools to a lower than normal set point during the night and then only comes on during the peak hours if necessary.

RE: Waste of money
By MZperX on 1/25/2013 12:52:22 PM , Rating: 3
If people use more power in the day than at night, you can't use LFTR it for the difference, because half of it will be wasted.

This is patently untrue. LFTR has excellent load following characteristics, not to mention that load following is pretty much a hands-off inherent part of the way the reactor operates. It is capable of being on long term standby and ramp up to meet peak demand. Conventional BWR and PWR reactors are notoriously bad at this. Not so with LFTR.

That's why you need smart meters to encourage people to use electricity at night instead of daytime.

And how in purple hell would most people do this? I don't know about you but my family is asleep at night. Most families are in fact. Short of charging an EV overnight, which again most people don't have, what could the public possibly do to "even out demand"? This is pie-in-the-sky nonsense. We need realistic solutions that accomodate human behavior instead of mandating/forcing behavior to mask the shortcomings of our infrastructure.

RE: Waste of money
By JediJeb on 1/25/2013 6:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly! Now if the government and utility companies can somehow figure out how to make it cooler in the day and warmer at night in the summers/winters then I could use less during peak hours.

RE: Waste of money
By Mint on 1/26/2013 10:57:03 AM , Rating: 3
That's great in theory, but why do you think coal plants avoid load following, despite having much higher fuel costs than nuclear?

1. Load following causes daily thermal cycling, which causes cracks, equipment wear, etc. For a new technology like LFTR with reliability unknowns, I guarantee you that it will NOT be used in a load-following manner for decades.

2: To produce more power during the day, you need to idle some part of your equipment at night. That's a waste of capital, particularly for something with as high up-front costs as nuclear.

And how in purple hell would most people do this? I don't know about you but my family is asleep at night. Most families are in fact. Short of charging an EV overnight, which again most people don't have, what could the public possibly do to "even out demand"?
If you don't charge people according to cost, there is ZERO chance of matching behaviour with demand.

It will take new technology, but nothing particularly difficult. The biggest one is ice-based air conditioning (freeze it at night, let it melt during the day). AC is often 50%+ of the household electricity bill for southern states, so being able to chop that in half or more is a huge economic incentive. PHEVs sales are growing and will continue to do so. Fridges/freezers can cool down a few degrees extra at night and then warm during the day.

Of course it's going to take a few decades to replace our existing equipment, but it's better to start now than never.

RE: Waste of money
By piroroadkill on 1/28/2013 4:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
Apart from in France, where they're so obsessed with nuclear, some plants run in load-following mode (inefficiently)

RE: Waste of money
By Samus on 1/26/2013 12:01:45 AM , Rating: 2
Chicago electricity comes from 0 coal burning plants. Chicago and most of Illinois also has among the lowest kw/h rates in the country.

Smart meters are 'necessary' but if they want to improve the grid, they are an obvious requirement at some point in the future.

RE: Waste of money
By nocturne on 1/24/2013 5:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
Amen.. electric isn't a right, it's a commodity -- that you pay for under a contract agreement. If you want to get in the way of the electric company managing their service to you and maintaining their equipment, if anything you are breaking the service agreement and should just get your power shut off.

Let the nutjobs sit a few days without electricity, and they'll call up begging to schedule a smart meter installation -- problem solved. No police, no charges, no drama.

I personally don't find any fault with smart meters, including the fact that they can kick down the power consumption of devices like dryers and air conditioners (a whole lot of good they do if they have to instate rolling blackouts).

I just can't help but think that the enormous cost is mostly just a boondoggle...

RE: Waste of money
By Kurz on 1/25/2013 1:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
Its not the Consumers fault for those problems.
The Government and Power Companies have failed to keep up with demand. Have silenced better power alternatives like LFTRs.

Devices and appliances have been getting better.
Consumers have been switching to more energy efficient appliances.

There is a steady population growth going on.

RE: Waste of money
By George Karadimas on 1/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Waste of money
By protomech on 1/24/2013 4:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
When utility service was run out to the private property, the utility company presumably signed an agreement with the property owner to allow access to the utility equipment for purposes of accounting, maintenance, and upgrades.

RE: Waste of money
By 91TTZ on 1/24/2013 4:57:49 PM , Rating: 3
Sure, but the land owner can cancel that contract. If these people didn't want electricity they can cancel the contract if they want. That's what these people essentially did. They broke their side of the agreement by not allowing the company to install the new meter. Therefore they shouldn't get electricity.

But that's not the way the company and police handled it. They arrested the women as if she had no saw in the matter.

I can understand if they were trying to block access to a main power line that serviced many houses on the block, but they were just blocking the installation of meters specific to their houses.

RE: Waste of money
By Spuke on 1/24/2013 5:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
If these people didn't want electricity they can cancel the contract if they want. That's what these people essentially did.
If they cancelled their electric service then I could see that being so but I doubt they did. If they REALLY didn't want those meters, then they could simply go with off grid power. The power company does have a right to access their equipment.

RE: Waste of money
By 91TTZ on 1/24/2013 5:42:27 PM , Rating: 4
By them refusing the smart meter that would break the contract. Remember that the contract is customer initiated. Customers can cancel at any time.

If Comcast tells me that I need to upgrade my cable box to a new model, I can refuse. They will then cut my cable service. They won't have the police kick in my door and arrest me, though.

RE: Waste of money
By geddarkstorm on 1/24/2013 7:26:56 PM , Rating: 4
Not yet, anyways. I mean, we are talking about Comcast here ;).

RE: Waste of money
By rs2 on 1/24/2013 9:35:31 PM , Rating: 1
Wow. Glad you're not a lawyer.

