Opting Out - Smart Meter Removal

jasonw
By jasonw on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - 2:16pm

A couple of months ago my family opted out of the smart meter program through PG&E (paid the $75 removal fee and now pay the $10 monthly meter reading fee) and found a curious thing happen, our power  costs have gone down (usage numbers: 433kwh/34 days, 267Kwh/31days, 461Kwh/31 days (AC on for 2 days straight during heat wave). 

Our last 3 bills have been the lowest bills to date in this new rental house we are in.  After a discussion with some other energy minded folks it seems that people have experienced significant swings in costs once a smart meter has been installed or removed. 

Does anyone else have similar observations? 

 

 

18 Comments

David Huang's picture
David Huang
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Posts: 75
A few years ago my power

A few years ago my power company installed new smart meters.  It didn't change my readings any.  It shouldn't, of course.  You mention that you are in a new rental house.  Have you been in it long enough to know what your meter readings were for a similar time last year?  It may just be that moving into the warmer months means you use less power.  I know that's generally the case for me.  It may also be that this new home is better designed to use less power compared to your old place. 

jasonw's picture
jasonw
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We moved to this new home in

We moved to this new home in November, so we have 7 months worth of bills.  4 with the smart meter and 3 without. The cost difference now is anywere from half to a third of what our "normal" bill is.  Our lifestyle has not changed over the last three months so it just seemed a bit odd.  I will keep monitoring our usage and report back periodically. 

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
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That's interesting...

Would you explain your reasoning for opting out? 

We recently had them installed all over town, and it seemed to me to be a good way to save gasoline, by not needing meter-readers to drive around to read them.  I like that usage info is available in pseudo-realtime online.  But I'm open to being convinced, if the savings are greater...though $75 to opt out and $10 to have your meter read each month sounds like it could counter any potential savings...

james_knight_chaucer's picture
james_knight_chaucer
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I will certainly be opting

I will certainly be opting out when we get them here in the UK, because they are connected to the GSM cellphone system.

I am electro-sensitive, and have to ask my friends to switch off their phones when they visit, or I get a headache. I think most customers are capable of reading a conventional meter themselves, so asking for $10 a month for someone to come and do it, rather looks like they are bullying people into having smart meters.

Is electro-sensitivity the reason Jason opted out?

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
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Smart Meters Work for Me.......

because they spin backwards when I sell power to the Utility from my 2 solar systems. To my best understanding the dumb meters don't have that capability. 

At the annual meeting at our coop one person spoke out saying he thought that the smart meters recorded what type of appliances he used to give info to the government.

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
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Posts: 573
In many areas, they don't

In many areas, they don't really read the meter every month. For example, if you call our local utility and specifically ask, they will tell you that they use data averaging, and do site visits every 3 months.I question whether they even did that. You can request a specific monthly site visit at no charge in our neghborhood, which we did.

Our power bill went down as a result.

phecksel's picture
phecksel
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Posts: 204
Some people have claimed

Some people have claimed health issues from smart meters.  Experts "claim" there are no health issues.  Luckily if we get them, we will have sufficient distance from the meters.

Bankers Slave's picture
Bankers Slave
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Posts: 523
Eventually

with smart meters the central planners will decide what power you use and when you can use it. Its just about control over the plebs and more removal of privacy rights and freedoms, just like everything else that they claim is for convienience when labelled smart. 

Bankers Slave's picture
Bankers Slave
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Stop smart meters website

http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/

Irksome's picture
Irksome
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Posts: 10
Oliveoilguy wrote: because
Oliveoilguy wrote:

because they spin backwards when I sell power to the Utility from my 2 solar systems. To my best understanding the dumb meters don't have that capability. 

 

I can't speak to all utility companies or all locations, but my utility company (San Diego Gas and Electric) used 'dumb' meters when I first installed my grid-tied solar electric generation, and my meter absolutely ran backwards.  I've been on net-metering for over 10 years now, 7 years on 'dumb' meter, 3 with the new smart meter.

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
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Irksome
Irksome wrote:
Oliveoilguy wrote:

because they spin backwards when I sell power to the Utility from my 2 solar systems. To my best understanding the dumb meters don't have that capability. 

 

I can't speak to all utility companies or all locations, but my utility company (San Diego Gas and Electric) used 'dumb' meters when I first installed my grid-tied solar electric generation, and my meter absolutely ran backwards.  I've been on net-metering for over 10 years now, 7 years on 'dumb' meter, 3 with the new smart meter.

Thanks....Good info. In the case of my electric coop, I know that the "old" meters were not capable of supporting grid interactive solar, but we may be talking about yet another type of meter.

Anyhow.....I just like watching the meter run backwards, and I have become much more aware of where the watts are coming from. We installed a minisplit in our bedroom and so far this year have not turned on the central air to our house.

Glad to meet a long time net-metering guy.

 

jasonw's picture
jasonw
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Posts: 1018
the main reason for opting

the main reason for opting out for us was to reduce our overall exposure to wireless and electromagnetic sources.  The smart meter was on the opposite side of our bedroom wall and right above our heads and not to far from our kids room as well.  With being bathed in wifi, cellular and other sources of exposure all the time we thought it best to reduce that exposure.  We also have read of the possible health effects and thought it best to sit this one out.  Too many friends and acquaintances have stories of health issues and problems with them.  I don't have a lot of trust in companies and organizations any more that tell me products are safe. 

