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Yes, Smart Meters do enable utilities to remotely control your appliances

Despite what utilities tell us, the fact is that Smart Meters can and will enable utilities to “determine the amount of power being used by a particular appliance within the home of the customer.”

Furthermore, “the other purpose of the device is that it ‘can be remotely activated when demand is high to help manage electricity consumption by making small adjustments to the appliance(s) that you enroll in the program (including central air conditioner, electric water heater and/or in-ground pool pump) for short periods of time.’”

This is happening in Canada right now.  See the news article here >>

16 Responses to Yes, Smart Meters do enable utilities to remotely control your appliances

  1. George Karadimas February 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Experts: Smart grid poses privacy risks

    “Technologists already are worried about the security implications of linking nearly all elements of the U.S. power grid to the public Internet. Now, privacy experts are warning that the so-called “smart grid” efforts could usher in a new class of concerns, as utilities begin collecting more granular data about consumers’ daily power consumption.

    “The modernization of the grid will increase the level of personal information detail available as well as the instances of collection, use and disclosure of personal information,” warns a report (PDF) jointly released Tuesday by the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a think tank made up of chief privacy officers, advocates and academics.

    Smart grid technology — including new “smart meters” being attached to businesses and homes — is designed in part to provide consumers with real-time feedback on power consumption patterns and levels. But as these systems begin to come online, it remains unclear how utilities and partner companies will mine, share and use that new wealth of information, experts warn.

    “Instead of measuring energy use at the end of each billing period, smart meters will provide this information at much shorter intervals,” the report notes. “Even if electricity use is not recorded minute by minute, or at the appliance level, information may be gleaned from ongoing monitoring of electricity consumption such as the approximate number of occupants, when they are present, as well as when they are awake or asleep. For many, this will resonate as a ‘sanctity of the home’ issue, where such intimate details of daily life should not be accessible.”

    According to the study, examples of information that utilities and partner companies might be able to glean from more granular power consumption data include whether and how often exercise equipment is used; whether a house has an alarm system and how often it is activated; when occupants usually shower, and how often they wash their clothes.

    Other privacy risks could result from the combination of information from two separate users of the smart grid: For example, roaming smart grid devices, such as electric vehicles recharging at a friend’s or acquaintance’s house, could create or reveal additional personal information.”

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE, Including Energy usage(LOAD) appliance signatures http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/11/experts_smart_grid_poses_priva.html

  2. George Karadimas February 6, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    “Confidentiality isn’t the final word on consumer privacy”

    “For utilities, this has been a tough lesson: Confidentiality is a part of privacy, but it is not the end of privacy concerns. Privacy also encompasses the use, sharing and safeguarding of customer information, which includes information that can reveal consumer activities and lifestyles.

    Noting that, beyond the confidentiality vs. privacy lesson, utilities are different with different specific needs, Rebecca Herold, nevertheless, sees commonality for at least the first few steps in the privacy training process. Herold helms the privacy subcommittee within the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel’s cybersecurity group.”

    “The privacy subgroup will be considering these issues (among others) for future revisions of their privacy recommendations:

    * How consumer energy usage data within the smart grid is sent to smartphones and other mobile devices;


    * How smart grid data is sent to or incorporated within social media sites;

    * How smart grid data is being stored, managed or accessed from cloud services;


    * How emerging areas with smart meters and HAN will be addressed;


    * How big data will impact privacy;

    * How consumer energy use data is used for research and analysis;

    * How information from smart appliances may be used; and
* How malware may impact smart grid privacy.

    As sure as there continue to be mini-blind sales and discussions about Facebook privacy policies, it is certain that privacy concerns won’t disappear from either the consumer or industry consciousness. And, since privacy issues won’t be going away, utilizing the most efficient way to address them is just smart business sense.”

    http://www.energybiz.com/article/13/02/confidentiality-isn-t-final-word-consumer-privacy-0&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=EB_DAILY&utm_term=Original-Member

    And my Conclusion reading this article??

