What is a ‘Smart Meter’

heading "What a Smart Meter Does"

  • Measures how much electricity, gas or water you use in such detail that the utility is able to see your usage broken down, in some cases, to the exact time of day.
  • May use radio waves to transmit this information to the utility on an hourly or more frequent basis.
  • May allow the utility to send radio signals to the meter to remotely turn off your service.

In the next two sections ask yourself if the benefits claimed
in the section directly below are worth the costs to you
described in the last section?

heading states "Why your utility wants you to have one"

  • To make you more aware of how and when you are using electricity with the hope this will cause you to voluntarily conserve.
  • To localize and repair outages more rapidly
  • To save the cost of meter readers
  • To turn off your power remotely if you are late paying your bill.
  • To (possibly) reward you for shifting some of your consumption to off-peak hours – or (very likely) penalize you if you don’t change your consumption habits.
  • To be able, by remote control, to turn off certain appliances in your home during periods of peak load – such as your washer, dryer, dish washer, electric range and furnace.  Programs of this sort are supposed to be ‘voluntary’ in the future – where you will be given some relief from the jacked up rates if you agree to participate.

Note that the benefits claimed above are mostly benefits to the utility which may or may not pass savings on to you.  Note also that nothing prevents us from conserving energy now.  Common sense tells us to turn off appliances and lights when they are not needed.  Do we need a computer display or wall monitor to show us that we left the tv on in a room where nobody is watching or which lights are currently not being used?  Keep in mind also that the federal government, through the ‘stimulus’ passed in 2009, has made it very profitable for the utilities to blanket the nation with these meters.

  • You do not want the utility company, marketing companies, hackers and possibly would-be burglars to know everything that goes on inside your home. You have a right to keep private when you are at home, when you are sleeping, when you prepare meals, how many showers you take in a day, when you watch television, when you are on your computer.
  • You do not want to expose yourself, your children or susceptible older persons in your home to 24/7 constant electromagnetic radiation when the possible health effects of such exposure are still being hotly debated among experts in the health sciences.  Yes, most of us use microwave ovens and cell phones, but these exposures are for brief periods and they are voluntary.
  • You do not want your door kicked down in the middle of the night because some law enforcement agency saw higher than normal electric use and concluded (wrongly) that you were growing marijuana in your attic.
  • You do not want to give up your right to decide what appliances you will run and when you will run them.
  • You do not want to see your monthly electric bill skyrocket – as has so often been the case wherever these meters have been installed.

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30 thoughts on “What is a ‘Smart Meter’

  1. bloosheep–It is one source that is forced on us and we cannot turn it off like the other sources you listed, so we are involuntarily exposed for long periods of time–maybe 24/7 for the homebound, with no recourse. These are our homes. We should have a say in this!

  2. Ever since having this meter installed i got ppl wanting to lower my bills by selling me insulation. A new furnace a more energy efficient set of appliances. Now how the fuck do they kno i have a old furnace or not. Bcuz dte is selling my information. Stand up ppl. Dont let these energy nazis sell our private information.


  4. I started feeling light headed every time I was in the kitchen and I couldn’t understand why this went on for months and months I thought it was something that would just go away. then one day about 2 years ago I was walking and it felt like my body was floating and I told my husband to call 911 because I was dying. I literally felt like I was leaving this planet but my vitals checked out ok and EMS took me to hospital for check up anyway and after numerous tests they couldn’t find anything. A few months later I noticed a small knot on the top of my head and it was growing. Went to doc, he removed it and scheduled me for a biopsy a week later to go about 1/4″ inside the top of my head to take a plug.
    When I returned for the biopsy it had grew back and doc removed it and later no cancer was found. I still have the light-headedness every time I go in the kitchen upstairs. My meter is located near my bedroom downstairs and now it’s to the point where I can’t sleep in my bedroom without having inner ear pounding, nose runs, headaches, nausea and this has been going on for some years and my doctors can’t find anything wrong. I told my husband I believe it’s the smart meter. Tossing and turning every night, seems like now I have a constant drain in my throat. I woke up this morning and I know it’s coming from this smart meter but my husband doesn’t agree. I will try to make him understand that this smart meter needs to go.

