New York Bill Would Allow Customers To Opt Out Of Smart Meters, Undermine Federal Program

By Mike Maharrey

A bill introduced in the New York Assembly would allow customers to opt out of installing “smart meter” technology on their homes and businesses. Passage of this bill would allow New Yorkers to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.

Asm. Michael DenDekker (D – East Elmhurst) introduced Assembly Bill 3066 (A3066) on Jan. 26. The legislation would allow New Yorkers to opt out of any utility company smart meter program with no penalty.

Smart meters monitor home energy usage in minute detail in real time. The devices transmit data to the utility company were it gets stored in databases. Anybody with access to the data can download it for analysts. Without specific criteria limiting access to the data, these devices create significant privacy issues. Smart meters can also be used to remotely limit power usage during peak hours.

A3066 provides a comprehensive smart meter opt-out right for utility customers.

It  shall be the right of every customer of an electric and/or gas corporation, at no penalty, fee or service charge to decline the permission of his or her electric and/or gas corporation, (a)  to  replace  an existing  meter  at  such  customer’s  premises that is assigned to such customer’s account with a two-way smart meter  or (b) to  install  any two-way  smart  meter device at his or her property without such customer’s consent.

The legislation would also require utility companies to give customers 90 day notice before installing smart meter technology with a right to decline installation. It would further allow a customer to require removal of a smart meter with no charge for one year after installation.

Privacy Concerns

The proliferation of smart meters creates significant privacy concerns. The data collected can tell anybody who holds it a great deal about what goes on inside a home. It can reveal when residents are at home, asleep or on vacation. It can also pinpoint “unusual” energy use, and could someday serve to help enforce “energy usage” regulations. The ACLU summarized the privacy issues surrounding smart meters in a recent report.

The temptation to use the information that will be collected from customers for something other than managing electrical loads will be strong – as it has been for cell phone tracking data and GPS information. Police may want to know your general comings and goings or whether you’re growing marijuana in your basement under grow lights. Advertisers will want the information to sell you a new washing machine to replace the energy hog you got as a wedding present 20 years ago. Information flowing in a smart grid will become more and more ‘granular’ as the system develops.

The privacy issues aren’t merely theoretical. According to information obtained by the California ACLU, utility companies in the state have disclosed information gathered by smart meters on thousands of customers. San Diego Gas and Electric alone disclosed data on more than 4,000 customers. The vast majority of disclosures were in response to subpoenas by government agencies “often in drug enforcement cases or efforts to find specific individuals,” according to SFGate.

Mark Toney, executive director of the Utility Reform Network watchdog group, said the sheer number of data disclosures made by SDG&E raised the possibility that government agencies wanted to sift through large amounts of data looking for patterns, rather than conducting targeted investigations.

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No Smart Meter, No Data

Refusing to allow a smart meter on your property is the only sure-fire way to ensure your energy use data won’t fall into the hands of government agents or private marketers, or end up stored in some kind of government database. Passage of A3066 would make opting out a legal option for New Yorkers and give them control over their own privacy.

Impact on Federal Program

The federal government serves as a major source of funding for smart meters. A 2009 program through the U.S. Department of Energy distributed $4.5 billion for smart grid technology. The initial projects were expected to fund the installation of 1.8 million smart meters over three years.

The federal government lacks any constitutional authority to fund smart grid technology. The easiest way to nullify such programs is to simply not participate. A3066 would make that possible. If enough states pass similar legislation, and enough people opt out, the program will go nowhere.

We’ve seen a similar opt out movement undermining Common Core in New York. Opting out follows a strategy James Madison advised in Federalist #46. “Refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” provides a powerful means to fight back against government overreach. Such actions in multiple states would likely be effective in bringing down federal smart meter programs.


A3066 was referred to the Assembly Energy Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared. He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky.See his blog archive here and his article archive here.He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at and like him on Facebook HERE

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11 Comments on "New York Bill Would Allow Customers To Opt Out Of Smart Meters, Undermine Federal Program"

  1. Awake to the criminals | January 31, 2017 at 4:49 am |

    Not a word about the health issues? The health issues are more of a concern than the privacy issues, but both are a problem. Sorry to disappoint everyone but the US presidential elections are as fake as a TV show. Fake elections and fake leaders are the root of all of our problems. The federal government and it’s “agencies” are the actual “terrorists”, and are responsible for almost all terrorist attacks. I cannot understand why most people cannot or will not wake up to the fake elections.

