Only those who have been to a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hearing in San Francisco can fully appreciate the “health hearing” described in this recent article in Greentech Media. Many new technologies face criticism, but resistance to PG&E’s ongoing deployment of smart grids is starting to get pretty silly.
Here are some examples from the article:
-One individual allegedly died from smart meters, according to one witness. Granted, the witness admitted that the individual had cancer, but argued that smart meters accelerated the disease.
–Another person quoted Shakespeare and said that smart meters violated the U.S. constitution.[sic]
–Another analogized smart meter rollouts to the Nuremberg trials.
–Another witness said she felt anxiety and palpitations when visiting cities with smart meters.
–Another witness said that another person entered a home with a smart meter and felt sick. Then she put foil around the meter and felt 50 percent better.
While I have some concerns about the accuracy and reliability of smart meters (e.g., my family’s energy consumption allegedly tripled from 300 kWh a month to 900 kWh after switching from a traditional to a smart meter), I believe smart meters will ultimately be a positive development for improving energy efficiency. I believe they will help both consumers and utilities better optimize individual energy consumption and help spur a transition from centralized to distributed power generation.
Distributed power generation refers to power generated from multiple sources, in many cases via solar panels on someone’s home or on a commercial building. Centralized power generation refers to more traditional generating assets like coal power plants, which generate power from one central source. It is then delivered to various substations via a network of transmission lines.
Distributed power generation is cleaner, less dependent on foreign energy suppliers, and less vulnerable to cyber or physical attacks on critical infrastructure. Instead of infecting one central target with malware, a hacker must attack thousands of targets in a distributed system.
The transition to distributed power generation will also help spur the deployment of electric vehicles, which will also ultimately double as storage devices for solar energy generated during daylight hours.
Let’s just hope science trumps stupidity and suspicion.