  5. Best of luck with your meeting.I hope it went well.and thank you for putting up a fight.
    with that said
    I had two installed iny home without owner consent. How can I find someone to assist me to remove them? Please advise.

    • RC, Your first step is to order the replacement analog meter(s). DTE will not remove them – even if you have a doctor’s letter. Nonetheless we recommend you send a certified letter to DTE demanding removal of the smart meters and given them a reasonable time limit, say 14 days, after which you inform them you will remove them yourself. Fair notice to the utility will put you in a much stronger position if you do wind up in court. The downside of advance notice is that this will likely result in your receiving a threatening letter from DTE (that you should ignore). Next you will want to make arrangements for a meter guard so that your purchased analog meters cannot be removed by utility employees without your knowledge or consent. For that we recommend you call John Tatar and order ‘Tatar guards’ for your replacement meters. There are photos and diagrams of these guards elsewhere on this site. John may be able to do the meter replacement for you as well, or refer you to someone for that. We also recommend you check out this website for much more valuable information: http://smartmetereducationnetwork.com/replacing-your-smart-meter.php#2 You will find 4 different companies there that sell the analog meters. If you want to do the meter replacement yourself then please watch the video on Jerry Day’s freedomtaker.com It is not rocket science but it should only be attempted by someone who has had some experience working with electrical and mechanical things.

  6. Ask your local doctors if they’ve seen an increase in Fibromylagia and other sensitivity disorders. In one small office I had worked in 2 out of 3 employees had been diagnosed with Fibro. In another office 3 out of 10 have Fibromyalgia. I would like to see the overall stats on this disease around the country. I know mine began around 1990 which would be around the time the cellphone/tower proliferation began.

  7. My name is Crystal Anderson from Dallas Tx. I have recently acquired an analog meter & legal documents needed to replace my smart meter back to an analog system. I purchased these items from a gentleman who is the president of the Freedomtaker.com website in Califorinia. POWERFUL vidio on his front page. I was wondering If you may be able to connect me to someone who has successfully replaced their smart meter back to the analog meter themselves. I would like to get tips & other input on how to be successful in doing this as well.

    Thank you for your time!
    Crystal Anderson

    • Linda, Good luck finding a licensed electrician who will do this. It is not rocket science and someone with the necessary knowledge could do it in a few minutes, but licensed electricians have to be concerned about not jeopardizing their license by performing an action that the powers that be in Lansing don’t want performed! The regulatory people in Lansing are all cheerleaders for the smart grid. My guess is the only way a licensed electrician will do this for you is if you have an established relationship with him based on other work he has done for you.


  8. DTE is coming out tomorrow to disable the tracking 08/06/13 I asked for an Analog meter and was told I could not have one is that true?? I do not want this meter or any AMI meter on my house. I had sudden Tinnitus in both ears about 02/13/13 and still have it. The smart meter was installed I think somewhere late summer or so 2012. Can I insist for an Analog Meter and get one?? My electric bills are about 25% to 30% higher since they put this Alien on the side of my home. Is there still dirty electricity and radio waves and radiation after the tracking is disabled?

    • Mary, They don’t disable the “tracking”. They disable the radio transmitter. Or at least they say they do. The tracking, if you want to call it that is invading your privacy by recording in detail how you use electricity in the home – what appliances you run and at what times of day. All that will still happen with the “non-transmitting meter” they are installing for opt-out customers. And the opt-out meter does nothing to eliminate the dirty electricity problem which is causing as much illness as the radio transmitters. The utility will hardly ever let anyone get back an analog meter once a smart meter is installed. I do know of a few cases where they did that, but apparently only for a few privileged people who knew people high up in DTE. For most people the only way to get an analog meter back is to buy one yourself and install it yourself.

  9. Yet most average people don’t even know about smartmeters. Ignorance breeds contempt. They think we ems people r insane:( but we know!

  10. bloosheep,
    I experience symptoms from emissions of various RF devices, and my biological impairment is getting worse as ambient levels rise. I do not expect this to happen. I do not fear it. It is real. An estimated 3-5% of the population experiences Radiofrequency and Microwave Sickness, also known as Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) as recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    As for disease increases, what planet are you on? Alzheimer’s like degenerative brain disease is affecting more people under age 55 in growing numbers. Autism rates are skyrocketing. RF is a potential carcinogen, class 2b, according to the World Health Organization. Chronic environmental illnesses are growing, such as unexplained fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc. There are more articles all the time on the rise of degenerative and developmental and environmental diseases and conditions if a person looks.

