Smart Meters: This is about as Big Brother as it gets

Thanks to Elaine and Ed

[The smart meter issue is where many on the left and right agree. -DS]

The new smart meters are watching you. They sense all kinds of goings on. They see when you turn something on or off. They see how many watts your toothbrush pulls. They send the record of that little event over wireless networks, bouncing through your neighbors’ smart meters all the way to the power company where they keep a record of your power consumption volumes and patterns every minute of every day and store that data on computers that you will never get to see.

That data shows when you are at home, shows when you are sleeping, shows when you are on vacation, when you have visitors, when you use a lamp, a power tool, some extra computers, and if you look like you’re running a business out of your home. It even senses when you bootleg energy off the grid.

Your smart meter shows a vivid profile of your personal living patterns and if you were home on the night of the murder.

This is not electrical metering. This is personal surveillance. This is a search without a warrant every day. This is your personal private life going straight out through your electric meter to your power company, to your government, to the police, to the insurance company… to anyone who cuts a deal with your power company to look at your life under a microscope.

Sorry, it’s actually worse than that. People who don’t cut a deal can get your information too, by simply intercepting the wireless spewing from the side of your house. Yes, smart meters are radio transmitters licensed by the FCC. On this all-news radio station, every detail of your electrical life is shooting off to some institutional data center somewhere. Already, the police in Ohio, Texas, British Columbia, and places I don’t know about, are regularly using smart meter data to pinpoint marijuana grow houses, enforce business licenses, and punish people for doing things in the privacy of their own homes, that you are not supposed to do, that they would not even know that you were doing, if they were not spying on you.

Your power company gets to sell your life story to whomever it wants. Any unusual power consumption pattern is considered probable cause to raid you for growing marijuana or running a computer server without a business license.

This is about as Big Brother as it gets. Those friendly men with their truckload of smart meters are going door-to-door with something a little different than a Christmas carol.

My personal opinion is that you and I need to demand these things be taken off our homes. It is not possible for your power company to claim that they have the right to install a surveillance device on your house. Smart meters are no different than wire-tapping devices. And, in case you didn’t know, wire-tapping is illegal in all fifty of the states and federal territories.

If you let your power company put a smart meter on your house, you might as well walk around all day with a facebook helmet webcam pointed at yourself. They have convinced themselves that installing smart meters is lawful by some reaching-to-the-moon jive called “implied consent.” If you say they can change your meter, they contend that you consent, even though you don’t know really what they’re doing.

Tell them that they can’t change your meter. They had no trouble billing you with your old meter. If you send them a notice by certified mail that they may not install a smart meter or any other surveillance device on your house, their implied consent goes out the window. I would do that if I were you. In fact, I did that, and I’m not even you. You can see that letter below. You can copy and paste that into your word processor… The post office will give you the certified mail slip.

Those friendly guys on the sidewalk told me that they plan to put a smart meter on every house in America. If they do that, it will no longer be America.

FROM: Certified U.S. Postal Mail #….
Energy Customer’s Name
Street Address
City State Zip

Energy Provider
Street Address
City State Zip

Date of letter


Dear (Energy Provider) and all agents, officers, employees, contractors and interested parties,

If you intend to install a “Smart Meter” or any activity monitoring device at the above address, you and all other parties are hereby denied consent for installation and use of all such device on the above property and installation and use of any activity monitoring device is hereby refused and prohibited. Informed consent is legally required for installation of any surveillance device and any device that will collect and transmit private and personal data to undisclosed and unauthorized parties for undisclosed and unauthorized purposes. Authorization for sharing of personal and private information may only be given by the originator and subject of that information. That authorization is hereby denied and refused with regard to the above property and all its occupants. “Smart Meters” violate the law and cause endangerment to residents by the following factors:

1. They individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy.
2. They monitor household activity and occupancy in violation of rights and domestic security.
3. They transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants.
4. Data about occupant’s daily habits and activities are collected, recorded and stored in permanent databases which are accessed by parties not authorized or invited to know and share that private data.
5. Those with access to the smart meter databases can review a permanent history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants.
6. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance.
7. “Smart Meters” are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.
8. It is possible for example, with analysis of certain “Smart Meter” data, for unauthorized and distant parties to determine medical conditions, sexual activities, physical locations of persons within the home, vacancy patterns and personal information and habits of the occupants.
9. Your company has not adequately disclosed the particular recording and transmission capabilities of the smart meter, or the extent of the data that will be recorded, stored and shared, or the purposes to which the data will and will not be put.

I forbid, refuse and deny consent of any installation and use of any monitoring, eavesdropping, and surveillance devices on my property, my place of residence and my place of occupancy. That applies to and includes “Smart Meters” and activity monitoring devices of any and all kinds. Any attempt to install any such device directed at me, other inhabitants, guests, my property or residence will constitute trespass, stalking, wiretapping and unlawful surveillance, all prohibited and punishable by law through criminal and civil complaints. All persons, government agencies and private organizations responsible for installing or operating monitoring devices directed at or recording my activities, which I have not specifically authorized in writing, will be fully liable for any violations, intrusions, harm or negative consequences caused or made possible by those devices whether those negative consequences are justified by “law” or not..

This is legal notice. After this delivery the liabilities listed above may not be denied or avoided by parties named and implied in this notice.

Notice to principal is notice to agent and notice to agent is notice to principal. All rights reserved.


Name of energy user and/or customer


What a load of over-the-top, hysterical, misinformed nonsense! This guy is no journalist, and his paranoid litany is devoid of any citation to factual sources. If you follow his web link you will find that Jerry Day is a small-time video producer for corporate training videos, PR and the like.