Yes, customers can cancel at any time (subject to any provisions that may exist in the contract such as paying any unpaid balance; the fact that one party initiates a contract doesn't mean that they automatically get to terminate the contract at any time for any reason) provided that they give adequate notice of their intention to cancel.

However, doing something that would technically breach the contract doesn't mean that the contract automatically and immediately terminates. Whether or not the contract terminates in the event of a breach is generally at the discretion of the party who has *not* breached the contract.

For instance, if you're late on a payment you have breached the contract. The electric company may choose to immediately terminate your contract as a result, or they may decide that it makes more sense to send you a warning letter and continue providing (and billing for) services. Since you breached the contract by not paying, and since you did so without giving notice of your intention to end the contract, the electric company gets to decide whether or not they want to end the contract or allow it to continue.

The same applies to these crazy ladies and their meters. Their actions may have breached the contract, but they do not give notice or establish intent to end the contract. That leaves it up to the electric company to decide whether to cut the nutjobs off completely or require that the contract terms be enforced.

RE: Waste of money
By 91TTZ on 1/25/2013 10:43:53 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, customers can cancel at any time (subject to any provisions that may exist in the contract such as paying any unpaid balance; the fact that one party initiates a contract doesn't mean that they automatically get to terminate the contract at any time for any reason) provided that they give adequate notice of their intention to cancel.

I'm glad you're not in any position to make law.

While you can be penalized if you break a contract, the other side doesn't get a blank check as to what that penalty might be. If you agreed to have me install siding on your house and then you sign the contract and then bail because you had second thoughts you broke a contract. But I don't get a blank check as to my recourse. I can probably take you to small claims court and win some money. But I can't have you arrested while I install that siding.

That's what happened in this case. They broke a contract and the electric company can probably sue for some money, but having them arrested crossed a line. They weren't interfering with a larger-scale utility line like an underground power line that serviced their neighborhood, they were only preventing a meter from being installed on their own house.

RE: Waste of money
By blue_urban_sky on 1/25/2013 3:30:03 AM , Rating: 2
I work for BT in the UK and we have all sorts of rights which the consumer has no say about as we have a contract with the government.

When running an infrastructure that has to serve everyone fairly the rights of the individual suffer and this is correct. I would guess even if the people stopped the service the utility Co. would still have rights to access and change their meter. the only option would be to ask and pay for the infrastructure to be removed from your property.

I believe that in the USA the telco's are not considered infrastructure? so have no rights beyond being a service so are very different in power to the electric companies.

RE: Waste of money
By 91TTZ on 1/25/2013 10:35:01 AM , Rating: 2
I believe that in the USA the telco's are not considered infrastructure? so have no rights beyond being a service so are very different in power to the electric companies.

It depends. If it's a major thing like a power line or fiber optic cable running under your property it's considered a utility. But if it's just your personal cable line that's different.

I couldn't tell Verizon that they can't run a fiber optic backbone under my yard because the municipality would step in and say that I can't impede the installation of a public utility. But if Verizon tried to run a cable to my house to make it more likely that I'll buy FIOS then I can tell them to stop.

RE: Waste of money
By Flunk on 1/24/2013 3:46:33 PM , Rating: 5
I also live in Ontario. I now make sure to only do my laundry/run the washing machine/etc. off hours. This is a little annoying. Otherwise I just pay the extra because cost wise it's not worth a major inconvience.

The real reason they're doing this is that Ontario is quite often actually paying northern US states to take our excess power (Nuclear reactors don't ramp down so quickly or easily). If they "shift" our usage to off times then they'll save money. That whole idea is due to incompetent management and it's not even working.

RE: Waste of money
By chmilz on 1/24/2013 3:56:05 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, prices went up over 10 years? This is a first!

And here I was all along thinking inflation was a naturally occurring part of economics and not a government scandal. Glad I've been properly educated.

RE: Waste of money
By arazok on 1/24/2013 4:14:34 PM , Rating: 3
Are you an idiot? The price almost doubled to 10 cents in 10 years. Inflation over that period is apx 25%.

RE: Waste of money
By tastyratz on 1/24/2013 4:28:21 PM , Rating: 4
whoa whoa whoa hold up your horses,
are you now exclaiming that we not only experience inflation... but that the cost of energy has risen in the last few years too?

Gas has tripled in the last 3 years. ONLY doubling your electric price sounds like a deal.

Here in the usa where I am I would kill for a 10c/kwh electric price nevermind 6c off peak. I pay 12/13c all day and it hasn't been much better than that for years..

RE: Waste of money
By JediJeb on 1/24/2013 4:45:09 PM , Rating: 3
I guess we are lucky here in Ky. My current rate is about $0.07/kWh.

RE: Waste of money
By Mr Majestyk on 1/24/2013 4:53:34 PM , Rating: 4
Stop whining, in Australia 10 years ago we had some of the cheapest electricity in the world, we now pay an off peak rate of 15-17c, a shoulder rate of 30-35c and an peak rate of 50-52c. We now have the highest rate of solar panel uptake in the world. We are now the most expensive place in the world for electricity and people are going broke trying to pay their bills. Bills typically average $500-1000 a quarter for a family of 4.

RE: Waste of money
By Director12 on 1/24/2013 5:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, I can confirm that.

Ours is typically $500-$800 per quarter, for a family of three in a 2 bedroom house. No aircon, TV is not on during the day etc. Our actually usage has remained the same or gone down a bit over the years but the prices have skyrocketed. It's a rort alright.

RE: Waste of money
By Spuke on 1/24/2013 5:15:30 PM , Rating: 2
Bills typically average $500-1000 a quarter for a family of 4.
Sounds like my propane bill.

RE: Waste of money
By ClownPuncher on 1/25/2013 11:32:41 AM , Rating: 1
Holy shit. That's expensive! I pay about $140 a quarter in the US. Family of 1, but still...

