How do Illinois consumers feel about smart meters?

ComEd smart meter.

ComEd began installing GE digital smart meters across its service territory in September. The process will continue through 2021.

As ComEd and Ameren begin the enormous task of installing nearly 5 million digital smart meters across the state over the next decade, we polled more than 1,000 weekly e-newsletter subscribers to get their thoughts on the new technology.

We also invited consumers to submit their comments and questions about digital smart meters. Find the answers to those questions and more in our smart grid fact sheet.

There are still many policy and rate issues to be resolved with the smart grid, and CUB will be involved in all of those discussions. We will advocate for consumers to get maximum benefits from a smarter power grid.

The results of our survey:

1. How do you feel about getting a digital “smart meter?”

  • I’m excited and interested in learning how these meters can benefit me (37.5%)
  • I’m not excited about getting a new meter (28.4%)
  • I don’t mind getting a new meter, but don’t think it will benefit me (26.7%)
  • Not sure/don’t care (7%)
  • No response (0.4%)

2. What is the biggest benefit of getting a digital meter?

  • No benefit (24.8%)
  • Elimination of estimated bills (23.1%)
  • Utilities cut costs by running operations more efficiently (13.3%)
  • More opportunity to improve my home’s energy efficiency (13%)
  • More reliable power grid (11.4%)
  • More opportunity to sign up for money-saving pricing plans (7.9%)
  • Other (6%)
  • No response (0.4%)

3. Smart meters make it possible for consumers to sign up for different pricing plans that could help them lower electric bills. Which of these potential plans would you be most interested in trying?

  • None of the above (31.4%)
  • Low-usage rate (gives you a lower monthly charge if your average yearly usage is below a certain amount) (24.6%)
  • Peak-time rebate (gives you a bill credit for avoiding heavy electricity usage at peak times) (19.5%)
  • Real-time pricing (allows you to pay hourly market rate for electricity, rather than a fixed rate) (14.7%)
  • Nights and weekends rate (gives you discounted rates for electricity used at certain times) (9.5%)
  • No response (0.4%)
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75 Responses to How do Illinois consumers feel about smart meters?

  1. Mike says:

    The issue I have with smart meters, In particular Ameren in Logan county Illinois, is how disruptive it has been with wireless internet connectivity. These meters are publicized as being very low power, “less than 1 watt” (www.arrl.org/smart-meters) and for very short periods of time “an average of 3 minutes per day” (2011 Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. http://www.smartgridcc.org). I have a wireless broadband service provider where I have a point to multipoint wireless connection in the 900MHz free spectrum. When Ameren “flipped the switch” the signal was so strong it totally killed the point to point connection I have with my internet service provider. I don’t see how a weak 1 Watt signal would have the ability to mask a focused, point to point radio connection. Secondly, this interruption was continuous for over 2 weeks not 2 or 3 minutes. Not even 2 or 3 hours. Since that initial incident, the interruption has not been quite so long, but still happens on a near monthly basis and lasts for several days in a row. And I forgot to mention, I DON”T EVEN LIVE IN LOGAN COUNTY. I live in a county that borders Logan. I contacted Ameren regarding the situation and got a canned response:

    “We are currently upgrading our system equipment using state of the art technology to maximize energy performance for our customers. Our systems are upgrading property, and are in full compliance with the Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations. As a customer of a wireless internet service provider using technology within this same radio spectrum, you may need to contact your internet service provider to explore other options to ensure that your wireless service remains reliable.”

    But there is nothing my service provider can do. Since this operates in the free spectrum, it’s pretty much the wild west and they can do whatever they want. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were actually some options for internet connectivity, but being a rural area there are very few options that aren’t cost prohibitive.

    .

  2. Heath Sprinkle says:

    The only problem I have is with the internet that I pay for. Ever since they took the old meter and put the new one on my internet suck. I want the old one back. Plus the day the changed it I ask if the cost would go up and the young man said no. I’m calling tomorrow to see if I can get the old style back or if they are going to pay my internet bill or what they are going to do to fix the problem and the better do somthing tomorrow. I’ll let you all know what they say.

  3. After billions spent on smart meters not one dime of savings has been realized by we the consumers and from the very beginning it was a planned scam by utilities to charge time of day/use rates which SM allows to calculate and be done. What reduces cost is additional generation of watts and not one watt of additional power was created by this fiasco. Hopefully, the Trump administration will put an end to this insanity, greed and corruption by the few against the Many (US).

  4. Anonymous says:

    Say NO TO smart meters !

  5. Anonymous says:

    ComEd is doing a good job on trying to kill people slowly !they don’t care about us and you save money! they will use this beast to eliminate jobs and radiate your brans cell !

