People object for a number of reasons to the new "smart meter" technology being installed by power companies across the country. Russell Irwin, the first guy in the above video, just doesn't want a new meter ("shoved down his throat") saying his original analog meter works just fine. Others object to the installation of the remote metering WiFi technology on their premises, fearing adverse health effects. The second fellow, Len Miller, objects on grounds of privacy and the potential for government to monitor his activities.
First, the meters belong to the energy company and are installed by agreement between the buyer and the supplier of energy. If you want power you agree to pay for what you use. If the company decides to upgrade its metering equipment that's strictly its business unless the equipment can be reasonably shown to be harmful to the customer. If all BC Hydro did was use WiFi technology to remotely collect monthly power usage data, presumably reducing meter reading costs, then who could object?
Well, lots of people would anyway. People like Russell Irwin and those who fear the health effects of WiFi. But neither has reasonable proof of harm.
Of all the objections against smart meters, the only legitimate one, so far, is Len Miller's objection based on privacy concerns. The potential for future encroachment of Big Brother is a real threat that needs to be addressed. [Miller's completely unacceptable treatment by the idiot thugs of the Vancouver Police Department is a separate and much more urgent matter.]
I wrote to BC Hydro last year with my own concerns about privacy and the potential for smart metering to be used by government to manipulate and coerce energy use (for example to enforce "climate change" policy). Their response:
I suspect that was a pro-forma response. And they didn't address my point about the potential for manipulation to enforce policy for "fighting climate change".Thank you for contacting us regarding BC Hydro’s Smart Metering Program.Our customers trust us to protect their privacy and security, and we recognize and take that responsibility very seriously. That’s why extensive privacy provisions are in place for the Smart Metering Program.BC Hydro takes the responsibility to protect your privacy and security very seriously.BC Hydro has been collecting electricity consumption information for 50 years through a safe, secure and regulated process. The Smart Metering Program is no exception.Privacy is governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, for which the Office of the Privacy Commissioner here in British Columbia provides oversight. BC Hydro has worked closely with the Commissioner’s Office over the past few months and will continue to work closely with their office to put in place the most stringent privacy standards, and to ensure privacy is built into the entire system.Your information will remain private and secure with the new smart metering system because:
- Smart meters do not contain personally-identifiable information. The only information stored on the meter is hourly consumption information. The information is encrypted much like online banking.
- Smart meters cannot detect what appliances you are using or when. Smart meters only measure how much energy a home used or generated in total. This is the same information we have always collected, just more frequently – up to three or four times per day rather than once every two months.
- BC Hydro does not sell or disclose personal information to third parties. The information collected will be handled in accordance with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act – just as it is now with your existing meter.
- The smart metering system uses multiple layers of security. Multiple layers of security ensure that any single point of vulnerability will remain contained and will not compromise the overall system. We have hired online experts to test our systems and develop the strongest possible protections.All personal information will then continue to be handled in accordance with the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.We do not have an opt out option. BC Hydro is committed to working with you to understand your specific concerns. We understand that some customers are uncomfortable with radio frequency based technology and that’s why we are working with those customers on a case by case basis to find mutually agreeable solutions. The options available to you will depend on your individual concerns and circumstances. In addition, the costs associated with customization will also vary depending on your unique circumstances.Your concerns have been noted on your account and a smart meter will not be installed at this time until we have communicated with you further. [They installed the meter without further communication].