Risk of an Emergency Caused by Sudden Power Loss

Smart meters pose risks we have not seen before in terms of sudden loss of power leading to an emergency situation.  Many homes contain devices which are critical to maintenance of life itself.  These may include ventilators, home dialysis equipment, and other critical medical devices requiring a constant supply of electrical power.  Add to this the fact that seniors and other vulnerable people have been known to die from heat exhaustion when air conditioning fails in very hot weather or when heat fails in severely cold weather.

Now consider that, once  smart meter is installed, power to a home can be interrupted by mistake, or without the due diligence that utility employees would have exercised in the past before cutting off power.

Here are some of the ways you can experience sudden loss of power leading to an emergency:

(1) Utility Turns Off Your Power for Late Payment –  If such a turnoff was planned in the past, an employee would be dispatched to your home and human judgment would be involved.  Now there is a disconnect switch in your meter that is designed to disconnect all power upon receiving a certain type of radio signal.   A computer program downtown can now turn  turn off your power.  Nobody would be responsible if an error happened or adequate precautions were not taken.

(2) A Hacker Turns Off Your Power for Laughs – The same radio responding disconnect switch the utility would use can now be triggered by hackers.

 (3) Police Turn Off Your Power – One of the touted benefits of these new meter disconnect switches is that police responding to a 911 call can have the utility remotely turn off your power.  Are police going to know if there is someone in the house whose life could be endangered by a sudden loss of power? What if police were responding to a bogus 911 call, or there was a mixup about what house they were going to?  Are you comfortable that police are going to make the right decision?

 

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