RE: Waste of money
By JediJeb on 1/25/2013 6:15:08 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why you were rated down, because you are right, that is very expensive. Here I pay around $55-$65 per month in the height of the summer heat running my A/C and about $35-$45 in the winter depending on if I supplement the gas with a little electric heat in the bathroom.

Highest gas bill I have ever had was less than $100 when we had a few weeks of near 0F temps a few years ago, otherwise it normally runs $70 in the winter and $10 in the summer months.

RE: Waste of money
By Schrag4 on 1/25/2013 2:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if I average $500-$1000 per quarter over the whole year, but $500 would be a bargain for electricity from June through August in Kansas, with the last couple of summers we've had anyway (sustained 100+F, sometimes over 110).

RE: Waste of money
By menting on 1/24/2013 4:32:03 PM , Rating: 3
cost of energy doesn't necessarily scale exactly with inflation. Price of gas is ~350% compared to 15 years ago, which amounts to ~8.7% increase per year, but inflation is definitely lower than that.

RE: Waste of money
By euclidean on 1/24/2013 4:32:59 PM , Rating: 2
And what has your power cost increased to over 10 years? In the Midwest, I would have to say that cost for Energy has increased very the question would be if they had not done what they did in Ontario, where would the cost be now?

Inflation is not applied equally across all industries...

RE: Waste of money
By arazok on 1/25/2013 10:35:12 AM , Rating: 2
Comparing power costs to that of gasoline, propane, or oil is a poor metric. While those fuels have certainly seen significant price increases, I can at least appreciate that that’s due to global supply and demand.

Here in Ontario, almost 80% our electricity is from Hydro and Nuclear. Those are mostly fixed cost sources and have not seen any major cost changes outside of inflation.

Our costs have spiked because of programs like the smart meter roll out, as well as a disastrous Green Energy plan that has required a multi-billion dollar upgrade to our transmission network, a phase out of Coal, and heavily subsidized rates for wind turbines and solar panels (The government pays 60 cents a KwH for these sources, and we windmills popping up everywhere, and people leasing their roofs for solar panels). In order to deal with the variability of wind/solar, Gas powered backup plants are being built all over the province at huge cost.

Our hydro rates are forecast to increase another 50% over the next 5 years.

And at the end of this multi-billion dollar boondoggle, we will see only 5% of our energy from green sources.

The irony is that the government rolled out this massive plan to prop up their environmental bragging rights. Then a few years later when reality hit and the costs of those plans began to show on hydro bills, people began to freak out. So they introduced a hydro subsidy and gave us all a 10% discount on our hydro. This money was borrowed and drove up our deficit. The government likely to lose the next election.

So the people demanded a green energy program, got it, saw reality, and will now fire the people who implemented it. We get the government we deserve.

RE: Waste of money
By svenkesd on 1/25/2013 2:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
Just to clarify, if the price of something doubles in 10 years the approximate inflation rate is 7% per year.

RE: Waste of money
By mmntech on 1/24/2013 6:09:27 PM , Rating: 3
I came here to post this. Well said. The smart meters were part of a long and disastrous plan bring clean energy to Ontario. All it did was end up costing people more, and of course the government knew it. When they can't raise taxes, they find other ways to nickel and dime.

They're pretty proud of reduced energy usage. Truth is it was CFLs and more efficient appliances that did this, not smart meters. The rates are high due to the massive subsidies given to the renewable energy sector, combined with the massive debts incurred from cancelling those gas plants to win the last election. Any politician that comes touting a green economy should be viewed with the utmost scepticism.

RE: Waste of money
By FaaR on 1/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Waste of money
By arazok on 1/25/2013 10:50:57 AM , Rating: 2
No, what I’m saying is that the smart meters have failed to do what they claimed they would do – encourage people to change their behavior.

If you want to advocate using a hammer to force people to do what you want them to, that’s one thing. But don’t tell me these things accomplish anything, because the government’s own research has shown they don’t.

If you can tell me why it’s worth $1.5 billion dollars to invest in something that results in nothing, I’m all ears.

RE: Waste of money
By JediJeb on 1/25/2013 6:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
...So what you're saying is that people should simply be allowed, for their own ease and convenience, to be lazy, because...well, because they're lazy. Is that it?

Has nothing to do with being lazy. As for me I have switched to LED lighting, turned back my thermostats and during the summer I do not use a cloths dryer but instead put them outside to dry. I don't do it to save the planet, I do it to save money. Why should I though have to rearrange my whole schedule just to save a few kWh of electricity by washing cloths after 8pm when I need to be in bed by 10pm so I can get some sleep before I have to get up for work. If that is the case, why not just make all of society sleep during the day, and have the stores and restaurants all open after 8pm until 6am? Or why not force half of the worlds workforce to work a day shift and the other half to work a night shift, along with having children split between a day and night shift for schools. Maybe that would help balance the energy loads.

I can't really tell if you have a valid point somewhere in your post, but this seems to be what you're stating. Unfortunately many americans seem to reason the way you do these days, you're complacent and selfish, and protest vigorously as if you've been insulted or greatly harmed if asked to adjust your squandering way of life, because doing so would require the slightest bit of effort.

Calling people lazy for not wanting to walk goose step to some government ideal of how we should live is insulting. To think that governments know more how we should live than the citizens do is outright ignorant thinking because guess what, governments are made up of citizens too, not some group of all knowing uber intelligent super moral gods like they want us to believe they are.

RE: Waste of money
By tecknurd on 1/25/2013 11:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
I have been use to off peak demand and peak demand method for over a decade. I have a load controller to help manage how much power I am willing to pay for during peak demand. If I use more power than what I set the load controller to, the air conditioners does not go on as much during the day. Some days in the summer, inside gets 86 degree F.

