Smart meters 101: Five things you need to know

But the Las Vegas Sun gets one of those five things wrong.

The Sun reports in “Smart meters 101: Five things you need to know“:

What is a smart meter, and why do we have them?

Smart meters are digital devices that measure electricity usage in homes and business and wirelessly transmit that information to the utility for billing.
About 50 million smart meters have been installed in the United States over the past decade, but they’ve only recently arrived in Nevada.
As part of President Barack Obama’s push to update the country’s electricity grid, NV Energy got a matching grant of $139 million through the federal stimulus. The utility began installing them in September 2010, after the Nevada Public Utilities Commission deemed them safe, secure, private and accurate.

Will this wireless beaming make me sick?

No. The radio frequencies emitted by the smart meters are 15,000 times lower than the limit set by the Federal Communications Commission, said Gary Smith, NV Energy’s director of the smart meter program.

The intensity of the radio frequency is 5,000 times less than a cellphone, 3,200 less than a cordless phone in a home and 26 times less than a wireless router in your home.

Are they accurate?

The meters are tested by the manufacturer, by NV Energy and the UNR, through a contract with the utility. Through 2011, when 500,000 meters were installed, there were 60 requests to have meters tested. NV Energy determined all 60 had been accurate, Smith said.

Is my information safe?

No Social Security information, driver’s license numbers, addresses, birth dates or other identifying information is transmitted from the smart meter. Instead, an encrypted code is used to identify the house and its usage, Smith said.

Users can then log in to the secure web portal, where they use a password they create.

The PUC also said NV Energy would use an encrypted radio frequency and “best-in-industry” technology.

Can NV Energy shut off my air conditioner via the smart meter??

No. Smith said the company can’t determine individual appliance usage, only overall household usage.

As to the last point about utilities shutting off individual appliances, appliance makers and utilities are working on “smart” appliances that can be controlled through the smart meters and the Internet.

As we reported in August 2009, for example:

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) plans to control your home appliances when you’re not there.

According to SmartGridToday, the TVA is planning a $400 million smart meter pilot program, including $200 million of Obama stimulus money, that would allow the TVA to turn off appliances when people are away from their homes and businesses.

And just how will the TVA know when you are away? What if you don’t want your appliances turned off?

Smart meters are on the pathway to electricity rationing.

15 thoughts on “Smart meters 101: Five things you need to know”

  1. Consider the source, one of the most notorious purveyors of junk science.

    Electro Hypersensitivity is so much of a fraud that human detection of a wireless signal will win you a million dollars in the JREF paranormal challenge (equivalent to proving the existence of ghosts or psychic powers).

    Heat damage? Are they stupid? How could radio waves cause heat damage independent of dosage?

    The total radiation emitted from a smart meter is no more than a cell phone, and as radiation dissipates on a r^2 basis, you’ll be lucky to get a 100th of the dose as chatting with your girlfriend. Besides, If nothing else, that sort of radio strength would be both a waste of power and a cooling issue.

    I don’t really feel like debunking the rest, but those are the biggest points

  2. So called ‘Smart’ appliances combined with the right ‘Smart’ meter ( with Zigbee capability ) can indeed allow the utility to control individual appliances and I forsee utilities rationing electricity on a per appliance basis. ( For example, your clothes drier could be disabled over the zigbee network, unless it is between certain lower demand hours like at midnight.).
    These things should be resisted by a free society.

  3. I don’t CARE about emissions, radio-style, I just would NOT want to be monitored, simply because I KNOW that’d be a waste of our county’s resources. I…think…(–once and a while)…about “black helicopters”, and we ARE being monitored all the time…for NO good reason, not being a Terrorist or other Muslim. Don’t worry about being “surrounded” by those who dare question their governance–“worry” about others, especially those govts( 110 million slain, in the last century, by Govts), if you care to. Thank-you & Ben for putting balance into this discussion, now I’ll have to research William’s assertions,–he had me going, there.

  4. Ben,

    THere is no point attempting to reason with Robert Williams, he is a smart metering troll and has been for at least two years – look through the comment threads for any smart metering article on the web and there he is with his same set of text. I have tried and failed to engage with him – I dedicated an article to him at my site dedicated to the warriors fighting something as benign as utility metering, but it’s pointless – the world is flat and big brother is watching you from their black helicopters, no matter where you are in the world…

    The problem is that he is not alone.


  5. It’s not the “Reisen”-Globalists, too,imo,–and their apologists? And you’re looking for s–t? And you can’t find it? In your head? I…don’t know of the Reptilians. Do You? Do you speak with them everyday? Imo, all Globalists are “Snakes”, including those Globalists that are RockeFELL-ers, but I don’t know if they’re the same as the Reptilians you Know…about?

  6. There is a difference between your smart meter, and your power supply companies smart meter.

    The first is good, the second isn’t.

