If you’ve seen your power bills rise after the power company bolted a Smart Meter to your home, you’re not alone. Thousands of people have reported the same thing. And now there is at least one study which may help explain the theft. According to a team of researchers who studied the microwave spying devices, so-called Smart Meters could be wildly overbilling us by as much as 582%. Their study may help explain why so many of us saddled with Smart Meters could be paying a lot more than we should for power that we aren’t using.
The web site Boing Boing reported this story. The smart meter testers were a research team from the University of Twente in Enschende, Netherlands, and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The team documented billing inaccuracies in a paper that reviewed the efficacy of so-called “smart” electric meters. The discrepancies they found in meter inaccuracies ranged from -32 percent to +582 percent of the actual power consumed in a month’s period.
The team’s paper also noted that the overbilling is mostly due to older power-saving features on the meters. Those features introduce line noise that interferes with the wireless signal and thereby ‘confuses’ the meters into charging for the useless noise.
An abstract of the study findings states:
“Static, or electronic, energy meters are replacing the conventional electromechanical meters. Consumers are sometimes complaining about higher energy readings and billing after the change to a static meter, but there is not a clear common or root cause at present. Electromagnetic interference has been observed between active infeed converters as used in photo-voltaic systems and static meters. Reducing the interference levels eliminated inaccurate reading in static meters.”
Five of nine smart meters that were tested provided readings that were substantially greater than the real amount of energy utilized. Two gave readings lower than the amount of power consumed.
LED, “energy-saving” Bulbs?
LED and so-called “energy-saving” bulbs may not be living up to their promotion, according to the study’s findings. Researchers found the biggest meter discrepancies when they joined dimmer switches with LED and so-called “energy-saving” light bulbs.
After completing their experiments, researchers disassembled the tested smart meters to see if they could discover what was causing the huge discrepancies. The researchers found meters that provided the dramatically higher usage rates used a Rogowski Coil. Meters that gave artificially lower readings employed Hall effect-based sensors. Both models inaccurately measured the actual amount used.
The abstract did not make clear whether the tested meters were actually in use somewhere. If they are, most people are paying way too much for the electricity they use, while a small minority of people may be paying a little less.
Smart Meter Hazards
Besides costing consumers far more money than the old analog meters, some researchers contend that the meters themselves are also health hazards. Some lawmakers at the state level are taking action.
Opting out of Smart Meters
State Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Michigan testified before the state House Energy and Technology Committee in early March 2017 over a piece of legislation – HB 4220 – which would permit homeowners to opt out of smart meter installations on their homes without having to pay a fine. Sen. Colbeck has based his opposition to smart meters on research indicating that they can cause a wide array of health problems, in addition to a cyber security threat posed by their installation and use, since they are wireless and transmit data to the utility company.
During his testimony, Sen. Colbeck said he thinks smart meters are “putting our homes, our nation and, frankly, some of the power suppliers at risk.”
Smart Meter Home Surveillance for Criminals
Other smart meter critics dislike the surveillance aspect of smart meters. Electric-use data hacked from a wireless smart meter can be used by criminals to determine when people are home. That gives them a window to safely break into a residence they know to be vacant.
Smart Meter Fires
Smart meters have also reportedly started fires in homes. Some smart meters, which have become mandated by government, have spontaneously caught fire, putting residents at risk of loss of life and property. At least one California man perished in a smart meter fire, and smart meters have been a leading suspect in starting several other suspicious fires.
Why do we allow these people to put Smart Meters on our homes?
The utility companies claimed smart meters would save us money. Have you saved any money on your smart meter? How are the companies to recover the hundreds of millions of dollars the new meters cost them? Do you think they won’t pass that cost onto us, their hapless “consumers”? The utility companies claimed there were no health hazards with smart meters. We know that’s not true. People have varying susceptibilities to environmental hazards, like the microwave technology which powers the meters, and some people have seen their homes go up in flames due to smart meters, which we now know are vulnerable to hacking. We also have a right to privacy, which smart meters violate. Smart meter hazards are well documented throughout the web. Why do we put up with it? Who have we become to just roll over while these people violate our health, our homes, our right to privacy, and raise our utility prices at the same time with technology that allows no transparency in our billing vs. actual power usage. It’s time to stand up, America.