By B.N. Frank
Utility “smart” meters – electric, gas, and water – have been associated with
- billing errors as well as higher bills (see 1, 2)
- cybersecurity risks
- fires and explosions (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- installation mishaps
- harmful radiation emissions
- mechanical issues and
- short lifespans
Nevertheless, utility companies keeping forcing these horrible devices on consumers (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) because it allows them to remotely control and/or ration energy use (see 1, 2) as well as collect consumer usage data 24/7 to sell and/or share with 3rd parties (see 1, 2). Often they pay contractors to install them in case something goes wrong which is what happened again recently in Denver.
From CBS Denver via MSN:
Customer fights with Xcel Energy over broken meter: “And he looked at me and he said, ‘well I broke this'”
Story by Alan Gionet
Sue Sanders has a problem she did not create. And the cost of it threatened to be well into the thousands. The bids were very high.
“They started at $8807. I had another bid for $5300. I had a verbal bid for $7500 dollars. And another bid for 6500 dollars,” she said.
All to fix what happened when an Xcel Energy contractor came to her home in Highlands Ranch to replace her meter with a so-called “smart meter” that can be read remotely.
When she checked to see how he was doing, he had bad news.
“And he looked at me and he said, ‘well I broke this, I’ve called my supervisor, he’s on his way,'” she expressed.
Later, an Xcel Energy supervisor arrived to tell her worse news.
“When he put this lock on it, he said, there’s a temporary fix on it, you have 15 days to get it fixed.” Sanders said.
Her house has a meter and power box together called an all-in-one box. To replace the meter box that Xcel has access to and the box containing her home’s circuitry was what made it so expensive.
Sanders called the power company to ask and says she got little out of them in terms of a solution, other than a call Thursday in which she was told to call the Public Utilities Commission to navigate her problem.
CBS News Colorado also contacted Xcel Energy, which said it was working with its contractor and Sanders on the problem.
She says no one called to tell her they had decided to cover the cost until Friday morning when the contractor, Tribus Olameter, called to say it would take responsibility and make the repair. But through the day no one came.
“Very unfair,” said Nathan Klockow, owner of the Copper Connection and master electrician, of the notion that Sue Sanders would be responsible.
He went to Sanders’ home for a look and found the damage.
“Typically an Xcel employee would disconnect the power before they did this. The subcontractor chose to do it hot,” he explained. “That caused a short which melted the metal. And so then that bolt is no longer usable and so needs to be replaced.”
Yes replacing the entire box would be in the thousands he thought, but that was only necessary if it had to be replaced quickly.
An effort to find parts, he thought would be better. But with a 20-year-old box, that would take time.
“Right here on Home Depot’s website $8.18,” he said.
Klockow showed CBS News Colorado report Alan Gionet the part that would fix the problem, but is currently out of stock.
Xcel Energy on Friday night told CBS News Colorado it was checking to see if it could confirm if that deadline for repair had been dropped.
The power company said it could not reach the contractor Friday afternoon. The contractor did not return a call from CBS News Colorado either. Xcel Energy has yet to respond about the deadline.
“This isn’t right. What they did it so wrong on every count,” Sanders said.
Klockow also weighed in saying, “giving her two weeks to get it done is ludicrous right now.”
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Utility companies and other “smart” meter proponents insist that “smart” meters are beneficial to consumers and essential for “energy efficiency”, even though research and testimony continues to prove otherwise (see 1, 2, 3, 4). Opposition to “smart” meters has been ongoing worldwide since they started being deployed over a decade ago. Equally upsetting, consumers who are allowed to “opt-out” of “smart” meters are often required to pay expensive fees as well as accept meters that aren’t as safe as traditional electromechanical meters.
Activist Post reports regularly about “smart” meters and other privacy invasive and unsafe technologies. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:
- Stop Smart Meters.org
- Smart Meter Harm
- Smart Grid Awareness
- Smart Meter Education Network
- Smart Meter News
- Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
- Children’s Health Defense
- Environmental Health Trust
- Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
- Physicians for Safe Technology
- EMF Safety Network
- Take Back Your Power
- The People’s Initiative
- Wireless Information Network
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