The Smart Meters Are Coming

Citizens of Santa Barbara County: Smart Meters are scheduled to be installed here soon. They are set to replace reliable, working meters at your home and at schools, hospitals, and businesses. The CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) has approved them as the mandatory first step in creating the federal government’s (Department of Energy) “Smart Grid.”

What is a Smart Meter? Simply put, it is a wireless, digital device that uses electromagnetic signals to transmit information back to the utility company about how much electricity you are using, and allows the company to remotely turn your electricity down or off. The stated goal is to limit (ration) electricity use and penalize anyone for going over their allowance by charging much higher rates if they do. Appliances will also be remotely controlled with on and off switches by transmitters that are installed on them.

Smart Meters have been installed to bad reviews. In fact, more and more cities and counties are banning them as complaints mount. First, they are not affordable in our depressed economy, and bills are doubling and tripling. Second, no environmental impact studies have been done on the pulsating meters, so animals’ and humans’ health may be at risk. Already, reports of headaches, heart problems, insomnia, ringing of the ears, and other even more serious maladies are common. Finally, security questions about privacy and hackers abound.

Fellow citizens of Santa Barbara County, before Smart Meters are installed here, we need to know they are not deadly and disruptive. Watch for a forum with answers in April.

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