The shift from "dumb" meter to "smart" meter is for the power companies. They do not have to send a human to note down customer's power usage for every month. Humans does produce errors. The smart meters minimize errors. Eventually, water companies are going to use smart meters too. I do not want some person roaming around the neighborhood lifting those bunkers that houses the water meter every month. Gas companies are probably going to do the same thing. Does anybody care to have some stranger roaming around the neighborhood looking at some meters. Those strangers can easily peek through your windows if the windows does not have any blinds, tinting, or screens.

A few years ago I think a smart meter was installed. I think they had to do it twice because it did not work as it should the first time around. The wireless communication is probably much smaller than WiFi. When people use WiFi, they really jack it up to 200%.

Nothing to see here...
By daveinternets on 1/24/2013 3:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
... just more fucking nut jobs from the fly over states / the bible belt.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By 91TTZ on 1/24/2013 3:24:02 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, they were crazy. But since deregulation the power companies are private. Why should a private company be allowed to force something on your own property?

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Kefner on 1/24/2013 3:28:43 PM , Rating: 4
That's fine, take them off the grid then!

RE: Nothing to see here...
By dgingerich on 1/24/2013 3:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
Fine. Take me off the grid. I'll build my own Thorium Salts reactor and make my own power. :)

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/24/13, Rating: 0
RE: Nothing to see here...
By George Karadimas on 1/25/2013 7:20:15 PM , Rating: 1
The US Constitution is kept at the Smithsonian in Washington DC along with other relics of Antiquity.

But Have no Fear, it is in a steel case behind BULLET proof Glass.

All your Elected officials swear to it ,to uphold it, but NOBODY pays attention, and many would be hard pressed to spell the word or explain it's meaning.

It is something ceremonial they have to do...BUT search them if they know why??

RE: Nothing to see here...
By 91TTZ on 1/24/2013 4:48:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that would have been a better outcome. If they don't want the electric company's power meter then the electric company doesn't have to sell them power.

But to have the police arrest them just seems ridiculous, as if the desire of the power company to install the meter at their house overrides the landowner's request not to put it there.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Samus on 1/24/2013 3:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
If you want service you must agree to use their equipment. Same goes for most industries.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By othercents on 1/24/2013 3:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Your contract with the electric company allows them access to your premise. However if you deny them access then they can shutoff your service, but I don't believe the contract says that they can force-ably enter your property.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Brandon Hill on 1/24/2013 3:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I know that AT&T can and will enter your property without permission and tear your *&^% up according to this poster!! :)

And its LEGAL.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Camikazi on 1/24/2013 3:57:04 PM , Rating: 2
When they have an easement it's not really your property and they are supposed to put it back when they are done.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By 91TTZ on 1/24/2013 4:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
If you want service you must agree to use their equipment. Same goes for most industries.

Right, they didn't agree to use the power company's equipment so they should have had their power cut off. But that's not what happened- they were arrested on their own property.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Samus on 1/24/13, Rating: 0
RE: Nothing to see here...
By Argon18 on 1/24/2013 3:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
"we live in a radioactive world. Our bodies have evolved to comply with low level radiation."

Lol what? Huh? What does this mean??

RE: Nothing to see here...
By JasonMick on 1/24/2013 3:44:37 PM , Rating: 1
"we live in a radioactive world. Our bodies have evolved to comply with low level radiation."

Lol what? Huh? What does this mean??
I assume he's referring to background radiation:

It's true our bodies are adjusted to deal with a certain amount of radiation damage.

However, his context is somewhat confusing/misleading as BR is ionizing radiation. By contrast nonionizing radiation (e.g. EMF) has not been definitively shown definitively in peer-reviewed studies to cause any health issues. So whether it's a health hazard at all, much less whether our bodies have "adapted to it" is an open debate.

If EMF does pose any sort of health risk, one could expect our bodies have evolved a certain amount of protection against it. People tend to view living organism as these poor frail, fragile things. If you take biochemistry or cancer biology course work, you will realize differently -- living organisms are incredibly robust with amazing capacity to self-repair and an impressive amount of redundancy.

I find it unlikely a smart meter will kill you, much less make you sick.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By JediJeb on 1/24/2013 4:55:46 PM , Rating: 2
I have never really bought into the cell phone radiation scare but did experience something recently that make me wonder. I carry my cellphone in my shirt pocket and directly over it are my Sharpies in my lab coat pocket. The other day I put my hand on my pocket and noticed they were hot to the touch on the lower end that is directly over the phone antenna. My phone though was cool to the touch. I had a co-worker put my phone in her shirt pocket behind her pens and the same thing happened, the pens became hot while the phone remained cool.

Just one of those odd occurrences I guess.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Samus on 1/25/2013 12:39:44 AM , Rating: 2
You put any energy absorbing object around a cell phone (metal, ink, etc) and it will warm up. There is energy going through it.

However, most non-ionizing radiation doesn't penitrate our skin, and the ionizing radiation that does is neither here nor there. It hasn't been shown to cause measurable damage to organs or genetics outside of a lab where they eliminate many anatomical barriers (usually skin, which obviously protects us in many ways)

RE: Nothing to see here...
By mpx on 1/25/2013 2:50:49 PM , Rating: 2

Radiation exposure can limit fertility, sperm counts etc.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Azethoth on 1/28/2013 2:14:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not all radiation does. Ionizing radiation can. So UV-B can, infrared can not.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By omgwtf8888 on 1/24/2013 3:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
I hope the evolution includes an adamantium skeleton along with the faraday cage under the skin.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By 91TTZ on 1/24/2013 5:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
You're focusing on the wrong things here. Sure, these people are wackos. But they have a right to their own property.

