The Obama administration wants an electric “smart meter” installed in every American home so it can be connected to energy from the sun or the wind. Then, despite the expense to you and to the government, we’ll all be ready for the renewable energy era Obama foresees with his unrealistic, glazed-eye view of the future.
That is the master plan. Although replacement of fossil fuels with renewables is about as possible as pigs taking flight, the plan has gradually been implemented since the start of Obama’s term in the Oval Office.
As recently as this June, the Department of Energy laid out a 63 page “enabling plan” which called again for producing 80 percent of our energy from “clean” energy sources by 2035 and putting one million electric cars on the road by 2015. Only 408 plug-in cars were running this January. Only 999,592 to go.
Back in January 2009, Obama had called for 40 million smart meters. Two-way connecting meters “will be installed in every home,” according to an article at the time in Cleantech News and Analysis. The smart grid will be expected, said the article, to pull energy from “green” energy projects such as solar panels and wind turbines on rooftops. Thus, Obama’s fantasy-world.
A smart meter is a digital device which can record the amount of electricity you use. It transmits this information (whether you like it or not) to your electric utility provider. The electric company can see when you use the most electricity. It can set rates accordingly and supposedly save energy and its costs as well.
On June 13, the Department of Energy excitedly announced that more than five million smart meters to date have been installed nationwide to modernize our electric grid. Only 109,825,400 more households to go. The smart meter money came from the so-called Recovery Act, better known as the “stimulus” package. That’s the approximately $800 billion package that failed to stimulate the economy.
“To compete in the global economy, we need a modern electricity grid,” declared Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “An upgrade electricity grid will give consumers choices and promote energy savings…and [above all] “foster the growth of renewable energy resources.”
So, Immelt heads the Administration’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness while at the same time continuing to serve as GE’s top dog. And while the Administration prods businesses to create jobs at home, Immelt, since he took charge of GE in 2001, has canned 34,000 workers in the U.S. while adding 25,000 GE jobs overseas, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Isn’t this solid proof he’s a guy we can count on to build jobs here in America?
Last fall, when the Energy Department handed out $3.4 billion to utilities to get them to deploy smart meters, the response was overwhelmingly negative in Bakersfield, CA, for example. A class action suit was filed against Pacific Gas & Electric, saying the smart meters jacked up homeowners’ energy rates.
Because many utilities and consumers have failed to rally behind the smart grid, the Energy Department April 8 announced it would sink $100 million into 54 different smart grid training programs across the country. This training outlay was described by the Energy Department as an attempt to “accelerate change.” The $100 million was called an investment in “workers of tomorrow” to create a green-collar workforce.
How about privacy with the grid? Communications industry attorney Michael Pryor says in an article on Smart Grid News.com Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) established by Congress to protect consumers of telecommunications services may govern the “use and distribution of personal, sensitive information that will be gathered as smart grid technologies are deployed….The CPNI rules create an overarching ‘duty’ on telecommunications carriers to protect the confidentiality of their customers’ proprietary data….Customers should be able to decide whether third parties are entitled to access it for purposes other than providing electric power….” But will they?
In an April blog, Guerry Waters, vice president of Oracle, reportedly the largest international software company wrote: “Most consumers and regulators” seem to accept that utilities should keep pace with technology….Nevertheless, many remain “unconvinced smart meters are a wise investment.” Some think utilities will collect and possibly resell their consumption information. A larger group fear that smart meters “will usher in a new rate structure that will disadvantage the poor and elderly and saddle them with inefficient appliances….Many think less costly measures could do more to save energy or lower bills.”
Currently, nearly half of the electricity the county uses comes from coal-fired power plants, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has threatened to shut down supposedly to control mercury emissions from aging power plants. Stricter boiler standards would affect refineries, paper mills, chemical factories, and other facilities. EPA may delay the restrictions in the face of industry opposition.
A June 13 story in The Wall Street Journal reports the 946- page EPA rule mandates that utilities install “maximum achievable control technology.” The rule, even by EPA’s estimate, is the most expensive in its history. Clearly, the goal is to kill the coal industry.
A Wall Street Journal article in April said not everybody thinks smart meters are “such a smart use of money.” Utility companies, it said, “are spending billions of dollars” outfitting homes and businesses with the advanced meters. Meters aren’t cheap. They run $250 to $500 each. These costs typically are passed on to consumers.
No wonder Obama warned three years ago that electricity rates for Americans “will necessarily skyrocket.”