I did like having the hourly data available to review till we had a 28 hour power outage and when the results showed usage during that period I was a little wary of it actually being accurate.  There also seemed to be huge spikes in use at hours of the night when we are all asleep. 

Plus my wife really wanted it out - so now it is gone. 

It is not pleasant to have to pay the extra money but so far it seems to be worth it. 

GM_Man's picture
GM_Man
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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Posts: 74
I opted out...

Here in New England the power company gave our small town a presentation on the new meters.

Quite frankly, they did not make a valid case for me to have one.  There were no benefits to me as a consumer of electricity at all; the benefits of the new meters were all toward providing minute-by-minute details on my consumption of electricity to the power company.  It appeared that they would know what power I was using and when, and it would give them more control over my use of power in my home.  Since I am installing a solar system among other energy generating options, I could see absolutely no reason why I would want them to install their new meter.

There needs to be a business case that includes the consumer for these upgrades.

IMHO

Kman's picture
Kman
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Posts: 72
nothing to fear

Our company installs solar.  So we have seen all the different meters.  In our area, PG&E, smart meters are now the norm.  They are very accurate as they are electronic and not mechanical like most they replace.  We know of many customers that saw their bills go up once the smart meters were installed, but in all the instances we knew of it was because they had very old mechanical meters- 25+ years old that were replaced.  The mechanical meters simply slow down over time due to friction build up as the mechanism wears out.  This would cause the old meters to run slow and under report usage.  So when the new electronic smart meter went in, bill would go up as now reading accurately (aka no more free power).   So, at that time we advised potential solar customers that had old meters that they could see there bill go up 20% or so.  Today, thats not an issue as nearly everyone is on a smart meter, or at least an electronic meter.     So, if you are in an area that is having meters being updated and have a very old mechanical style meter (25+ years old), then be prepared for this possibility.

Now that we are in an area with smart meters, I can tell you that the information they provide is great to have access to.  Sure its fun to watch a mechanical meter go backwards with solar power, but the smart meters provide much more information.  They also enable time of use rates to be used- which means that you can be charged different rates at different times of day.  The best thing with a smart meter is that you can see you usage profile online and see when you are using the most power.  Great for isolating items that use a lot of power and adjust accordingly.

As for the EMF thing, I personally don't buy into any of the arguments about it.  So unless you have given up cell phones and wifi, being worried about the EMF from the smart meter is pretty nonsensical.

More likely is that utilities will now be able to make time of use standard and not just optional.  Once eveyone has a smart meter or at least an electronic meter, they will likely want to roll out the time of use rates as mandatory- aka get hit with a bigger bill if you use power during the peak demand hours.  This way they dont have to invest in as many peaker gas fired plants or other such systems and keep their costs down.  However, this isnt really a bad thing as it will encourage everyone to be more conscious of their power usage, and encourage more solar.

So, simply put, smart meters are very accurate and provide a lot of information that you can take advantage of to lower your own bills with.

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
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Posts: 209
Resonance Beings of Frequency

We received a letter that Hydro Quebec will be installing these smart meters by Decemeber.

We will try to fight this. Meeting 16 July.

NN

 

jackieO's picture
jackieO
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Joined: Jul 24 2013
Posts: 1
Nothing To Fear?

Are you kidding, Kman? The way you just described this to us, we have everything to fear! First of all, it would be the utility company at fault for the usage rate being incorrect on those old meters. They left them there for years knowing they were slowing down. Next, backtracking and charging the unaware consumer all that money! RIDICULOUS!!  Then, knowing exactly what time of day and what appliances we are using is quite an invasion of privacy! Sounds like the government to me. Seriously? Come on!

 

Te Man's picture
Te Man
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 3 2008
Posts: 2
Politely inform them

So our power charges are going down - yay!!!!!!

They would have built-in to the unit charge, the 25% of power that had no t been billing to anyone. The power companies know exactly how much power is being used and how much is being charged to the consumers. The loses that have occured by not having correct meters is just bult-in to the unit charge. The power companies are not going to allow themselves to lose. unit charge = (costs in + cost of overheads) x their margin % for profit. They will never allow poor meters to interfer with their profit for the shareholders.

Concerning them wanting you to pay for unmetered units - they would need to prove beyond doubt that you had used the units. They are unable to do this. When did the meter fail? Was is gradual or immediate? They would not be able to prove anything!

I was an electrician who serviced a large saw mill. The Power company came to the manager and informed him that they had checked the power meter and found, according to them, that it was only measuring about a third of the usage. I got involved in the discussion and just asked. "When did it start, was it a gradual or immediate decline?" The power account said "for power used from (date) to (date)". My comment was. "You state the mill has paid so you now can not come back wanting more money!" If there was fraud committed by the mill, that would make the situation different.

The problem was their making, so it is their problem. We ended up telling them to go away and that was the end of the story.

It did help that I had previously worked for the power company and knew what I was talking about. They have charged you already, if they want more it is for them to prove you owe ..... which they can not.

tractordrivindan's picture
tractordrivindan
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 7 2014
Posts: 1
time of useage

soCal Edison  the highest rate charged is between 10 am to 6pm so watch when you use your electricity

 

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