Back at the start of the Obama regime, Lee predicted that his obsession with leftist supply control and spurious green energy theories would lead to federally mandated power rationing for America’s homes. It turns out he was very, very right.
When Obama entered office, just 3% of the country had been fitted with smart meters. Now, it’s in the region of 40%. It’s estimated that 57 million of them have been installed in the US, and 250 million worldwide. In the US, it’s a huge lobbyist-controlled stimulus-fed business, with billions of dollars flowing from the Department of Energy into Big Energy players like GE, Cisco, and a battalion of local power companies.
So what’s bad about them? Haven’t electric meters enhanced communication capabilities? Advocates suggest that electric systems will become more reliable and efficient, allowing customers to be aware of their usage and adjust their usage accordingly. In reality, the government, through the agency of the power companies, can now spy on your energy use and name and shame you if it considers your use to be excessive.
The technology involves advanced meters that can use one-way communication (known as Automated Meter Reading, or AMR), which enables the utility to do remote meter reading, or two-way communication (Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI. These two-way meters are often referred to as “smart meters.”
Utilities have an incentive to install advanced meters for residential customers because automated meter reading lowers usage. Most power utilities don’t have enough power in their systems to deal with real demand so they have come up with a way to self-ration, which they like to refer to as “saving,”
AMI technology provides usage data to both the utility and the consumer. This capability, when combined with real-time prices, time-of-day, or other pricing options, gives consumers the information they need to alter their usage and lower their bills, should they be on such a tariff option. Customers who can manage their energy use can save money and conserve energy, all of which can potentially contribute to reduced need for additional power plants (and the significant capital costs associated with new generating capacity). While this sounds innocent on the surface, the threat of the government IMPOSING rationing is all too real a threat. If it decides you use too much power it won’t care if you have four small kids or bed-ridden parents and a lot of laundry – it’ll just set your limit. If you like your house at a constant 72 degrees and the government decides that’s too high, or low, they can stop you. Is this American? No, it is not!
The rollout of AMI has been somewhat controversial, with some groups, like us at Independent Living arguing that the net benefits of this technology to consumers remain unproven.
How many smart meters are installed in the U.S. and who has them?
In 2012 (most recent data available), 533 U.S. electric utilities had 43,165,185 advanced (“smart”) metering infrastructure (AMI) installations. About 89% were residential customer installations.
Advanced metering infrastructure includes meters that measure and record electricity usage at a minimum of hourly intervals and provide the data to both the utility and the utility customer at least once daily. They range from basic hourly interval meters to real-time meters with built-in two-way communication capable of recording and transmitting instantaneous data.
Number of AMI Installations by Sector Type
Residential Commercial Industrial Transportation Total
38,524,639 4,461,350 179,159 35 43,165,183