Skip to comments.In this Wisconsin town, you get the smart meter or they shut you down
Posted on 07/11/2013 6:06:50 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
BARABOO Residents in this small southern Wisconsin city have two choices when it comes to the brave new world of the Smart Grid: Go along with new smart meters for public utilities or get along without water, gas or electricity.
Most residents dont make a fuss and let the utilities install the new smart meters, which are supposed to provide utility customers and taxpayers with savings from real-time data usage and less manpower needed to read traditional analog meters.
Some residents, however, including 81-year-old Audrey Parker, say the smart meters are an invasion of privacy, and they believe the technologys use of radio frequency poses health concerns.
Parker and the Sheriffs, a Baraboo family, fought city hall over installation of the new meters and have seemingly lost.
ALL IN: Baraboo is among several Wisconsin communities that requires utility customers to install smart meter technology. If customers refuse, they lose. The two households had their water shut off on Tuesday.
My husband is 74 years old and hes been hauling five gallon buckets of water into the house for us to flush the toilet, said Darcy Sheriff, 65. Its not even sanitary. Its just a disgusting situation.
The Sheriffs recently took in a family with a 2-year-old girl to stay with them until August, adding to the sticky situation.
Were not political crusader-type people. We just know its time to take a stand. This has gone too far. We dont want this thing in our home, Sheriff told Wisconsin Reporter on Wednesday. Its none of the citys business when Im using water or what Im using. Just that we dont know for sure (about health issues) is enough to bother us.
Mayor Mike Palm did not return requests for comment, but city officials told Wisconsin Reporter on Wednesday that the city tried to convince the holdouts to let them in to install the new meter.
With 4,612 customers, theres fewer than a handful left to do, said Tom Pinion, director of Public Works for the city. Every residence in Baraboo that has electric meters and gas meters has this exact same device in their home. Every home has two transceiver units. This is a third.
The smart meter uses radio-frequency waves to send usage data between a utility customers home and their utility company. The high-tech gauges are a key link in the transition to the Smart Grid, the shared initiative of the federal government and the energy industry to modernize the nations electricity transmission and distribution system. Theres a lot of taxpayer money involved in a myriad programs to bring the Smart Grid and smart meters online.
Small pockets of citizens in municipalities throughout the country have balked at the new technology. Some cite health concerns, others see the meters as an invasion of privacy and still others link the technology to United Nations Agenda 21, a conspiracy theory based on an actual UN policy initiative that purports the global elite want to control, among other things, how much energy people use.
Pinion said he hasnt seen any evidence that backs up the health and privacy concerns cited by Parker. Regardless, he said, she has to comply with city policies to receive city resources.
Its not an option, he said. The service shes had the last umpteen years has been water. She can certainly continue to have water, but we have an obligation to change up the meter.
The Public Service Commission has allowed municipalities and private utilities to decide whether they want to offer an opt-out provision. Some communities, like the city of Madison, allow an opt-out, although it doesnt come without a cost.
Madison Water Utility customers who decline the installation of a smart meter have to pay a monthly charge of $7.78 for a quarterly manual meter reading, according to the utility.
Baraboo, like other Wisconsin communities, doesnt offer an opt-out option.
SHUTDOWN: Jim Sheriff pours water into the toilet of his Baraboo home Wednesday. The city water utility temporarily shut off water to the property because Sheriff and his wife, Darcy, have refused the installation of a smart water meter. PSC spokesman Nathan Conrad said less than 1 percent of complaints filed with the commission since 2010 have dealt with smart meters.
Pinion said 17 other Wisconsin communities use the same transceiver model and dont allow an opt-out option.
Were not breaking any new ground here, he said.
State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, however, wants to give customers statewide the option to opt-out of smart meter installation.
Smart meters are seeking efficiencies, and thats a noble thing, but whats been happening with smart meters is utility providers by and large dont have competition, he said. So when these smart meters are installed, customers are not being given options. This would allow an opt-out for customers who, for whatever reason, dont want smart meters.
Thiesfeldt said hes fielded just a handful of formal complaints from constituents, but has heard concern from other people at public events.
Privacy concerns are the thrust of the bill that I have put forward, the lawmaker said. I think this is a Fourth Amendment issue. People should be able to control their personal data.
Thiesfeldt pointed to government snooping revelations from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden as a reason why personal data collection should be protected.