    Searching the terms smart meter health effects will bring up citizens reports that this up-close-and-personal involuntary source IS affecting people nation and worldwide. Researchers and groups on both sides of this issue ALL AGREE THAT more research is needed. Until that happens we are all part of a huge experiment. This it 100% unethical.


  11. I’m not really concerned about it. As everyone can see the world is changing. Look how flat the phones are getting and the tv’s. Plus all these new cars the making that are electric. I’m more worried about food and water supply in the future then a meter. In about 5 years from now. People will find something else to complain about

  12. bloosheep or is that sheep to the slaughter? The point is that this is being FORCED on people. You have no rights on this unless you pay pay pay! Forced to have this on private property without your permission! They just come and install it without telling you it is a smart meter. It certainly is a big invasion of privacy. They know what time you get up, when your home, when you go to the bathroom, when your not home, when you go to bed. This is an outrageous criminal invasion of privacy. Just like the Nazis who got away with it! It starts little by little what can they get away with. Just keep taking our rights and we will be in Nazi Germany 1935!

    • Linda, you may already have experienced symptoms such as headaches, hear palpitations and inability to sleep. Not everyone gets these symptoms. But in the long run (15-20) years you will have increased risk of neurological diseases such as Parkinsons, and increased risk of cancer. You will find links elsewhere on this site to peer reviewed research on the long run consequences of too much cumulative exposure to low level non-ionizing radiation, such as comes from cell phones, microwave ovens and smart meters.

  13. “You know, I’m not a smart meter expert, but my pobrlem (sic) is I don’t think these people are either.”

    Samir, brilliant!

    Health risks, taking away your control, taking away your privacy, and you want to go on “feelings”. You want to put the burden of proof on potential victims. Have a hand in the AMI pie, do we?
    Trust your utility company, they only want the best for you!
    Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, self-serving government programs which we are told are for our benefit, but we’re ‘just too dim to see it.’

  14. Samir,
    It is illogical to say the worldwide health symptoms from people exposed to smart meters, often beginning immediately after smart meters installed, even with no knowledge of installation date, without communication with each other or prior research – would constitute “mass hysteria.”

    The forced installation of smart meters on people’s homes trashes people’s property rights, and their right to protect the health of their family AS THEY SEE FIT. This INVOLUNTARY assault could be compared to a tyrannical government pushing its collectivist utopian system on people even if it hurts them. The Nazi cruelty is not as far off as you might believe. People MUST have the right to protect themselves and the well-being of their families here in AMERICA. Are you American? This is a constitutional right. One cannot pursue happiness if a dangerous, damagin device is being FORCED onto one’s home.

    To help you start your research, try these studies/sites.


    Carpenter, D.O., Sage, C. Public Health Implications of Wireless Technologies. Pathophysiology (2009). doi:10.1016/jpathophys.2009.01.01 1

    portions of the BioInitiative Report were included in the same issue of Pathophysiology.

    Magda Havas: http://www.magdahavas.org/list-of-publications/ (too many to list here)

    There are many other scientists with warnings, Professor Ollie Johansson is only one of these. See http://www.smartmeterdangers.org – Position Statements

    Johansson O. Electrohypersensitivity: state-of-the-art of a functional impairment. Electromagn. Biol. Med. 2006;25:245–258

    Smart meters are like large cellphones affixed to one’s home, involuntarily, and working continuously. View the multimedia presentations on http://www.smartmeterdangers.org.

    To truly represent the public, one must listen to them and to the world’s scientists – not the industry mantra.

    The Bioinitiative Report is peer reviewed in Pathophysiology, which includes Sage and Carpenter’s “Public Health Implications of Wireless Technologies” and Olle Johannson’s meta-analysis on electrical sensitivity.