  2. In Florida the opt-out group are being charged a one-time fee of $99 and $13/month on top of their monthly bill–EXTORTION! FPL has the Public Service Commission in their back pockets as many went to them seeking help in fighting the monopolistic FPL. The Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi was informed as well as, the Governor, Rick Scott. The public heard from in the form of ‘crickets’. It is my understanding the Smart Meter program was for Federal Buildings ONLY–not public homes or businesses. This has never been addressed or looked into. This is corruption at it highest levels in the $$’s that are exchanged with this disastrous program. I have kept my analog but pay the ‘extortion’ as I have a brain tumor and the truth about continuous pulses from these meters is being hidden.

    • I live in Fl also and find it to be grossly accommodating to international groups and their funding. Agenda 21 is thriving in Fl.

    • Let’s correct some facts here about Florida.
      Florida, as a state, does NOT have an opt out program. The corrupt Florida Public Service Commission, after deceiving the public with a bogus industry dog and pony show – which was suppose to be an “investigation”, concluded that each utility could decide for themselves whether they wanted to offer “alternatives” and if they did they must charge a “cost-based” fee. Florida Power and Light filed an opt out tariff and charges $89 upfront and $13/month. Other utilities in Florida, like Duke, do NOT let their customers opt out. 36,000 originally refused the FPL smart meter. But when fees were imposed – only 6700 chose the opt out. Yes, those fees are extortion – but when the public caves , the public gets what it deserves.

      FPL has subsequently came in for two huge rate increases. Smart meters and the smart grid does NOT save money – it will bleed you dry. But again, few customers went to the service hearings to voice their opposition to the rate increases. The service hearings were full of FPL, asked to attend by FPL, customers begging for a rate increase.

      Read the Dept of Energy’s “Grid 2030” and its follow up report “technologies Roadmap” – and you will find that the goal for 2030 is “intercontinental bulk transfer of power”. So yes, they are building a Global Grid, they want to make electricity generation a commodity, and charge you “real time pricing” – translation – as much as they can get away with through manipulation and corruption.

      Regarding health – it is not just the RF radiation transmitted through the air you have to worry about. The FCC Authorization papers clearly show the design of these meters is to allow them to conduct the signal over your home wires. Go to you tube and search for Warren Woodward’s video entitled “Nerve Disrupting Frequencies Radiating from “Smart” Meters”.

      Just say No to smart meters to protect your health, privacy and pocketbook.

  3. This needs to spread across the country like wildfire! Our states should stand with those citizens who choose to live off the grid and be self sustaining. THAT is the American way.

  4. NJguy - Proudly Deplorable | January 31, 2017 at 1:29 pm |

    What! NYS is fighting a globalist project??? Can’t be.

  5. Grace by Faith on yt | January 31, 2017 at 4:47 pm |

    Fair warning, opting out is still contracting with a federal agency – any stipulation of any sort regarding smart meters is still a contract, so the goal here isn’t opting out, which is a start (but people are still creating joinder, agreeing to a contract, one that can be changed by the fed at any time by the way), it is to make the fed go away altogether refusing to contract with them, because they, a foreign corporation, have zero business here without committing fraud or worse against us all. We started slippery sloping in real time in 1992 when GHW Bush signed executive order 12803 privatizing our infrastructure which of course includes public utilities, so please keep your eyes on this issue and remember, the idea is to DE-contract then decline contract with the fed wherever you can, because it’s pretty clear now they and their thousands of “municipalities” in this nation are the main cause of the horrendous state of it.

  6. Kudos to New York (wow – never thought I’d write that!) for doing the right thing. Let’s hope this bill becomes law.

  7. Are you also aware that as of Feb 2015 all Insurance Global Insurance companies quit insuring anything
    wireless for “injury to health” and all Companies, Hospitals, Cities, Municipalities and School Boards were notified of Exclusion 32?

    “‘The Electromagnetic Fields
    Exclusion (Exclusion 32) is a General Insurance Exclusion and is applied across the market as standard.

    The purpose of the exclusion is to
    exclude cover for illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionising
    radiation exposure.

    We will not;

    a) make any payment on your behalf for any claim, or

    b) incur any costs and expenses, or

    c)reimburse you for any loss, damage, legal expenses, fees or costs sustained
    by you,

    d) pay any medical expenses: directly or indirectly

    arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields,

    electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.”

    So who now holds the liability for these decisions such as smart meters and wifi in schools?

    1996 – Swiss Insurance – Electrosmog
    2013 -Swiss Insurance – Emerging Risks

  8. It’s June 28th, 2017. We ignorantly and naively ended up with a smart meter on our house and have since that time, been experiencing till-now unexplained headaches and fatigue, as well as recurrence of lyme symptoms, etc. The colds we unexpectedly got this year lasted nearly 2 months to get over.

    Only yesterday did I learn of the maladies and health complications which are associated with RF, via “smart meters”.

    What can we LEGALLY do to have the offending “smart meter” replaced with a more safe ( analog ? ) meter ?

    Respectfully yours,

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