Group Exposes How American Consumers Get Stuck Paying for Utility Corruption; No Examples of “Smart” Meter Boondoggles

By B.N. Frank

American utility companies received BILLIONS in federal stimulus money to install “Smart” Meters – electric, gas, and water.  Utilities also usually increase customer rates for their installation and frequent replacement (see 1, 2, 3, 4).  “Smart” Meters have been a disaster from the start:  higher bills, explosions, fires (see 1, 2, 3), and much more.  A documentary about these awful devices was first released in 2013, Take Back Your Power.  An updated version was released in 2017 and is free to watch online.

“Smart” Meters are very profitable to utility companies because they are 2-way wireless transmitting.  This feature allows them to collect minute-by-minute customer usage data which they can analyze in order to market more products and services to customers as well as sell to 3rd parties (see 1, 2).  Utilities may also remotely turn off services and ration customer usage with these meters.

Plenty of examples of utility corruption have been provided by the Conservative Energy Network in this exposé.  Unfortunately, there are no references to corruption relating to “Smart” Meters and Grids which at least 57% of Americans now have.

From Utility Dive:

Exposing the utility playbook: Ratepayers are stuck paying the bill for utility corruption

In 2020, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested and subsequently resigned his speakership after an FBI investigation found that the influential lawmaker accepted $61 million dollars from electric utility FirstEnergy in exchange for passage of a nuclear bailout bill. The legislation sought to subsidize two of the company’s failing nuclear plants by charging Ohioans a monthly fee.

Another recent scandal in Illinois saw Michael Madigan, the longest serving state Speaker of the House in U.S. history, lose his position when the state’s largest utility, ComEd, confessed to giving jobs and contracts to Madigan associates for nearly a decade in an effort to sway legislation at the state capitol.

Sadly, stories like these are nothing new — and they aren’t surprising. We’ve long known that unregulated monopolies necessarily lead to higher costs, less efficiency and limited innovation. The very nature of our monopoly electric utility model leads to companies who are beholden to their shareholders — not their customers. To compound this issue, bad actors among monopoly companies expend unlimited time, money and resources on achieving regulatory capture. Regulatory capture occurs when the lawmakers and officials who are supposed to protect public interests and regulate these monopolies instead begin working to benefit those very same companies.

Ever since Edison fired up the first commercial power plant on Pearl Street in NYC in 1882, many have believed that building, operating and maintaining the electric grid and delivering power to families and businesses should be a vertically integrated industry under monopoly control. For over a century that sentiment was arguably true. After all, who needs dozens of companies running redundant power lines and infrastructure across the country from house to house in every town and city.

The historic cost associated with these investments and the local impacts warranted assigning this job to a single regulated actor. However, advances in technology today have led to a reimagining of the traditional utility industry and have made it possible for alternative models centered around competition and free markets to emerge — and most importantly, find success.

This threat of competition is understandably scary to many utilities who, for too long, have enjoyed their position as the only show in town. In many ways, they have never had to worry about innovation, efficiency, competition, customer service, etc. The thought of moving to a market structure where they must compete to earn and keep business has driven them to fight back and fight back hard.

Stories like those in Illinois and Ohio are just the most recent public examples of utility corruption. Sadly, there is a widespread and long-standing pattern of manipulation, influence and illegal activity among utilities.

Read full article

Because “Smart” Meters are 2-way wireless transmitting, they also create high levels of harmful electromagnetic radiation (see 1, 2, 3, 4).  This has led to numerous reports (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) and lawsuits (see 1, 2) because of health issues experienced after these meters were installed.  Many utilities now allow customers to “opt out” because of all the complaints.  In fact,

  • Duke Energy customers in North Carolina do NOT have to pay opt-out fees when they provide medical statements confirming that “Smart” Meters will make them sick.
  • A judge has allowed a discrimination case to proceed against a Maine utility that won’t waive fees for a customer with cancer.
  • A California utility has refunded opt-out fees to one of its disabled customers.

Research has determined “Smart” Meters DO NOT reduce energy use by a meaningful amount.  A growing number of Americans want traditional analog meters – not “Smart” Meters or digital meters with the RF turned off which are not as safe as traditional analog meters.  Sounds like utility corruption at customers’ expense, doesn’t it?

Activist Post reports regularly about “Smart” Meters and other unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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