The Smart Grid for Dummies

Unless you live way out in the sticks you’ve probably heard about the “Smart Grid”. I’m betting there’s a good chance that your utility company has either installed or is planning to install “smart meters” in your neighborhood. What are you going to do about it?

nosmartmeter

I dodged the “smart meter” bullet for many years at my previous suburban tract home. But, of course, the bastards caught up with me when I moved to my little farmhouse in the country last fall. They actually let themselves through the gate in the fence and into my backyard to slap one of their infernal meters onto the side of my house – all without my permission. Fortunately, my utility company has a state-mandated opt-out policy so it took little more than a phone call to make an appointment for its removal.

Electrosmog

You’ll have to take my word for it that for the two months that that “smart” meter was on my house, I didn’t much enjoy it. I’ve studied the symptoms of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome and, while I’m fairly sure I don’t have it, I swear I could hear the meter humming as it busily sent all my usage data wirelessly back to the collective hive-brain in the wee hours of the morning.*

I’ve since met a few other folks who also hear the hum; either from their own “smart” meter, their neighbors’, or from some other source. Laugh all you want at us crazy nutcases but I’m here to tell you, you’re taking big chances with one of those things on your house.

“How do I know what type of meter I have?”

Good question! Compare yours to one of the two pictures below:

AMI

Here we see an “AMI” or “smart” meter. It has a built-in wireless transmitter that beams a powerful 900MHz signal in the horizontal plane to the nearest utility pole-mounted receiver. From there, the signal is sent back to your utility company’s headquarters for “analysis”, “data archiving”, etc. Just so you know, it works both ways: the company can also use this AMI meter to adjust how much electricity you have access to, to control the operation of various appliances in your home, all the way up to disconnecting your house from the grid entirely…you know, for the greater good.

AMR

And here we see the non-transmitting “AMR” type meter. I was half-hoping to get my old “spinning wheel” analog meter reinstalled but this is what they gave me instead. I am currently unaware of health risks or other weirdness associated with AMR meters so I’ll just watch and wait. If it turns out these kind are dangerous too, I’ll explore more options.

access-point

So what does any of this have to do with collapse? Well, the more complex and more reliant on technology our power infrastructure becomes, the more likely it is that it will be brought down by a hacker, a solar event, a full-blown cyber attack by foreign state or non-state actors, or a simple failure of a piece of hardware or software. Therefore, I categorize the advent of the “Smart Grid” as a “Collapse Accelerant”. Like all things with “smart” in their name, smart grids are all kinds of dumb (not to mention unhealthy). Being on a smart grid may seem convenient and it sure makes life easier for the folks down at the utility company. But it’s a really bad idea for us common folk who just want to be left alone.

*The hum? Almost totally gone. I still hear it on rare occasions at a much reduced intensity, probably originating from a neighbor’s AMI meter. But since there’s over 100 feet separating the houses in my neighborhood, I’m less worried about their meters than the one I once had to live with 10 feet away from the head of my bed.

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