How Smart Meters Unfairly Penalize The Poor…


There’s a lot of controversy around the world these days about the implementation of smart meters, and a lot of arguments for and against them. I’ve thought about this issue a lot since I first heard of them- and, overall, I find myself against their implementation. I’ve recently met a group of people in Toronto who are organizing to allow people to opt-out of smart meters- I’m in the process of setting up a website for them now. You can find us at www.againstsmartmeters.ca.

There currently isn’t a lot of content- hence I am writing this article to get it going. If others would like to join us, please let me know. And, if you would like to contribute content for the site (articles, videos, graphics, etc) we’d appreciate your contribution.

One of the main reasons I’m against the implementation of¬†mandatory smart meters is because they unfairly penalize people with lower incomes. Some of the impact is obvious, such as cost, and some is less discussed:

1.) Immediate Cost Increases Affect Everyone

Despite how the power companies are spinning the story, it appears that most people who I’ve surveyed have been subject to immediate raises in their power bills. I’ve spoken to ten people, 6 in British Columbia and 4 in Ontario- out of this group, nine of them have had their first smart meter bills go up by between 20-35%. This issue effects everyone, whether rich or poor.

2.) Electromagnetic Radiation 

Smart meters have built-in radios that transmit usage information to the power company. As with immediate cost increases, this is an issue that effects everyone- but, there are ways in which has a higher impact on lower income people. First, lower income people live in smaller dwellings- so, they are likely to be spending more time next to the meters. Next, for people who live in multi-tenant dwellings, they are likely to be living next to banks of multiple smart meters, all transmitting electromagnetic radiation into their homes. And, for people who live in older, wooden, buildings- they will be less shielded from these banks of meters.

3.) Time-Based Hydro Rates

People who are unemployed, and retired people on fixed-incomes are likely to be at home in the daytime. Smart Meters charge a higher rate for daytime energy- so, those who are at home in the daytime will pay a higher cost to run their electricity. This is particularly true for people who have electric based heat- they will be the most hard hit.

4.) Appliance Efficiency

Lower income people often have older appliances in their homes. These appliances tend to be less energy efficient, and they lack features like delay buttons and timers that enable them to run the appliances during hours with lower rates. While there are grants to help with the cost of new appliances, people with lower and fixed incomes are less able to afford the upfront costs of upgrading.

I’m curious to hear other people’s opinions on this article- particularly if you can identify other areas where smart meters have an unequal impact on people with low and fixed incomes. And, if you are interested in joining the fight against Smart Meters in Toronto, stay-tuned to our website for an announcement on when we will be scheduling our meetings.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2012/08/07/how-smart-meters-unfairly-penalize-the-poor/

8 comments

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  1. Plus when they cause fires you are s.o.l.

  2. Check out http://www.localssupportinglocals.ca

    1. Thank you!

    • ssilrf on August 7, 2012 at 22:58
    • Reply

    BC Websites to Refer to:

    – Citizens for Safe Technology: – http://www.citizensforsafetechnology.org/
    – Coalition to Stop Smart Meters: – http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.ca/html/
    – EMR Health Alliance of BC: – http://emrabc.ca/
    – Gulf Islanders for Safe Technology: – http://www.gifst.ca/
    – Stop Smart Meters BC (Salt Spring): – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Smart-Meters-BC-Salt-Spring/207803029263762?sk=wall (daily updates)
    – Stop Smart Meters.ca (BC Citizens’ Initiative Petition): – http://stopsmartmeters.ca/
    – Stop Smart Meters in BC: – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Smart-Meters-in-BC/104594719619502

    – Take Back Your Power [feature film]: – http://thepowerfilm.org/

    We have been fighting wireless smart meters (BC Hydro) and now FortisBC, for over a year. Daily updates are made to all the above websites.

    You should make contact with Sharon Noble, Director, Coalition Against Smart Meters. We can help you so you don’t have to do what we’ve already done.

    Alberta’s fight is just starting. So is New Brunswick’s.

    Contact me for informative e-mails.

    • The Hammer on August 8, 2012 at 14:44
    • Reply

    Your first point reminds me of an article I read about WestJet recently. The idea that the peak time price will just increase, instead of there being a discount for off-peak hours.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/westjet-breaks-from-its-no-frills-roots-with-new-business-class/article4453789/

    WestJet is extending the leg room in the first few rows and charging more for them. They are making this extra room by reducing leg room in all other rows. But, the price for the other rows will not go down :)

    • LW on September 2, 2012 at 21:10
    • Reply

    Another point of fall out with smart meters is the loss of jobs for human meter readers. An increase in revenue yet a serious decrease in expenses (after the cost of the meters is recouped)….

    1. You’ve just got to wonder if this whole thing is a ponzi scheme or something. Because, unless there’s a plan that’s not being disclosed, the cost/benefit doesn’t seem apparent. Though I’m sure it works out very well for the technology consultants.

  3. These ingsoc meters feature the ability to remote control things in your home. They are made out of cheap, flammable plastic. The old ones were made out of metal and glass, but who cares if one of the slaves dies in a fire they just have to get these out fast and at our expense. These asshats could have used the old chassis and just retro-fitted them, but the metal box would have meant that they would have to use power line transmission instead, where they could have set the transmitter up just before the scrambling transformer. This is a remote bully box, if you tell the state no in the future they will just flip a switch and shut your power off and demand that you eirther comply or live in a powerless box and eventually wind up homeless. By that I mean most places require you to have power hooked up in the lease.

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