If they were afraid of electricity it would be their right to go without electricity service. Amish people do it all the time. And I guarantee you that if they didn't have a contract with the power company that company wouldn't be installing a meter at their house for free.

The fact is that these crazy people didn't want the meters. The correct course of action would have been to cut off their power and wait for them to call back and agree to the new meter so they can get their electricity back.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By half_duplex on 1/24/13, Rating: 0
RE: Nothing to see here...
By mmatis on 1/25/2013 11:46:31 AM , Rating: 3
This is Illinois. What do you think their chances are of finding a judge who is not totally corrupt?

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chi-town."

RE: Nothing to see here...
By Samus on 1/26/2013 12:09:49 AM , Rating: 2
All of you guys missed the point of my post. If you read the article , it clearly states (in addition to other reasons) they didn't want the meters installed because they have wireless transmitters. Both photographs focus on wireless transmitters as well.

That gives the reader the obvious assumption they are concerned with radiation, hence the entire basis for my post.

And being concerned with radiation is ridiculous because a fraking banana emits more radiation than most household electronic devices.

RE: Nothing to see here...
By George Karadimas on 1/25/2013 9:59:26 AM , Rating: 1
They could also have paid the EXTORTION SIZE OPT-OUT FEE as WELL!


RE: Nothing to see here...
By Shadowmaster625 on 1/25/2013 10:34:02 AM , Rating: 1
The nut jobs are the people who go and vote for this federal scumbags who give grants to eliminate jobs and install stupid meters that have 1 digit past the decimal resolution making them completely useless for anything other than centralization of control. Why the hell would you want to give these frickin sadistic control freaks a centralized electric grid, especially when it is paid for with lost jobs and tax dollars. You stupid useless brainless piece of trahs. You think you are so much smarter than these "flyover country" people but you dont know JACK .

By Indianapolis on 1/24/2013 4:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
What is the purpose of these "smart" meters? Are these the meters that can be remotely monitored and adjusted?

I'm a first responder, and last summer during a heatwave I responded to the residence of an elderly couple, one of whom was having significant trouble breathing because the inside of their house was so warm.

They had their A/C on full-blast, but they said they had some kind of new meter from the power company that automatically regulated their power usage somehow and was causing them to not get enough A/C.

In this case, the couple said they had volunteered to have the new meter installed because they got a discount on their power. But the wife said they had already called the power company to have it removed ASAP.

If the smart meters referenced in this article have a similar functionality, and can be used to indiscriminately ration power, then I can certainly understand why citizens might be concerned.

By Brandon Hill on 1/24/2013 4:48:09 PM , Rating: 2
Progress Energy sends me a pamphlet every quarter for their EnergyWise program telling me that I will get a $25 credit a year on my bill if I allow them to install a piece of equipment on my heatpump that will cut it off at random times during the day.

$25??! Puhlease. It goes in the trash every time.

By Indianapolis on 1/24/2013 5:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a great idea, until you realize that this kind of top-down, faceless and heartless energy rationing program will result in a reduced quality of life, and that for somebody in delicate health it may even kill them. It was well over 80 degrees in that house I spoke about above, and with the humidity it was a really bad situation for the residents.

Of course, none of these shenanigans would be necessary if the politicians would just allow us to use the abundant energy resources we have available. But that would hurt all of the people getting rich off global warming, "green" energy, and now these "smart" meters.

By Ammohunt on 1/24/2013 5:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
The only people i see getting rich are the "Green Energy" company executives cutting and running with our tax money given to them by the Obama Administration. There is no market for "Green Energy" without massive government subsidies.

By George Karadimas on 1/25/2013 7:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
BGE send me Pamphlets every quarter for thei PEAK REWARDS program telling me that I will get $25 Credit a year on my bill if I allow them to shut off my HOT water Heater 100% whenever they feel like it!

I confronted a BGE executive at a Smart Meter BGE open house meeting explaining the downside, and he responded it is only VOLUNTARY!

I said this year yes! But what happens when you do not get enough suckers to Volunteer? He says what!
Next Year you will go complaining to the Public Service Commission, that suckers are NOT signing up and the PSC will make it MANDATORY!

By geddarkstorm on 1/24/2013 7:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
That is a serious tragedy to hear, but thank you for your service as a first responder.

Hopefully such cases will remain a rarity, but the principle of the matter stands. Our private rights are indeed diminishing these days, for no gain (at least for us).

Simple solution
By Boze on 1/25/2013 6:13:22 AM , Rating: 1
Buy enough alternative energy sources to take themselves off the grid.

Should only cost about $100,000 in solar cells, wind turbines, etc. Get to work ladies.

RE: Simple solution
By George Karadimas on 1/25/2013 7:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
Where did you get your $100K estimate?

Check on ebay! A 5 Kilowatt system costs $10K

It is a lot easier and much less expensive to VOTE with your departure from the Electric utility monopolies.

Of course if you live in a closet and do not own your roof, this option is not for you!

And that is where AGENDA 21 wants you to be.
Sustainable development for the Elite (Of their your expense!)

You got to love Technology as it is being implemented!

RE: Simple solution
By ven1ger on 1/25/2013 4:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
A $10K system probably only gets you the panels, and what sort of quality they are may be some cheap Asian import with extremely limited warranty.

That $10K will probably end up costing more than double by the time you get it installed. How well they last or work depends on their quality and the solar industry is being swamped by cheaper, lesser quality materials from Asia.

RE: Simple solution
By George Karadimas on 1/25/2013 6:45:14 PM , Rating: 2
Checking the Ebay solar panel posts , I find reputable manufacturers.

Yeah if one has butterfingers, and does not know the difference between a right hand and a left hand flat screwdriver, it will cost them twice the 10K US$ to have them installed.