    The SMART GRID/Smart METER National Disgrace, has OPENED FAR AND WIDE the Proverbial PANDORA’S BOX …and the Vested Interest Industry Pundits are Scrambling to find PATCHES the size of FOOTBALL Fields to cover the ABOMINATION!

  3. Tom Kadesch February 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    George Karadimas – I should further note that a smart meter is installed upstream of a home’s breaker panel, the point it which the individual loads are separated within a house – the same way that analog meters have always been installed. Thus, the entire home’s energy consumption is routed through the meter. It is not possible for a smart meter to tell which individual devices are consuming power within a house. 60 Hz AC power does not operate with “electrical signatures”. While you state that Mr. Davie has a lot to learn about this matter – it would serve you well to do further research into the matter yourself, as it is clear that your understanding of the basics of electrical power is limited, at best.

    • Mary Steele February 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

      Mr. Kadesh, I am no expert, but clearly from the PUC’s own documents and admissions, they are able to tell exactly what appliances and devices are being used in your home or office. I’m not sure what role the smart meter itself plays in this data collection, but the data that is produced as a result of smart meters and the grid outputs these information in detail. Please see: http://marylandsmartmeterawareness.org/smart-meter-truths/6-smart-meter-myths-and-facts/ The chart referenced is pre-smart appliance. Once those chips are in all our appliances, there will be even more detailed ‘signatures’.

      • Mary Steele February 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

        I’m sorry – I should’ve mentioned specifically to look at Myth #5 on that page.

      • Tom Kadesch February 5, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

        Ms Steele, it is not possible for a smart meter to tell exactly what appliances and devices are being used in your home or office. This type of myth gets propagated when people do not understand how a home’s electrical service is wired. Although I don’t blame you, it’s clear that you do not understand how an electric service to a home is wired, and you also do not understand how AC power works. All residential electric meters are wired upstream of a home’s breaker panel, the point at which individual electrical circuits travel to the devices (lights, dishwasher, dryer, etc). In other words, the individual circuits do not go through the meter, and the meter can not tell what devices you have on at any given time. A 100W lightbulb has the same electrical load as a 100W motor, and the meter sees either of these as the exact same thing. People need to wake up and stop believing the hype surrounding smart meters, hype written by so-called “experts” who do not understand basic electrical theory. It’s true that smart meter radiation levels can potentially cause serious health problems, and for this reason we must force utilities to give homeowners the right to opt out of smart meter installations. However, smart meters can not tell exactly what devices you have turned on in your home at any given time – they simply can not, period.

      • George Karadimas February 6, 2013 at 3:44 am #

        Mary Steele–You are absolutely correct!
        The Smart Meters currently being installed, through the frequent sampling rate of the ratepayers usage of electricity collect information, that can be analyzed to extract information as to what appliances are being used down to your electric coffee pot.

        These meters are ZigBee chip RF communication enabled! SMECO electric in their Public documents Filed with the Maryland PSC SHAMELESSLY admit, that their L&G AXR-SD and SENSUS Icon A “Fire starters” are ZigBee enabled ….But the do not plan on using them to CONTROL ratepayers appliances! and that is BECAUSE there are no Electric appliances installed as of yet that are ZigBee enabled.

        People like Tom Kadesch, are ignorant of the facts and are just Shooting the Blather based on their IGNORANCE! and you know what? it is this PUBLIC IGNORANCE of what is happening that enables the utilities to ROLL out the smart meter/Grid Boondoggle without PUBLIC HUE and CRY!

        Such is the state of affairs in america these days!

        A culture Purposely Built on IGNORANCE!
        The question is ….How long can it last??

