Here on the dumb grid

Few things are quite as disconcerting as a letter from a utility company that arrives the day after payment is due; I invariably go into “Did I forget to pay them?” mode, even though I don’t think I’ve ever been late on this one and they sent me back my deposit half a decade ago.

But no, this isn’t an accounting matter. Yet. OG&E wants me to know that my current electric meter is too stupid to live:

For the next few months, OG&E employees and contracted personnel will be crisscrossing the community to install smart meters on virtually every one of our customer’s homes and businesses, including yours.

I wonder who that one customer with all the homes and businesses might be.

This is the first step toward the so-called “smart grid,” which for right now will support modest enhancements like remote connection/disconnection and meter reading, but which somewhere down the line, I assume, will be used to make sure I’m paying as much as possible for running the A/C on an August afternoon when it’s actually needed, and not so much on an April morning when it’s not.

OG&E says this will enable them to “delay the building of a new power plant until at least 2020.” Whether this affects the plan to quadruple the amount of wind power they produce is yet to be determined.


  1. fillyjonk »

    4 November 2010 · 8:01 am

    I’ve also heard, but not been able to substantiate, some reports that there were electrical fires in older houses (with older wiring) that might (or might not) have resulted from the new meter installation.

    Suffice it to say, I’m not going to be happy if I get an OH HAI YOU NEED TO DO AN EXPENSIVE UPGRADE-TO-CODE when they do the new meters here.

  2. stixx23 »

    4 November 2010 · 10:33 am

    It also causes interference on your computer speakers if they (the speakers) are near the outside wall with the meter or, in my case, a short distance from your neighbor’s meter. A couple “clicks” every minute or so. Annoying.

  3. CGHill »

    4 November 2010 · 10:57 am

    I’m looking at a minimum of 12 feet away, which I hope does not qualify as “near.”

    I just wonder if it will screw with my wireless connections.

  4. fillyjonk »

    4 November 2010 · 12:23 pm

    Uh-oh. I didn’t even think about the effect on wireless gadgets.

    With my luck, it will do something like cause my CD player to spring into life, volume at “11,” some night at 2 am, when I’ve left a disk of bagpipe music or something in there.

  5. Nicole »

    4 November 2010 · 1:57 pm

    Not sure if the new “smart” meter did this, but when they swapped out our old thermostat for this new one, we did have several issues with cordless phone reception. We have since gone to pretty much all cell phones which don’t seem to have the same issues. Our other wireless gadgets don’t seem to have been affected.

    They aren’t going to charge you more for keeping it at freezer levels of cold, they are just going to turn your thermostat to a setting they consider reasonable. That’s what they’ve done with us. Taken away my right to have ice cubes for feet in August. The bastards.

  6. ms7168 »

    6 November 2010 · 9:19 am

    ONG was just out recently and changed their meter to one that can report it’s reading to someone passing by. Presumably the new electric meters will do the same thing. It’s so they can save money once the initial shock of changing out all of the meters is complete. I for one will be happy to have a digital readout versus five dials which are misread with alarming frequency.

  7. CGHill »

    6 November 2010 · 10:09 am

    I’ll worry when the gas company follows suit.

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