Anyways, the point was that there are alternatives for those that want to Declare their Independence from the shyster Electric utilities and their abusive practices.

Before Solar coming to age, there was no real alternative.

Better ways of doing things
By omgwtf8888 on 1/24/2013 3:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
I live in in New Jersey (Yea/boo/whatever), when they were switching over meters they simply said if you do not have it done by a certain date they will shut off your power. That is clearly within their rights as the company that sells you electricity. Using the taxpayer paid police to arrest people on their own property is an abuse of force. The head of the police department should be fired for allowing officers to accompany these workers. He should have simply said shut off the power. If you don't like the system the power company is selling, add solar panels, windmill, whatever but you don't have to get your power there. Stupid people, stupid power company, and sadly stupid police.

RE: Better ways of doing things
By Indianapolis on 1/24/2013 4:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a police officer, and I very much agree with you.

I'm not familiar with all the laws in this particular instance, but even if the woman was violating some kind of criminal statute, the police could probably still use discretion and not arrest her.

If the police were being pressured and they were obligated to act on the violation, they would still have the option of sending their report to the prosecutor's office to be reviewed or recommended for charges, and a warrant could later be issued. I would certainly be much more comfortable with that course of action.

By George Karadimas on 1/25/2013 7:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yes because you still have INTEGRITY.

I Call B.S. on this "story"
By kleinwl on 1/25/2013 10:36:37 AM , Rating: 4
I live in Naperville. There has been a big push against the smart meters so the electric company sent out a letter saying that they planned to install the meters, but if you REALLY didn't want it, you could opt out. You would just have to pay a service charge for the meters to be read physically as they are now. So these women can't read their mail?

Strange Confluence of laws
By NaperJ on 1/24/2013 5:28:09 PM , Rating: 3
I live in Naperville, and the last few people who have been fighting the meter installation are having their meters installed. People have a choice of the wireless meter, or a meter which needs to be read in person at the cost of > $25 per month. Naperville electricity is provided by a municipal electric company, not a private company, for what it's worth.

One of the women was arrested for filming the police officer after he told her she did not have permission to do so. There is a silly Illinois law which does not allow audio to be recorded without the permission of all parties. While several convictions have been thrown out, since the Illinois Supreme court has not declared the law constitutional, police continue to arrest people filming them with audio, even if the prosecutor will drop the charges.

The other woman was arrested for preventing access to the electric meter, by putting a bicycle lock on a 3 foot fence. The meter installers just stepped over the fence, but apparently by refusing to unlock it denied access, which is apparently against the law in Naperville.

While I disagree with their position on the smart meters, I saw no reason that they needed to be arrested, unless they started doing something strange after they stopped filming. Other than being annoying by repeatedly saying that neither the installers or the police had permission to be on the property, they didn't seem to be causing much of a problem, and the officer could have used his discretion about arresting them. Perhaps he was annoyed about having to follow the meter installers around and having to stand outside in the cold, or was just having a bad day.

While the meters in Naperville do have a capability for turning off the entire service, presumably for lack of payment, they do not have the direct capability of disabling any other appliance. There may be an option to have a discount by allowing the installation of an air-conditioner control, but it's not part of the smart meter roll-out.

One other strange thing which happened was that the Naperville council just this week approved paying for more manual meter reading, as the automated system is apparently not ready on time. They also approved paying for a large cost overrun on the installation program. At this point, I have to thank the other US taxpayers, as they subsidized half of this smart meter installation as part of the 2009 stimulus package, so I don't have to pay for all of it in my electric bill.

In addition to elimination of electric meter reading, the program is supposed to reduce costs by identifying where additional power is not required, through tuning microgrid power supply. Naperville is also likely to be a big home of electric cars, so car charging can be encouraged to be deferred to non-peak rates, and avoid large demand charges for peak demand by the city. But, the city water department still has to read the water meters through an interface right next to the electric meters, so there isn't that much of a savings on meter readers.

By rika13 on 1/24/2013 4:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
It is not just governors that are corrupt in Illinois, most of the state and local government is crooked and commonly intimidates people with prosecution and arrest to extort allowance of such corrupt and illegal acts. In fact, there was a infamous law that was reported here that made it illegal to record a police officer or public official performing his/her duties and made it a class 1 felony (only class x and first degree murder are worse) punishable by 4-15 years in prison. This was to protect police and officials from prosecution for blatantly illegal acts and to keep Chicago from having to pay large sums of money in settlements for illegal acts on people (they recently voted on paying an 11 million and a 22 million settlement in the same day for 2 different police brutality suits, the 11m one being one of many regarding the same police Commander).

its wireless right?
By lenardo on 1/24/2013 5:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
its a wireless signal correct?

to be a dick i'd get a frequency scanner & transmitter, find the signal from my box and then...block it with a ton of interferance.

but that is me, i have a normal elec meter on my house, my city has no plans at this time to change to smart meters, because, the city OWNS the power plant, we have just about the cheapest rates in the state.

By 91TTZ on 1/24/2013 5:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not one of these crazy people afraid of radio waves or wacky mind-control conspiracies, but I do think that these smart meters will be bad for the consumer. Here's why:

It will allow power companies to measure your usage by time more precisely. Instead of seeing how much energy you used every month or every quarter they'll be able to see how much you use by the minute. That in itself isn't a problem but it will allow them to adopt more creative pricing strategies that will inevitably result in your bill being higher.

If they see that most people use more electricity at 7 pm than 2 pm (which they already know by overall demand on their power plants), they can then jack up the price of electricity at certain hours of the day, giving them more profit. They'll make it sound like they're giving you a choice- "Instead of running your lights and TV at 7 pm, you can run them at 2 am for half the cost!" Of course, this is unrealistic because peoples' schedules are set by their working hours... so realistically speaking they'll be stuck paying the jacked up rates most of the time.

