Smart Meters Create A “Honeypot” Of Personal Information To Exploit
Over a year ago, reporter Ruth Lyle of the UK’s Daily Mail, published a rather introspective article about how AMI Smart Meters will be used to spy on British households and the ramifications of that totalitarian-like practice.
In reading Lyle’s article, I could not help but wonder if U.S. consumers are aware of what’s going on with AMI Smart Meters in the USA, because surveillance is part and parcel of the ‘new energy saving’ crisis!
According to Lyle,
A Mail investigation has discovered how marketing firms are targeting data collected by smart meters, which reveal how customers use their gas and electricity, and hoping to turn the information they provide in to a steady stream of cash. [CJF emphasis]
The above statement should be most disconcerting for utility customers everywhere, just not in the UK! Utility companies plan to mine and sell customers’ usage data and to profit off of that data, which belongs to customers and often without customers’ knowledge and/or consent to relinquish/sell their data to unknown third parties. How does that reality sit with you, the consumer?
According to Lyle, “Firms must ask customers’ permission before examining in depth data or selling it on to third parties,” at least in Great Britain. How about in the USA? If you have a newly retrofitted AMI Smart Meter on your electric, natural gas or water utility services in the USA, have you been asked by your utility company to sign a consent form to collect and sell your intimate personal usage data to unknown third parties? Furthermore, have those utilities agreed to give you a commission or rebate on your utility bill for providing such “monetarily-and-profit-valuable” sales leads from which they anticipate earning megabucks?
Lyle points out what AMI Smart Meters are all about when she says,
Experts say firms are eying up the steady stream of data that the devices provide about customers’ lifestyles as a way of making a profit. [CJF emphasis]
The above is most outrageous, since in the USA at least, utilities received federal grants of around $200 MILLION each to roll out AMI Smart Meters. That wasn’t enough for them, undoubtedly. Do you know utilities will be able to jack up the usage rates when there’s high consumer utility use? To this writer’s mind, that sounds like chutzpah, greed and outright thievery. “Pitney Bowes describes smart meters as a ‘once in a generation business opportunity for energy providers’.”
A spokesman for SmartEnergy, UK, said
Consumers own their own data and the decision about whether this can be shared with third parties rests soley [sic] with them. No sales can take place during a smart meter installation visit.
If energy suppliers wish to undertake marketing at the installation consent from the customer has to be obtained prior to the appointment. [CJF emphasis]