The public utility is able to measure an unbelievable amount of data in your household, getting down to whether or not youre using a microwave or a stove, he said. I want the public to know what these devices are capable of doing. You ought to be able to control your personal data of whats going on inside your home.
The PSC intervened Wednesday, and by late in the day the Sheriffs water was turned back on, pending an investigation. Darcy Sheriff suffers from a medical condition that exempts the home from the shut-off. Darcy Sheriff told Wisconsin Reporter that the city is demanding a medical form proving her infirmity within 21 days or the utility will shut off the water again.
Audrey Parker was not so lucky. As of late Wednesday, the 81-year-old great-grandmother was still without city water.
Update on smart meter controversy in Baraboo
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off,this Wisconsin interest ping list.
Not everything new is bad.
I get the “option” of paying $10 per month to not have the smart meter.
--when the users started gaming it by turning the clock ahead, they first went to a clock that the customer couldn't reset--as the technology became available it went to a radio signal---
If I had the money, I’d send Mrs. Parker some solar panels and have someone install them for her!
Then I’d have a well driller dig her a well and a get someone to put a septic tank in.
Then she can tell the politicians to do something useful instead of harassing citizens.
I see a very clean broom sweeping in the next election.
I’m on a private well, so no meters. However, I love the smart meters on my gas and electric service. It saves me from clunky workers tramping through my garden, crushing my flowers under their boots. It also relieves me from liability, should they tumble down the rocky slope behind my house.
So, denial of service, the easy way out. Hell, the other meter was in for years, you can’t sacrifice for a few years for the sake of the elderly. I wouldn’t buy your water just based on that alone. There are ways around it. Might cost some money to haul water to a cistern and a pump to the house, then guess what, you are now out of their system till they decide yours is a health hazard.
Did they kill analog TV for this, to make room on the frequency bandwidth for their smart grid?
If it’s like many municipalities it is illegal to have a septic system and a well and/or cistern. Citizens are required to use city pumped water and sewer. We have both a well and cistern on our property and we are prohibited from using them. We are also required to pay for refuse service. Also once water, sewer, or electric is shut off the resident will be referred to the health department, who will condemn the house until service is restored. They have it all tied up into a neat little package don’t they?
How in the world does turning off your water service from midnight to 4AM help the utility in any way, unless everyones water is shut off? The feed lines continue to be pressurized. The equipment is running. There is very little usage in those hours to begin with.
-—— you get the smart meter or they shut you down———
Which is as it should be.
They sell, you buy. Don’t like the product, do without.
The “Heater” was turned off....the electric flow that keeps it hot. Geez....
The real goal is to eventually be able to turn off your heat or air conditioning automatically. This allows the destruction of our power production capacity - wind generators (the wind) are unreliable and will be all we have. Ready to cook or freeze in your home? At least your TV will work - got to have your alphabet propaganda - er - news.
not the water service
the HOT WATER HEATER
it saves electricity, not water
“The first is a smart grid variation on a technique thats already used to protect private information collected for health care databases or by Internet services like Google and Amazon”
Such statements have bogus written large. Health care data bases are a huge problem as we speak. Government can get their hands on any data it desires by virtue of the large hammer it is able to wield, called blackmail, illegal in any circle other than government.
As to Google and Amazon, two of the worst offenders IMHO.
Heat or A/C? Gotta think bigger and badder than that. Even in the winter in a lot of places, you’ll be far worse off when They turn off your refrigerator during a “national emergency” when they need people to get back in line.
A quote from a friend about the above paper reference:
"The really amazing thing is that similar technology can be used for gas and water use, but requires a low cost (less than $50) but high bandwidth (essentially acoustic) pressure/flow sensor be installed. Something you may get with smart gas and water meters. They can detect a single dripping faucet or leaking toilet (and tell you which one) or give you a monthly total water use from a shower from ONE sensor on the water meter. F****** magic.. actually just very good time and frequency domain analysis, but still almost unreal."
In short this paper discusses how any electric utility supplied services to a residence can be analyzed at a very atomic level of operation. The comments also show how this is applicable to gas and water utility services too.
In addition, the head of Belkin (the company who purchased and is commercializing the technology) is a green fascist. He SPECIFICALLY wants to use the information to change and enforce behavior.
The product, now released, is called Belkin Echo. The launch customer is the US government.
You can have a smart meter installed, but just remember that another piece of your privacy is gone - and probably your control of your residence (see previous FReeper posts on new EPA refrigerator green program).