If you buy an electric car and set the timer to charge it overnight at a lower electricity cost the company will view that as lost potential income. They'll probably want to jack the rates up a bit then, too. Remember, they're not in business to provide you with cheap electricity, they're in business to make the most profit as possible, especially so after deregulation.

why arrest?
By chromal on 1/24/2013 8:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
The arrest seems extreme, given these women did not pull a gun on the utility worker, like that anti-smart-meter lady in Texas. I think a more reasonable approach would have been for the utility company simply to say that it was a violation of theirs terms of service and that her electric utility service would be discontinued until such a time as they would be permitted to update their equipment.

By mpx on 1/25/2013 2:36:54 PM , Rating: 2

Smart meters are are a great tools for invigilation - they allow to estimate if and when someone is at home.

Smart Meters
By tgace on 1/27/2013 12:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yes you sign a contract with the power company giving them rights to access their equipment, but violating that is a breach of contract...not a crime. That's not something you should even have a cop showing up at your door for.

Yes they have a right of way...but denying them that right is not a penal law offense. They can cut off your power, they can jack up your rates, fine you...but you shouldn't be getting arrested. This was a civil law violation. The charge laid here (interference)is indicative that the cop couldn't find an arrestable violation of penal law.

If there was a public emergency necessitating immediate access to utility lines/connection they could charge "criminal nuisance" or perhaps reckless endangerment if the property owner interfered. What was the immediate emergency necessitating an arrest in this instance?

I don't know much about the meters and some of the protests over them seem a bit "tin hat". But just because the power co. has "rights on paper" to access their equipment that doesn't usurp the property owners rights. This should have been a civil matter...these coppers made an unlawful arrest IMO. They didn't even know what to charge so they fell back on the "interfering with a police officer" charge.

A little paranoid
By djc208 on 1/28/2013 12:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
For example, a house hooked up to smart water and electric meters could allow a third party to track when people shower, whether a home alarm is on, and how often people use their televisions.

This is a bit of an exaggeration. You would know when things turned on/off, but not what was on or off based on just the meter. I.e. an incrase in power useage of 100 watts doesn't mean I'm watching TV, it could be any device in the house that can use that kind of power (lights, appliances, electronics, etc.) and some items like a house alarm use so little power it would be really hard to see over the base load of most houses. A very detailed graph may help identify what type of load it was (i.e. motor vs light) but I'm not sure the meters are that accurate/comprehensive.

The same would apply to a smart water meter. The increase in useage could be any number of events. Time might help identify what that is (a shower runs longer than a washing machine) but it only tells you something happened, not what.

By Azethoth on 1/28/2013 2:05:31 PM , Rating: 2 ignorant slut.

Why arrest them?
By skildner on 1/30/2013 1:39:42 PM , Rating: 2
Rather than arresting them, why couldn't they just shut off their power if they refused to comply.

Other methods to install Smart Meters...
By euclidean on 1/24/2013 4:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
Consumers Energy in Michigan started doing this. However, they offered people the opportunity to keep their current "Dumb" meters with an increased service cost...

Why not do that? Allow the "paranoid" to keep their current setup and those of us who don't mind/care have them. Besides, the service up to and including the Meter is theirs, not yours...

A thought I just had, what if they allowed you to log into your "Energy Account" and turn the power on/off to certain areas of your house? Or setup timers for certain outlets for items like Christmas lights? And what about the concept of paying less Off-Peak and more during Peak hours as was mentioned on how Ontario installed them - if that was the case, and EVs continued their growth in our market, you could time the power on/off based on Peak/Off-Peak to only charge your car during Off-Peak.

I don't know, I just have a lot of thoughts/ideas on the possibilities that Technology could bring to this area. I do, however, agree there needs to be some talk in regards to the negative effects of Technology - specifically the ability to gain access to the grid...However, if I recall correctly, that access is already available as there have been manufactured threats and conspiracies of China and/or Iran getting into them...

This Story Is Not Quite Accurate
By mmatis on 1/25/2013 11:38:45 AM , Rating: 1
One of the women was indeed arrested for blocking installation of the meter. The other was arrested for videoing the arrest, even though that is NOT illegal, and such arrests have been ruled unconstitutional in that Federal Court District:

When "Law Enforcement" are felons, there is no Rule of Law. Festivities will be starting shortly.

End the scam
By Shadowmaster625 on 1/25/13, Rating: 0
Who knows about the "smart meter"?
By Beenthere on 1/26/13, Rating: -1
By talikarni on 1/24/13, Rating: -1
RE: regardless....
By JediJeb on 1/24/2013 4:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree that people have the right to do control their own property, the electric meter would be more in line with a DirecTV box or Cable Box in that if you are not using the one sanctioned by the company supplying the product they can cut off your service. No one can force you to use the meter but they can refuse to hook up power to your home.

As for the rest the police should never have been called, the power company should have simply cut off the power at the pole(which is most times on city property beside the street in larger cities). Unless there is a law in IL that states that all homes must have electricity(which would not surprise me in IL).

RE: regardless....
By drycrust3 on 1/24/2013 4:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
I tend to agree with you, I think this situation was avoidable.
Utilities, like phone and power, do have a right to decide how they bill people. Take your phone company, it simply isn't logical to expect them to use the "pre-computer" electro-mechanical billing system on a digital switching system.
The same applies to a power company, if they wish to install meters that allow them to determine your bill remotely, then as long as I don't have to pay for it directly myself, then I don't have a problem.
Sure, I will pay indirectly, but then there are other costs with the old meters that are avoided, so I will also save some money as well.
At the end of the day, if companies within a competative environment are doing this, then it's because they believe they can get a competative advantage by doing so, if they believed the situation was the other way around (i.e. the old meters gave them a competative advantage) then they would be slow to install them.

