There is information about AMI Smart Meters probably very few people know anything about, but will affect them enormously, especially when consumers don’t know to expect what’s happening.
It’s demand-side management (DSM), which allows electric utilities to turn off various appliances in order to conserve energy—one of the main, if not the key reason—for AMI Smart Meters, in my opinion, in addition to surveillance.
Instead of improving electric utilities infrastructure; building new energy production facilities; or providing renewal energy sources, I offer, utilities can cut, reduce electric service, or provide “brown outs” to 25 percent—maybe more—customers on a rotating basis so only 75 percent of customers will be using peak energy levels at any given time during peak load demands. Electric utility customers should think consecutive “rolling brown outs.” One specific creature-comfort impacted is air conditioning during hot, humid summer weather.
DSM has been around since the 1980s, maybe even earlier in the 1970s. At one time customers could “buy into DSM” in order to save on energy costs, but from what I gather, current AMI SMs will make DSM an automatic “built-in” feature customers will have no say about how it’s implemented by the utility. It’s there to be used at the sole discretion and control of the utility. So, don’t be surprised if your air conditioner goes quiet for 15 minutes, or longer, during peak demand periods. Nothing may be wrong with your air conditioning unit; it may be your electric company sending a microwave signal to your AMI Smart Meter to shut off the air conditioner, specifically newer models or a “smart, energy-saver” air conditioner with a built-in ZigBee transmitter, which operates on microwaves in the gigahertz range.
The same DSM principle for “brown outs” can be applied to other appliances: refrigerators, washers, dryers, water heaters, or other “high demand” appliances in your home. That’s what utilities’ algorithms are all about: monitoring your electric consumption by recording and tracking each appliance’s electrical ‘signature’. Onzo explains how that’s done and what utilities do with it.
Demand-side management apparently is a well-recognized scheme for reducing required infrastructure capacity. However, the AMI Smart Meter probably is the most unreliable—and most vulnerable—link in The Grid system in the USA, since its network is extremely porous and can be hacked into by any two-bit hacker with some degree of hacking sophistication.
How about a hacker changing your meter’s network settings?
That’s something to consider, I think, if your bills seem consecutively out of normal. I’d go so far as to suggest that to the utility company, since utilities know how porous their AMI SM systems are.
That being said, individual consumers can become “sitting ducks” vulnerable to all sorts of hack attacks: identity theft, burglary surveillance, occupancy time and use tracking, and ‘stalking’ a home in order to commit nefarious criminal activity. Have you ever thought about that? Your smart meter data are transmitted via microwave technology. However, it could be made much safer by utilities using wired connections, not cell towers which will tie into the Internet of Things (IoT) global network.
Privacy in your home has been compromised, even eliminated, by AMI Smart Meters!
Is that the price we pay for buying into all those dumb ‘smart’ gadgets we’ve become addicted to? I offer. The lid on Pandora’s Box has been ripped open, probably never to be closed again to keep personal privacy issues private in the USA. What a tragedy for a country now run as a Corporatocracy!