        • Tom Kadesch February 8, 2013 at 12:22 am #

          George Karadimas, it is interesting to watch you propagate untruths with your blind acceptance of an opinion and disregard of facts. Smart meters installed on homes as-is, without any of the smart appliance chips that will ultimately be working in conjunction with the smart meter, are NOT able to tell which exact devices you have turned on in your house. It is clear that you do not understand electrical theory. I am not ignorant of the facts one bit, I have extensively studied this subject and I understand how homes are wired and how smart meters wrok. You are the one who is ignorant of the facts. Not trying to be mean, but I’m simply stating what the actual situation is. You are not basing your claims on facts, but simply regurgitating what others have written in various reports. Do some research into electrical theory, because it’s clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I am not a fan of smart meters – any device which emits radiation that can travel ~30km is very likely hazardous to human health. However, the arguments for and against smart meters must be based on facts and you do not base your arguments on facts, which further propagates the sensationalist viewpoint on this matter. I have worked for two utilities in my life, I believe I know a thing or two about smart meters and just how hazardous they can be to human health.

          • George Karadimas February 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

            Tom Kadesch

            I have provided you information to understand how it is possible to discern from the metering data which appliances are activated without the need for them to be ZigBee chip enabled.

            It all has to do with the Sampling rate performed upon the metering data.
            Smart meters can be programmed to to sample every minute, if the utilities so desire.

            Congressional research service report tells you the rest.

            You need to sleep on it for awhile , google some relevant articles and it will come to you.

            Till then you can believe anything you want.

            BELIEF is a Matter of CHOICE not Science.

      • George Karadimas February 6, 2013 at 3:53 am #

        This statement is true
        “YES, SMART METERS DO ENABLE UTILITIES TO REMOTELY CONTROL YOUR APPLIANCES”
        Smart meters currently installed contain the technology!
        The next step is to steer the Public Herd in the direction of purchasing appliances that are ZigBee enabled so the Utilities can go to town.

        It is called “BASELOAD Management” In UTILITY LINGO!
        What does that mean you say?.. I will tell you.

        Sell the ratepayer /utility customer..ever decreasing quantities of power and service….at an EVER ELEVATED and INCREASING PRICE to Maximize Profits.

    • George Karadimas February 6, 2013 at 3:04 am #

      Tom Kadesch– You said …”– it would serve you well to do further research into the matter yourself, as it is clear that your understanding of the basics of electrical power is limited, at best.”

      Sir I have done my research, and in that regard I point you to the report published by the Congressional Research service under the title “Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity” and can be found here: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42338.pdf

