Power rationing, the spy in the shower and the neighborhood snitch

The reason we are suspicious of smart meters goes back a ways. At the start of the Obama Administration, we predicted that his obsession with leftist supply control and commitment to spurious green energy theories would lead to federally mandated power rationing for America’s homes. We predicted it would start with smart meters. These nifty devices help you monitor your water usage and can be a useful tool for household budgeting. The problem is that water usage data is also shared with the water company. It turns out we were right to worry about the government. As usual, we look to California to see how the erosion of civil liberties will unfold. Its governor has declared an emergency and requires the water information to be used to control water usage. Your needs are not considered, an arbitrary amount has been declared, it is not subjected the regular laws of supply or demand, and to crown the insults, the California government is to blame for the shortage in the first place. Want to learn more about drought, spying, snitching and the Californian drought? Read on. 


Some background
When Obama entered office, just 3% of the country had been fitted with smart meters. Now, it’s in the region of 40%. It’s estimated that 57 million of them have been installed in the US, and 250 million worldwide. In the US, it’s a huge lobbyist-controlled stimulus-fed business, with billions of dollars flowing from the Department of Energy into Big Energy players like GE, Cisco, and a battalion of local power companies.

So what’s bad about them? Haven’t electric meters enhanced communication capabilities? Advocates suggest that electric systems will become more reliable and efficient, allowing customers to be aware of their usage and adjust their usage accordingly. In reality, the government, through the agency of the power companies, can now spy on your energy use and name and shame you if it considers your use to be excessive.

The technology involves advanced meters that can use one-way communication (known as Automated Meter Reading, or AMR), which enables the utility to do remote meter reading, or two-way communication (Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI. These two-way meters are often referred to as “smart meters.”

Utilities have an incentive to install advanced meters for residential customers because automated meter reading lowers usage. Most power utilities don’t have enough power in their systems to deal with real demand so they have come up with a way to self-ration, which they like to refer to as “saving,”

AMI technology provides usage data to both the utility and the consumer. This capability, when combined with real-time prices, time-of-day, or other pricing options, gives consumers the information they need to alter their usage and lower their bills, should they be on such a tariff option. Customers who can manage their energy use can save money and conserve energy, all of which can potentially contribute to reduced need for additional power plants (and the significant capital costs associated with new generating capacity). While this sounds innocent on the surface, the threat of the government IMPOSING rationing is all too real a threat. If it decides you use too much power it won’t care if you have four small kids or bed-ridden parents and a lot of laundry – it’ll just set your limit. If you like your house at a constant 72 degrees and the government decides that’s too high, or low, they can stop you. Is this American? No, it is not!

The rollout of AMI has been somewhat controversial, with some groups, like us at Self-Reliance Central arguing that the net benefits of this technology to consumers remain unproven.

How many smart meters are installed in the U.S. and who has them?

In 2012 (most recent data available), 533 U.S. electric utilities had 43,165,185 advanced (“smart”) metering infrastructure (AMI) installations. About 89% were residential customer installations.

Advanced metering infrastructure includes meters that measure and record electricity usage at a minimum of hourly intervals and provide the data to both the utility and the utility customer at least once daily. They range from basic hourly interval meters to real-time meters with built-in two-way communication capable of recording and transmitting instantaneous data.

Number of AMI Installations by Sector Type

Residential            Commercial               Industrial       Transportation   Total

38,524,639            4,461,350                  179,159         35                       43,165,183

Fear becomes Fact in California

California’s water storage and transportation system designed by federal and state governments includes 1,200 miles of canals and nearly 50 reservoirs that provide water to about 22 million people and irrigate about four million acres of land throughout the state. In May 2007, a Federal District Court Judge ruled that increased amounts of water had to be re-allocated towards protecting the Delta smelt – a three-inch fish on the Endangered Species List.

Because of this ruling, in 2009 and 2010 more than 300 billion gallons (or 1 million acre-feet) of water were diverted away from farmers in the Central Valley and into the San Francisco Bay – eventually going out into the Pacific Ocean. This man-made drought cost thousands of farm workers their jobs, inflicted up to 40 percent unemployment in certain communities, and fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland. Unemployment remains at a regional average of 17%. With current precipitation at near-record lows, the same regulations will be imposed pushing unemployment even higher. The Pelosi-led Congress did nothing to reverse the plight of the San Joaquin Valley and even obstructed repeated Republican actions to reverse the situation.

Deadlock. Nothing happened. The drought worsened, Thenin April 2015, California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown instituted draconian restrictions on water use by California residents in response to a severe drought.

On ABC’s This Week, Brown laid down his diktat in no uncertain terms.

Brown said, “This executive order is done under emergency power. It has the force of law. Very unusual. It’s requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border. It affects lawns. It affects people’s — how long they stay in the shower. How businesses use water.”

Brown said to enforce his order, “Each water district that actually delivers waters — water to homes and businesses, they carry it out. We have a state water board that overseas the relationships with the districts. Hundreds of them. If they don’t comply, people can be fined $500 a day. Districts can go to court to get a cease and desist order. The enforcement mechanism is powerful. In a drought of this magnitude, you have to change that behavior and you have to change it substantially.”

In fact, Californians may face heavy fines for taking too long in the shower. In one town, the state has just turned off their water, despite the community having hundred-year old water rights. (see our story)

Now, in a chilling turn, sources in Sacramento report that the state is creating ways for neighbors to turn in neighbors for leaving the faucet running while brushing their teeth.

California is currently creating a program for neighbors to turn-in other neighbors who are deemed to be in violation of the State Water use emergency laws.

Visits to the toilet, tooth brushing, laundry and shower time will be monitored by the community apparatchik.  Be A Good Citizen Comrade – It Is Your Duty !