A new policy report issued Monday claims that billions of dollars in federal subsidies for “smart” utility meters have been misspent on meter technology that will not lead to energy sustainability or contribute to the possibility of a more efficient and responsive electricity grid.
The report titled “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid” was published by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) in Washington, D.C. The report focuses on the electrical grid and economy of energy. Authored by engineering and policy consultant, Dr. Timothy Schoechle of Boulder, Co., an expert in smart grid technologies who serves on several international smart grid standard setting committees, the new report states:
- Congress, state and local governments, as well as ratepayers, have been misled about the potential energy and cost saving benefits of the new “smart” meters, paid for in large part with taxpayer dollars, as well as ratepayer dollars.
- The present policy approach to electricity infrastructure in the United States depicted in the report, Policy Framework for the 21st Century: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future, issued by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) of the Executive Office of the President, evidences a fundamental lack of understanding of the problems associated with the future of electricity and energy.
- The growing grass roots rebellion against smart meters now happening in 18 states, such as California, Vermont, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois, Oregon and the District of Columbia, is only the “tip of the iceberg”—one that conceals a deeply dysfunctional energy economy needing urgent federal, state and local attention.
- Ratepayers’ desire to “opt-out” of the new wireless meters on privacy, security, reliability, cost and potential public health grounds may herald an “epochal transformation of the political economy of energy.”
- Much of the multi-billion dollar federal subsidy for smart meters in the name of stimulus funding does not benefit ratepayers, nor support economic growth, but primarily benefits meter and meter networking manufacturers, while financially propping up unsustainable Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs).
- There are inherent conflicts in the monopoly utility business model preventing the nation from moving to a renewable energy economy, and utilities may eventually require a government bailout.