Environmental Groups Opposing Utility “Smart” Meters Include Sierra Club’s San Francisco Chapter

By B.N. Frank

Even though some environmentalists originally insisted that utility “Smart” Meters were eco-friendly and beneficial to customers, in March 2011, The Sierra Club San Francisco Chapter requested a moratorium on their installation due to environmental concerns and more.

Two months prior, Consumers Digest published a detailed article about how “Smart” Meter supporters – including environmentalists – had been misled into endorsing these devices and everything that came along with them:

What’s discouraging about the all-but-mandatory dynamics of the smart-meter transition is that it’s appealing only if you’re willing to pay a lot of money to save a little electricity.


Smart-meter supporters also promise that the reduction in electricity use will save consumers money and will cut the amount of greenhouse gases that power plants spew. And they argue that smart meters are needed to fully build out the smart grid, which uses digital technology to create a more efficient power-distribution system.


The whole premise of smart-meter benefits relies on getting consumers to pay strict attention to how much electricity that they use and when they use it, smart-meter advocates say.


That’s great news for the companies that make the hardware and software for devices that will monitor and help you to control your electricity but lousy news for consumers who don’t buy the equipment.


If you don’t fork over the money to buy the equipment that allows you to monitor your energy consumption, use remote controls to turn your air conditioner on and off or buy appliances that have embedded smart chips that are designed to work with home-monitoring systems, your $200- or $300-per-month summer electricity bill could, as a consequence, easily become a $400 or $600 monthly drain on your wallet.


There also are emerging doubts about how long that the digital equipment—including the meters themselves—that is used in smart-meter systems will last. Some experts wonder whether the industry has planned obsolescence in mind, which would force consumers to pay for new hardware and software—and corresponding upgrades at the electric company to read the new devices—every few years.


But already there’s mounting evidence that smart-meter systems might not significantly curtail electricity use.


So far, smart-meter systems have produced little energy savings except in small and carefully controlled projects in which consumers have basically been spoon-fed on how to realize the maximum benefits. These projects have included time-of-use pricing and often include home-area networks that allow participants to monitor and control electricity use.


And make no mistake: Smart meters and all of their negative consequences are coming. When they arrive, consumers once again will realize that they have little power.

Consumers Digest wasn’t kidding about those negative consequences.  News reports confirmed them.  In some cases, consumer complaints led to legal action taken by citizens, organizations, elected officials, and government agencies.

A documentary about “Smart” Meters – Take Back Your Power – was released in 2013.  “Smart” Meters had been determined to be causing fires and explosions.  There were recalls in the hundreds of thousands.  They were causing health and environmental problems.  The film was updated in 2017 and is now free to view online.  Producer Josh del Sol released more damning video footage just last week.

Regardless, there are some environmentalists who are still insisting that “Smart” Meters are beneficial to customers – even while they are needing to be replaced just a few years after being installed.  Ridiculous, right?  Original analog meters lasted on average 40 years.  Is there anyone keeping track of how many obsolete “Smart” Meters and their related components are ending up in landfills?

“Smart” Meters are regulated by The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which is NOT a health or environmental protection agency.  Just because “Smart” Meters are legal doesn’t mean that they are safe or obviously eco-friendly.

Activist Post contributor, Patricia Burke, has written 2 great articles detailing why some environmentalists are still insisting that “Smart” Meters are necessary for Solar Power and Sustainability even though this has never been the case:

“Smart” Meter supporters, unethical scientists, and confusing opinions about these devices aren’t going away any time soon.  There’s too much money involved regardless of all the damage being done to people, pets and the environment.  Some utility companies are offering “opt-outs” but unfortunately many customers are still fighting for the right to safer, longer lasting and more environmentally friendly original analog meters.

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