Smart Meter Spin - Customer Empowerment & ICLEI

CatWhisperer's picture

In todays Coloradoan story, "Fort Collins Utilities' 'smart' meters upgrade aims to empower customers" we get some interesting claims by Fort Collins Utilities. However the idea that a smart meter somehow empowers anybody but government is ludicrous in the extreme. And does fit directly into an agenda that, tin hat or not, is ICLEI. BTW, there is no kid here to steal, so…cheeky It's an interesting agenda, to get us all concentrated in one place, under fine grained control. People don't have to believe, and it's their prerogative not to, but they should at least pay attention and educate themselves.

Not getting into the idea of radiation (yet), what we will apparently be getting is a network port to the utility meter, connecting to the Internet via WIFI or similar technology. That in itself is concerning, because with enough samples, any encryption system may be compromised. Is anybody reading this familiar with SCADA and Stuxnet?

But the privacy concern is that Fort Collins Utilities is getting data that allows them to know or easily determine your daily routine and habits. How accurate is that meter? To the milliamp-hour? You switch on a light bulb, they will be able to register that and track it. Whether or not Fort Collins Utilities uses it is not the point, is that the tracking is available to anybody who gets access to the network. As we have seen recently in the news, network and data security is somewhat of an illusion.

The gist of this post is: LOOK DEEPER.

Selected quotes (emphasis mine)

Coloradoan Story: "Fort Collins Utilities' 'smart' meters upgrade aims to empower customers"
Author: Kevin Dugan

“The new meters will have capabilities beyond their primary purpose - measuring the use of electricity and water and sending the data to distribution and billing systems. They will be able to send real-time information to utilities operators and provide consumers with information about their energy use through an Internet-based "web portal" system.

“That information will help customers make decisions about how to conserve energy and reduce costs.” {Catwhisperer note: How exactly? Interesting claim, but explain further this theory…}

“The data also will help utilities managers design conservation programs to address customers' needs, said Steve Catanach, light and power manager with Fort Collins Utilities.”

"Right now, this is pretty simple," Catanach said. "We are laying a foundation and looking forward to the future. We will be leveraging this system for years to come."

“The meters send encrypted data to communication devices, or gatekeepers, installed on light poles and other structures. Those devices link into the city’s fiber-optic system, which carries the information to utilities.”

“The mass deployment is being timed so new meters are not associated with utility bills from summer months, when a new rate structure could lead to significantly higher costs for customers who use a lot of electricity” {Catwhisperer note: MMJ Caregivers beware! It's like a ploy to put you out of operation while forcing you to grow a plant in the MOST inefficient manner possible. }

“We’ve seen the history of other utilities where people blame the meter,” he said. “It’s not the meter; the meters are very, very accurate.”

“The $31.4 million upgrade for the electricity metering system in Fort Collins is being funded in part by a $15.7 million federal grant. The new water meters are expected to cost another $4 million.” {Catwhisperer note: Can you guess who's paying the difference?}

“Concerns expressed about the smart meters include possible health effects from radio frequency exposure from the devices and the potential that the system could be hacked and private information about residents and businesses could be compromised.”

“Stanton, who teaches at Colorado State University, said his biggest concern about smart meters center around privacy issues. No one should be able to know when he or other family members are home based on the amount of energy that is being used.”

“Catanach said the encrypted data collected by the system are considered to be of low value. The system does not identify individual homeowners or businesses or their addresses.”



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