NEW JERSEY BILL WOULD ALLOW CUSTOMERS TO OPT OUT OF SMART METER TECHNOLOGY, UNDERMINE FEDERAL PROGRAM | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

NEW JERSEY BILL WOULD ALLOW CUSTOMERS TO OPT OUT OF SMART METER TECHNOLOGY, UNDERMINE FEDERAL PROGRAM

SOURCE: TENTH AMENDMENT CENTER

TRENTON, N.J. (Dec. 3, 2019) – A bill filed in the New Jersey Assembly would allow utility customers in the sate to opt-out of installing “smart meter” technology on homes and businesses. Passage of this bill would enable New Jersey residents to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.

A bipartisan coalition of three assemblymembers introduced Assembly Bill 5884 (A5884) on Nov. 14. The legislation would create an option for New Jersey utility customers to opt-out of any utility company smart meter program with no penalty.

Smart meters monitor home energy usage in minute detail in real-time. The devices transmit data to the utility company where it gets stored in databases. Anybody with access to the data can download it for analysts. Without specific criteria limiting access to the data, these devices create significant privacy issues. Smart meters can also be used to remotely limit power usage during peak hours.

A5884 would require utility companies to provide written notice to customers at least 90 days before installing a smart meter. Customers would have an option to decline the installation of a smart meter within 30 after receiving written notice with no fee or penalty. Customers declining installation after 30 days but not later than 90 days after the notice could be charged a fee of no more than $100.

Privacy Concerns

The proliferation of smart meters creates significant privacy concerns. The data collected can tell anybody who holds it a great deal about what goes on inside a home. It can reveal when residents are at home, asleep or on vacation. It can also pinpoint “unusual” energy use, and could someday serve to help enforce “energy usage” regulations. The ACLU summarized the privacy issues surrounding smart meters in a report

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Fortunately, Mike and I live in a portion of Indiana, where the retrofit of housing into housing with "smart meters" would offer one heck of a headache to our power countries, in terms of them having to gouge customers for the uptick in costs.

Many of these utilities are, additionally, publicly owned, so there is going to be a great fuss, if one of the suits running one of these companies, is looking to force-march consumers to do this.

There are advantages to "living in the place where time forgot...but in a good way>!" :-)

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