    Here’s more RF study abstracts: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=609
    and MANY more studies http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/science/studies.asp

  15. Samir needs to do some research. The bottom line here, Samir, is the Constitutional right to protect one’s family’s health and reject INVOLUNTARY exposure to dubious technology that emits radiation which thousands of studies say is harmful and has effects FAR BELOW the FCC standards. THe American Academy of Environmental Medicine has called for an immediate moratorium on the use of smart meters due to their assessment of the scientific literature, and based on concern for public health. They say FCC rf exposure standards are OBSOLETE because they totally ignore numerous studies showing harm at levels much lower than allowed.
    THE FACT that this is controversial should NOT negate people’s right to REJECT having these devices to proactively protect their families. And yes, to force utility customers to have devices never tested for safety, which have doctors saying are risky, to FORCE consumers is very much like Nazi Germany. Property rights are also involved, mr. samir.

    • The American Academy of Environmental Medicine is an organization which maintains that mercury in vaccines is injurious, and that water fluroidation is also harmful. They are controversial, to say the least, and downright quack-ridden in some people’s eyes.

  16. Your story is one we hear quite frequently. We think DTE is behaving in an arrogant manner. It is my understanding, however, that DTE will replace a radio transmitting ‘smart meter’ with a non transmitting digital meter if you provide documentation of your medical condition. The point is (1) you shouldn’t have to give them confidential medical information, and (2) the ‘digital meter’ they are willing to give you may still be a different kind of smart meter – where they upload the data in a different way. All their new digital meters can accept plug-in ‘upgrade modules’.

    • I am not kidding that they are Nazis. I told them about my condition. They made it very clear that this is being forced on us. My smart/dumb meter is on my bedroom wall and I feel very violated in what use to be my private home. I no longer sleep well. We are being used as an experiment.
      Here is their email
      Thank you for your email regarding our AMI smart currents meter.

      As you have been previously advised over the phone their is no opt out program. The AMI meter is currently being installed at all DTE Energy locations that are using DTE Energy services, we will not be removing the meter. Attached to this email is the AMI smart meter information you requested. Also listed below is link to our website with further information regarding the meter.

      There was nothing attached to the email just two links to their web sites telling me how wonderful their meters are.
      Here was my reply
      This is not what I asked for. I asked for independent studies that prove this is 100% safe. What will you tell customers if in the future they all become ill from radio frequency radiation? Your a monopoly that is unAmerican. Shame on you! You treat your customers very very badly.Your a big bully that needs to be stopped.

      • We received an earlier message from Betsy which we are reprinting here, in part, with her permission:

        “I have discovered that I have a smart meter. It is causing me a lot of distress. I suffer from menieres and stress is one of the worst things and increases my suffering with more symptoms. I called DTE energy and explained all this and asked that my meter be removed and changed back to an analog meter. Like the Nazi Gestapo they had no compassion and said no one can opt out. Yes the corporations have taken over. The Oakland Press has reported that city resolutions to have any say on this mean nothing. No rights have we the people any more. This is being forced on us. Welcome to Nazi Germany happening in America in 2012. Yes, very distressed and suffering thanks to DTE energy.”

      • You know, I’m not a smart meter expert, but my pobrlem is I don’t think these people are either. Using exagerated inflammatory rhetoric just undermines their cause. customers have noticed huge increases Really? How much? Maybe they have been undercharged for a long time due to manual meter reading? your utility has access to a treasure trove of information about you Hmm. How exactly? Sounds like maybe they can read the spikes in power use, I am guessing? So they are inferring your habits? And you justify the Nazi graphic based on that? do not result in energy savings, Well, they save gas, since meter readers don’t physically drive to your house every month. emerging evidence that wireless, non-ionizing radiation (from cell phones, wifi, and ‘smart’ meters) There are a few more cell phones than smart meters. Giving up cell phones, too? transitioned their meter readers from full time to temporary Well, the times they are a-changin’. There are a lot of old jobs that no longer exist. Thousands of people have complained of tinnitus, headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, heart arrhythmia, and other symptoms after a ‘smart’ meter was installed Documentation please? Also, can you say, mass hysteria’? A number of electrical fires have been caused by ‘smart’ meters. What number? Any proof at all? conversion to ‘smart’ meters is one of the largest technology rollouts in history, and yet virtually no public consultation with ratepayers or local governments Oh jeez.

      • Betsy, we are all exposed to radio frequency waves all the time — from cell phones, microwave ovens, wifi for Internet access. The smart meter is only one more source. I believe with the wide variety of radio frequency energy, we have not seen an increase in disease. It has proven itself in the public field.

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