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Smart meters coming to Reno

By February 22, 2012

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In December, 2011, NV Energy began replacing electric and gas meters with digital versions called smart meters. According to spin doctoring by our northern Nevada provider of electricity and natural gas, "our smart meter/smart grid program will change the way you think about energy. It will give you the tools and technology to make informed choices about your energy use - choices that could save you money and help the environment. NVEnergize puts the power in your hands."

Old-style electric meters are going away in Reno, Nevada, NV
Old-style electric meters are going away in Reno.
Photo © Stan White

Smart meters are digital - no more little whirring wheels check and see how fast they are spinning. Instead, customers will be able to monitor electricity use on a daily basis if they want to. You'll see a running total of your energy bill and be able to track energy use at specific times. NV Energy says all this and more will be available to individual customers through their online accounts, enabling customers to save money.

Of course, this isn't free. NV Energy says it will cost $300 million to do the whole state. Half the money is coming from a U.S. Department of Energy grant and the rest is to be paid for with future cost savings.

Smart meters send usage information to NV Energy every 15 minutes via radio frequency (RF) transmission (wireless). Some folks with a conspiracy theory / privacy invasion mentality suspect NV Energy of using the new meters to do all sorts of things, including collecting personal information and spying on intimate details of how and when we use our appliances. There are also concerns about RF radiation. Personally, I don't have a problem with smart meters. The air is already full of RF waves (cellphones, microwave ovens, wireless networks, etc.) and having the ability to monitor my energy consumption could actually save a few bucks.

If you have questions and/or concerns, go to NV Energize and click on the FAQ link at the top. You can also try the information phone at (888) 559-9744.

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February 23, 2012 at 2:48 am
(1) RobertWilliams says:


Utility companies and hackers can access and interpret your precise activities in your home, but the utility customer living in the home CANNOT get that information.

The information available to the customer living in the home shows up on the utility company website 18-24 hours later WITH ALL ELECTRICAL DEVICES GROUPED TOGETHER, so no individual electrical device can be isolated for the customer.

Customers cannot see what the hacker or utility company can see. Without knowing how much each electrical device uses, the customer cannot use the smart meter information to conserve or improve their energy use.

Utility companies through deceptive advertising get people (and article authors) to ASSUME that when they get the Smart Meter information it will automatically assist them, but it does NOT.

February 23, 2012 at 2:59 am
(2) RobertWilliams says:


Palo Alto, the center of California’s Silicon Valley, Rejects Smart Meters.

Palo Alto determined that Smart Meter benefits are overstated and Smart Meter COSTS are greater than benefits.

…and customers (and taxpayers funding federal grants) are left with $ Billion dollar smart meter programs on their shoulders.


February 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm
(3) Mr. Widemouth says:

Smart Meters – something to be afraid of? http://www.squidoo.com/beware-of-smart-meters

February 26, 2012 at 11:00 am
(4) Mbert says:

First they said twice a day it transmits, then it changed to 15min, yet people who have equipment to measure how often they transmit sometimes get intervals as low as 30 seconds. These same people measure much higher levels of RF than admitted, tens of times more than a cellphone, in fact only in compliance with FCC because it is “averaged” over a period of time. If not abused I have very little objection to the new meters, but how often is the “potential” for abuse not practiced? This will also allow for higher rates during “peak” hours, but do you think we will get a discount for “off peak”? Not likely.

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