As just one example of Day’s false premises take the first numbered point in his model letter refusing Smart Meters:
1. They individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy.

False: A Smart Meter measures electrical usage, period. There is no way to tell what device is drawing power unless you purchase new “smart” devices like refrigerators that can report data back to the meter. Day’s statement that “They see how many watts your toothbrush pulls” is total paranoid fantasy with no basis in fact.

Without going into tedious detail I challenge all the other hysterical assertions in Jerry Day’s rant as not only unproven, but not even supported by any known factual source.

It is uninformed, paranoid rantings like this that are spreading groundless fears of spying and surveillance by Big Brother, added to the groundless fears of “radiation” from Smart Meters, but that’s another story.

If you’re really worried about government or corporate surveillance of your ideas and activities, you had better stop using email, the Web and Facebook, because it is a documented fact that government spies monitor all of these in the fear-driven “War on Terror.”

Just because many people are jumping on the Smart Meter Scare bandwagon does not mean there’s any rational basis for it. Look to the Salem witch scare for a model of how masses of ordinary people can be whipped into mob-action frenzy using fear of the unknown and the misunderstood.

Maybe Jerry Day should try making a video proving he’s not a witch!

    Nick is absolutely right. I’m appalled at the disinformation campaign against smart meters and the irrational fear that has been whipped up around them.

    The electricity generation and distribution system – “the grid” – is basically at capacity. Remember the rolling blackouts? They were caused (and likely will be again) by power demand spikes that exceeded the supply. There is basically no way to store large amounts of electricity, it has to be generated when it is needed – so power plants are built to supply the peak load, not the average. It would be a lot cheaper, and a LOT less environmentally destructive, to reduce peak power demand than to build additional power plants just to supply those peaks (these “peaking” plants are idle most of the time). Smart meters are a key technology to make that happen. That’s right – smart meters are an alternative to building new power plants, by allowing the utility to manage power consumption as well as generation.

    But if you are really worried, just go off the grid and generate your own power. Sure it’s expensive, but the security is worth it, right?

    Actually nick, a digital signal processing device is already in use in most smart meter models, but not all. It analyses the noise made on the power lines to determine what type of device is running. That’s about it. They can’t tell what channel you’re watching, but your cable/satellite provider already knows that. So the fridge doesn’t have to be installed with a fridge-chip. If it is, then that’s just more details. If you didn’t know your fridge was chipped, then it’s still invasive. Knowing that I’m running a computer, or two, at certain times of day is invasive. You were mistaken about it not knowing more. It knows more, but not too deeply. The kid who applied the signal analysis to develop a chip got an award for it.

    See the video “The Dark Side of ‘Smart Meters'” at this site:

Ah, if it was only so simple.

There’s a lot more to the story than the video & article suggest. Privacy is almost the least of the concerns. Anyone interested might want to visit the following link:

Actually, there is a way to keep them from knowing you are running a computer server, or knowning what you are doing on your computer. Just get an interruptable power supply (UPS) where anything plugged into it, draws the power from the storage batteries, and not directly from the grid. Most UPS units work that way to protect computers from things like power surges.

The only thing the smart meter will see is that you have some kind of battery charger hooked up to the line.

In 1935 my father–rest his soul–was an electrical engineer for Rural Electric in Michigan, which was charged (pardon the pun) with bringing electricity to rural areas. He had lots of melodramatic conspiratorial stories, like the “smarty pants” meter stories, about how stringing electrical lines across farmers’ fields was going to poison the wheat and was causing the birth of two-headed cows and was most assuredly responsible for causing the youth to flee the rural life and for women to get uppity. And it was certainly thought to be “nothing but a conspiracy of certain elements of the government to take over our lives.” Well, as it turns out, there was some bit of truth in all of that but that’s a stretch, too. We’ve certainly created a monster energy problem, haven’t we, by inventing “them darn horseless carriages,” to say nothing of the electric light, refrigerators, TVs, computers, the internet, cell phones, and everything else that now represents the “American Way of Life.” We’ve created a monster, one that requires regulation from some central source. Can we do without regulation? Well, maybe, if the consciousness of humanity will evolve to the point where each one of us really sees the Big Picture and each one of us always makes responsible choices. Then there would be no need for government regulation or the power company “watchers.” We’d do it all by ourselves out of a basic sense of goodness. But it ain’t that way, and in the meantime we inevitably put the whole world out on a limb. We may all be the pawns of big energy, big government and big money…whatever. But we got there and we continue to be held there through the choices we make and through the fact that there will always be someone willing to exploit whatever is exploitable. In a very real way we all make these big choices….from moment to moment to moment. We’ve got what we’ve got and there is no turning back. We know that. But meanwhile we can do our best to face the problems we have, whether it’s smart meters, the energy crisis or government regulation or Wall Street, with our eyes wide open, and not hide behind righteous indignation and paranoid fantasies. No, I don’t have the answers. The answers only come through individuals acting in “community” and that’s always been a global issue. Meanwhile, I do know that turning the lights off when I’m not using them matters. I do know that recycling matters. I do know that buying locally matters. I do know that caring about my neighbors matters, I do know… well, nothing new here. We all know. And we all sort of try….mostly….well, some of the time…when it’s convenient…meanwhile, I’d really like to have one of those new 3-D TV sets with a 105 inch screen…(no, I’m just joking about the TV. What am I thinking? I don’t even have cable yet.)