      In this report STARTING ON PAGE 3 we read.
      “Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Security Concerns
      Residential smart meters present privacy and cybersecurity issues19 that are likely to evolve with
      the technology.20 In 2010, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a
      report identifying some of these issues, which fall into two main categories: (1) privacy concerns
      that smart meters will reveal the activities of people inside of a home by measuring their
      electricity usage frequently over time;21 and (2) fears that inadequate cybersecurity measures
      surrounding the digital transmission of smart meter data will expose it to misuse by authorized
      and unauthorized users of the data.22
      Detailed Information on Household Activities
      Smart meters offer a significantly more detailed illustration of a consumer’s energy usage than
      regular meters. Traditional meters display data on a consumer’s total electricity usage and are
      typically read manually once per month.23 In contrast, smart meters can provide near real-time
      usage data by measuring usage electronically at a much greater frequency, such as once every 15 minutes.24 Current smart meter technology allows utilities to measure usage as frequently as once
      every minute.25 By examining smart meter data, it is possible to identify which appliances a
      consumer is using and at what times of the day, because each type of appliance generates a unique
      electric load “signature.”26 NIST wrote in 2010 that “research shows that analyzing 15-minute
      interval aggregate household energy consumption data can by itself pinpoint the use of most
      major home appliances.”27 A report for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission discussed an
      Italian study that used “artificial neural networks” to identify individual “heavy-load appliance
      uses” with 90% accuracy using 15-minute interval data from a smart meter.28 Similarly, softwarebased
      algorithms would likely allow a person to extract the unique signatures of individual
      appliances from meter data that has been collected less frequently and is therefore less detailed.29
      By combining appliance usage patterns, an observer could discern the behavior of occupants in a
      home over a period of time.30 For example, the data could show whether a residence is occupied,
      how many people live in it, and whether it is “occupied by more people than usual.”31 According
      to the Department of Energy, smart meters may be able to reveal occupants’ “daily schedules
      (including times when they are at or away from home or asleep), whether their homes are
      equipped with alarm systems, whether they own expensive electronic equipment such as plasma
      TVs, and whether they use certain types of medical equipment.”32 Figure 1, which appears in
      NIST’s report on smart grid cybersecurity, shows how smart meter data could be used to decipher
      the activities of a home’s occupants by matching data on their electricity usage with known
      appliance load signatures.
      Smart meter data that reveals which appliances a consumer is using has potential value for third
      parties, including the government. In the past, law enforcement agents have examined monthly
      electricity usage data from traditional meters in investigations of people they suspected of
      illegally growing marijuana.33 For example, in United States v. Kyllo, a federal agent subpoenaed
      the suspect’s electricity usage records from the utility and “compared the records to a spreadsheet
      for estimating average electrical use and concluded that Kyllo’s electrical usage was abnormally
      high, indicating a possible indoor marijuana grow operation.”34 If law enforcement officers
      obtained near-real time data on a consumer’s electricity usage from the utility company, their
      ability to monitor household activities would be amplified significantly.35 For example, by
      observing when occupants use the most electricity, it may be possible to discern their daily
      schedules.36″……

      And after Reading the above which is written in CLEAR and PLAIN ENGLISH, for ALL of those that UNDERSTAND the Language, Please take the time to examine

      “Figure 1. Identification of Household Activities from Electricity Usage Data
      Unique Electric Load Signatures of Common Household Appliances”

      Found on PAGE 5 of the Subject report.

      And of course you are INVITED to post back here , what you UNDERSTOOD after reading the Report.

      What I do UNDERSTAND is that your EDUCATION on the subject matter has been limited and based on IGNORANCE and all those in that CLASS have an Opportunity to have the TRUTH REVEALED to them.

      • Tom Kadesch February 8, 2013 at 12:31 am #

        Another fact that you conveniently gloss over is that commercial facilities have used time of use metering for years, with meters that measure instantaneous demand (kW) as well as what traditional mechanical meters measure (kWh). These commercial meters operate on the same principle as the recently developed residentail smart meters, the difference being that they communicate via radio waves whereas most commercial meters used to-date communicate either via a dedicated phone line or with Itron style meter reading equipment. The ability to tell what exact devices are on in a house is not possible with these commercial meters – never has been – and the same is true with smart meters. I suggest that instead of regurgitating what is written in various reports, you sit down with an oscilloscope and look at the AC sine wave entering your house with a 100W lightbulb is turned on and when a 100W clothes iron is on. It’s the exact same signature, because both are resistive loads of the same wattage. You should do this – because as of now, you don’t have an argument. Again, not trying to be critical, but those who are rightfully passionate about this subject need to base their arguments on actual facts and scientific data instead of regurgitating what others have written without doing the actual research. I’m sorry, but it’s you who is ignorant of the facts.

  4. Tom Kadesch February 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    George Karadimas – you are clearly ignorant on the subject matter. The way AC power works, it is not possible for a smart meter to determine “electrical signatures” which would allow the power company to determine which exact electrical loads are on in a given household. It is clear that you do not have much of an understanding of the basics of electricity, and that instead you prefer to believe sensationalism written in documents such as the one you cite. The radio frequency emissions from smart meters are a very real concern, and for this reason customers must be allowed to opt out of a smart meter installation.