RE: regardless....
By rs2 on 1/24/2013 7:50:18 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, it's their property. No, they do not have a "right" to use any particular electricity meter they choose, or to have electricity supplied to their property in the first place. At least not in the sense that the power company is obligated to supply them with power if they don't want to abide by its terms of service. Moreover, those two women are idiots if they believe that the smart meters cause health issues.

That said, there was no reason to arrest them, I agree. A simpler solution would be to say "you don't want the new meter? Fine, enjoy not having electricity because we won't supply you with any until you let us install the new meter". That would have solved the problem more quickly, and without the overhead/expense of having to involve the police and the legal system in the matter.

Really though, landowner or no, you don't get to dictate the terms on which the electric company will supply you with power. If they want to require the new meters and you want to have electricity, then you have to let them install the new meter. Otherwise you have every right to disconnect your service, buy a generator (or a heaping pile of solar panels and some batteries for overnight storage), and supply your own power. Or start your own electric company and operate under whatever metering policies you prefer. But don't try to tell someone else how they have to run *their* electric company.

RE: regardless....
By drycrust3 on 1/25/2013 2:50:20 AM , Rating: 3
"you don't want the new meter? Fine, enjoy not having electricity because we won't supply you with any until you let us install the new meter"

There is another option for the power company, which is to charge the customer for a person to come around and read the meter on a regular basis. To me, if a customer would prefer to have an old meter and pay for the meter person to come and read the meter, then so be it.

RE: regardless....
By nocturne on 1/24/2013 8:52:14 PM , Rating: 5
Nothing you said is at all true.. Police have every right to be on your property, as long as they don't have to open a gate or door -- that's where reasonable suspicion comes in.

Also, utility companies are granted blanket easements to come on to your property in order to manage/maintain the service to you -- and if you have power, you certainly already signed a document stating such. Power is a commodity, not a right. If you don't allow them to have access to their equipment, they have every right to notify the police and have them escort the technician onto the property. I imagine what happened next is what caused those women to get arrested.

It may have been an overreaction, but as crazy as these women are against smart meters for no legitimate reason outside of initial cost -- I imagine they may have gotten a bit 'violent'.

RE: regardless....
By talikarni on 1/25/2013 4:01:05 PM , Rating: 1
You must not live in the US, everything I said was true in all 50 states. you are looking at this from an emotional opinionated perspective, I am looking at it from the realistic legal perspective.

Police ONLY have the right to be on private property WITH reasonable suspicion or property owners permission so long as a crime has not been committed. Otherwise just walking onto someones property is illegal. Typically if a police officer was on a property, there is reasonable suspicion but even then they still have their limitations. In this case it was the installers that were illegally on the property since they were obviously denied access and the cops arrested the wrong people. It doesn't matter their beliefs or if those of us technical people see them as a bit loony, laws are laws, and the installers should have been the ones arrested.

Utility company easements only cover reading, maintenance or repair of equipment on private property. In this case it was not reading, maintenance or repair so they had no right to be there without the property owners permission, and therefore the people installing it should have been the ones arrested, not the owner. Power companies need the property owners permission to access the equipment, if at any time they are denied access then they have no right being there. That is when they require written/typed paperwork that they submit to the owner requesting access to the property with the exact reason why, and what is to be done while on the property. If the owner still denies access then legally there is nothing the power company can do since the power meter and such are still in working order and there is no law that requires people to give up their rights just so the power companies can trespass whenever they want.

The problem is not what they believe or the resulting events, it is that their rights as private property owners was violated when they denied access to their property by the installers, yet they were allowed to force their way into the property and even wrongly got the people arrested. Denying access to the property is their every right as American citizens and property owners. The power company or contracted installers forcing themselves onto peoples property without their permission is a clear violation of so many statutes and laws in every state including IL.

This is when we really need lawsuits against these overbearing power companies so they know the boundaries and laws.

RE: regardless....
By cyberguyz on 1/25/2013 7:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
Property ownership is an illusion.

You are missing a couple very important points:

1. Bylaws of the city demand that the house be connected to a power grid (there may be a few cities that do not, but most do). You can put up all the generators and solar panels you want, but you have to be connected to the power grid. And that connection has a meter even if it is to sell back your surplus power to the grid. You pay for that connection but the hardware used to connect to the grid is owned by the utility company. The utility company has the legal right to come onto your property and maintain (i.e. update) that equipment.

2. It is the government that mandates to the power how you are metered. It is the power utility that is tasked with executing that mandate. As the meter is the property of the power utility, they dictate the hardware that is used, not you. Likewise as stated in (1) due to the bylaws you have no choice but to allow the power utility entry on your property maintain their equipment. If you do not, the power utility can without prejudice cut off your power altogether leaving you eating cold diners by candlelight.

We all have the illusion that we own our real estate. The fact of the matter is that ownership is an illusion. If the government wants your property, it is a simple matter of re-zoning your lot to be commercial and you are stuck with having to sell and leave within a given time frame. Sure you can appeal and fight it, but at the end it is not your decision whether the re-zoning happens and you are left out on the street.

Likewise you stop paying your property taxes and guess what happens to your property. (Hint, you won't get to keep it or even the money from its sale).

RE: regardless....
By JediJeb on 1/25/2013 6:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
Where I live, if they rezone your property they can not force you to move, but if you ever sell then it has to be used for the new zoned purpose. I know several farms that are now within the city limits and surrounded by malls and housing developments and those farms have the right to operate as long as the same owner or their family operates it. Now if the government wanted to pull Eminent Domain to serve their purposes then you would get what they pay you and you would have to leave, but simple rezoning does not always force you to move.

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