  7. Sorry, but I’m not buying it, Rob. A cell phone has to transmit a continuous signal numerous times per second with extremely low drop rate while travelling at speeds up to 100 miles an hour. A smart meter has much lower transmission requirements and no mobility.It would be beyond stupid to give it anything much stronger than a cell phone radio. Plus 100 times the radiation means 100 times the power. The utilities like using our money for these upgrades, and I find it hard to believe that they would waste money like that. Also, Electro hypersensitivity is as real as homeopathy, and has the same source, your mind. Anyone who can detect when a WiFi field is in the area can contact the JREF to win the Million Dollar Paranormal prize. So far, that award is unclaimed. Next, 190,000 times per day is 2.2 hertz. Hardly a scary number and a small fraction of the rate of television or radio waves.

    Finally, this is all a moot point as this is low-frequency radio wave radiation such as what permeates the air all around us. It isn’t ionizing radiation that can damage cells. It’s a little thing called the Photoelectric effect, Einstein won a Nobel for it. Below a certain frequency, radiation cannot harm you no matter how much there is.

    Learn some basic science, genius.


    PG$E, Northern California’s Utility Monopoly, recently admitted that each electric smart meter transmits radiation 10’s of thousands of times, up to 190,000 times each day.

    This corrects previous false statements repeated often by utility companies across the country.


 Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes)

Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes)

    3. The NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE Calls for Halt To Smart Meters in Homes and Schools.

    4. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless Smart Meters (& some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B CARCINOGEN LIST.

    5. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH Feb 2011 found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

 2-page Press Release

    7. LABORATORY SCIENTISTS have observed

    (1) Human Cell Damage

    (2) DNA Chain Breaks
(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier

    from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters.

    8. INSURANCE COMPANIES won’t insure smart meter liability due to biological damage seen by scientists they hired. 
 TV Video (3 minutes)


    (Statements, not all 11 pages)

    – Smart meters expose persons in the home to FULL BODY RADIATION EXPOSURES 50 TO 450 TIMES GREATER RADIATION THAN CELL PHONES depending on proximity in the home to the smart meter attached to outside wall (calculated using the inverse square).

    – Smart meters emit radiation almost continuously throughout the day 24/7, 365 days per year.

    – Increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier in the head, harmful effects on sperm, double strand breaks in DNA which could lead to cancer genesis, stress gene activation indicating exposure to a toxin, and alterations in brain glucose metabolism.

    – Electro Hypersensitivity is a real and sometimes debilitating problem for the affected persons. . Above affects are occurring to all persons, not just those who are hypersensitive (added for clarification).

    – FCC guidelines are irrelevant and cannot be used for any claims of Smart Meter safety unless heat damage is involved.

    – Smart meter exposure is Involuntary exposure. Governmental agencies for protecting public health and safety should be much more vigilant towards involuntary environmental exposures because governmental agencies are the only defense against such involuntary exposure.

    Report link –

    Me again …to my knowledge, this is the first public health department report in the United States that considered current available science instead of passing along information from Utility companies and the industry that manufactures the meters.

  11. Of course the utility can tell which appliances are on in your house with a properly set-up smart meter, just by watching the usage and power factor they know what’s on and what’s not. Although there are claims that they won’t be monitoring power factor on residential meters, if you believe that I want to sell you a bridge. The ultimate result, obviously, must be rolling blackouts and brownouts to allow them to sell the power to the entity willing to pay the most NOT to be interrupted. As a residential customer, you know you’re not on that list. If you, or someone in you family dies, well, you should have been smart enough to have a back-up generator installed to prevent that, if that person is sensitive to heat/cold to the point that they might be overcome.

  12. To talk from one appliance to the grid, energy use WILL, imo, be compartmentalized–I feel the utility is fibbing about whether it knows which appliance is using(–IT CAN tell, otherwise “talk” would be impossible!)energy. Also, the Smart-meter can (and will) turn-off A/C, which could be “bad”. What if YOU go off to work, and yet your Mother comes to visit. The Utility may plan to shut the A/C off, but if they do, they could cause your Mother to overheat and die. Of course, after several lawsuits, you might get $25,000.00 for her death, when frankly, the Utility would have callously murdered her. If coal/gas/nuclear plants generating more electricity can’t be built, there may be FORCED, ROLLING BLACKOUTS, where your Mom could still die, but THEN there would be no way for the Utility to have been “responsible”. When countries “go broke”, they then often institute, “Rolling black-outs” to spread a small amount of energy around to everyone. Do we want cameras peering at us, via our taxes? Do we want Utilities rationing our lifestyles via our outlets? Please REJECT the “smart-meter”, because gving them too much info is just plain dumb. YOU CAN REFUSE a Smart-meter! Also, please buy non-fancy appliances, that can’t “talk” to the grid, thereby delaying your life, because the Utilities want what THEY want,–NOT what you want.

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