    • George Karadimas February 6, 2013 at 3:24 am #

      Tom Kadesch You said you said ” you are clearly ignorant on the subject matter. The way AC power works, it is not possible for a smart meter to determine “electrical signatures” which would allow the power company to determine which exact electrical loads are on in a given household. It is clear that you do not have much of an understanding of the basics of electricity, and that instead you prefer to believe sensationalism written in documents such as the one you cite. ”

      Have you Bothered to read the relevant CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE REPORT? Posted elsewhere in this Blog? and cited here again for your convenience! http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42338.pdf

      Do you have the ability to UNDERSTAND BASIC information that is posted on charts such as this one found on page 5, which is referenced to the NIST-National Institute of Science and Technology?
      “Figure 1. Identification of Household Activities from Electricity Usage Data
      Unique Electric Load Signatures of Common Household Appliances”
      “Source: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY (NIST), GUIDELINES FOR SMART GRID CYBER
      SECURITY: VOL. 2, PRIVACY AND THE SMART GRID 13 (2010), available at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistir/ir7628/
      nistir-7628_vol2.pdf.
      Note: Researchers constructed this picture from electricity usage data collected at one-minute intervals using a
      nonintrusive appliance load monitoring (NALM) device, which is similar to a smart meter in the way that it
      records usage data. For a comparison of the technologies, see COLORADO PRIVACY REPORT, supra note 6, at A-1
      to A-9.”

      ……Or are you trying to tell the readers of this blog , that The Congressional Research service and the NIST , are engaged in FICTION writing and YOU the OUT of NOWHERE Blabber has got it straight! That you know the facts! and that Scientists and Engineers in RESPECTABLE American Institutions are OFF the wall and they do not know what they are talking about?

      If that is the case. Then we have to DEAL with YOUR STUPIDITY, which is PAST the POINT of IGNORANCE and it is IMPOSSIBLE to REMEDY with EDUCATION!

  5. Michael C Davie January 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    This campaign is absolute rubbish! Allowing electric power customers to opt out will only increase electric service costs due to the expense of paying for human meter readers. No studies have shown adverse effects on humans from Smart Meter RF signals that can only monitor electric usage by the hour (or minute) in your whole home, not in specific appliances, and also let the power company know when your power service is interrupted by a distribution failure, even if you are not at home. The meters will also report customer power use during off-peak hours so we can be charged less for heating hot water or washing clothes and dishes and drying clothes at night.

    • George Karadimas January 10, 2013 at 7:59 am #

      Mr. Davie,

      You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and my opinion is that by keeping the Analog meters we insure that the Meter Reader jobs stay in America and put food on the table for those engaged in that service, instead of relegating them to the trash heap of unemployment and economic marginalization, by sending their jobs to china via the smart grid/meter boondoggle.

      You Say “No studies have shown adverse effects on humans from Smart Meter RF signals” and that is TRUE ….BECAUSE NO STUDIES HAVE BEEN MADE! and that is what the Smart Meter Awareness Folks have been asking for. Perhaps you need to review this article where in Vermont the Public officials finally are taking the responsibility to insure the safety of their citizens http://www.timesargus.com/article/20130102/NEWS03/701029913 To be sure it is a start and other states are bound to follow shortly.

      Regarding your statement ” only monitor electric usage by the hour (or minute) in your whole home, not in specific appliances” you have a lot to learn by studying the following report published by the Congressional Research Service, Start on Page Three (3) and your ignorance on the subject mater is guaranteed to be re-mediated. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42338.pdf

      You also state that “The meters will also report customer power use during off-peak hours so we can be charged less for heating hot water or washing clothes and dishes and drying clothes at night.”, Which is true, BUT THEN you Sir need to realize that you are no longer in control of your circumstances and that the Smart Meter fitted on your abode, has relegated you to the class of managed resources of the electric utility, and not a consumer/customer of a product that you use as you see best fit for your life’s circumstances.

      I invite you to continue this discussion, because it is obvious to me that you are a thinking person whose ignorance of the facts can be remedied with education.

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