    • Kenneth Lundgren says:

      If you are concerned about health dangers from smart meters, you also need to get rid of your cell phone, your wi-fi modem, your laptop PC, and your cordless phone.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Smart meters are indeed dangers to people heath.
    on so many levels!

  7. Mike says:

    I have been a RRTP customer for about 2.5 years. Looking statistically at monthly savings, I can see savings have dropped since the polar vortex 10-30% for most months since the “Polar Vortex” and really started decreasing over 2013. Seems like PJM whom ComEd claims sets prices for the RRTP program has figured out how to work the system to their advantage and decrease savings to RRTP participants likely through decreasing power surpluses through reduced generation, thus causing price spikes with more frequent “emergency/unplanned demands”. I sure doubt companies like ComEd are paying 10-30% more for their power and not screaming for price hikes in Springfield. Don’t get me wrong, short of the “Polar Vortex” months of December-February of last winter (where I paid about $15 over ComEd’s standard rate) I have always saved over the standard rate ComEd charges for power and have saved ~$700 over about 2.5 years in electricity costs. But to give you an idea of the drop in savings, I have only saved about $90 in the last 12 months which means I saved the other $600 in the first 1.5 years (2012-2013)…..so seems like the rig is in. I read part of PJM’s many page report trying to excuse their price gouging of the market, but statistics and trending point to something else besides the “Polar Vortex” going on in regards to RRTP pricing, throughout the year. CUB have you picked up on this? And for technology naysayers, it would seem that adding smarts to the grid to allow for quick detection of outrages, and more measures to re-route during and address problems to keep more customers with power is a good thing, but is obviously not free (our current infrastructure will not last forever)…it may be more susceptible to EMP which could be catastrophic, but we are all so connected today with technology, that the USA in general will really be in a world of hurt if technology is ripped away….Many people don’t think for themselves anymore and most would not know how to fend for themselves….to think about that, it is a little worrisome to say the least….but smart grids is the least of our problems in that scenario. There is no doubt that the more smarts out there the more control is available to big brother, NSA or whoever it is pulling the strings of the average American. Raising energy prices through forcing green energy which is not ready for prime time and prematurely forcing reliable and time-proven modes of energy production to shut down causes unnecessary inflation of energy prices and chaos as more and more family budgets are stretched to breaking…..somebody will come in with the answer to all these problems and more and seemingly be the savior of the world as long as you go his way, the Bible tells us that…but many of us today would say the Bible is out of date and unreliable….our smart grid scientists tells us so. I will go with Jesus Christ and be thankful to God for the advancements mankind (especially in the USA) has enjoyed over the last century+ or so…but they can never be nor ever will be my eternal Saviour.

    • Kenneth Lundgren says:

      I see that my RRTP hourly costs for the last several months have been 10%-15% higher than the fixed rate. So I agree that it seems that the RRTP savings have dwindled.

      Another problem with the idea of planning my appliance usage is that the price peaks come at unexpected times, and can be much higher than the forecast price. I only find out about the cost spike after it has passed.

  8. John G says:

    Nothin is ever done to decrease prices to consumers only to figure way micro manage and gouge. Look at airlines mergers Govt bought their line airlines bs” so we can offer more” and BAM gouge fees ect……They should have been maintaining upgrading past 35+ yrears with fees already on your bill. It is money grab. They always want 20% increases cause in 5 years it ia 100% try get that at a bank. hey the metaters can be manipulated too on their side math formulas to calculate for their benifit.

  9. MK says:

    If it is ComEd, I DON’T trust them!!

  10. Jade33 says:

    Here is an interesting list of general complaints about smart meters concerning over-billing, appliance/electronic/computer malfunctions and burn-outs, interference with TV’s, radio, WiFi, security systems, ceiling fans, garage door openers, etc., tripping GFCI’s, air conditioner shut downs, light bulb burn-outs and flickering, humming noise throughout the house…and on and on. (There is a separate category of complaints about explosions and fires). By the way, it has been the policy of utility companies NOT TO REIMBURSE customers for any damage to their property since they do not want to admit liability and set a precedent. Their standard line is that it is the customer’s wiring at fault and it is then up to the customer to try and prove otherwise. Good luck with that!
    http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=1223

    • Ken says:

      I can’t believe that every one of these problems was caused by smart meters.
      However, It is likely that something as complex as the smart meter would be less reliable and more prone to problems than the tried and proven analog meters – which could never fail in a manner to cause over charging,

  11. In January 2011, the US General Accounting Office issued a document entitled, GAO Report #GAO-11-117, “Electricity Grid Modernization.” One of the principal conclusions of that document was as follows: “Consumers are not adequately informed about the benefits, costs, and risks associated with smart grid systems. … As a result, until consumers are more informed about the benefits, costs, and risks of smart grid systems, utilities may not invest in, or get approval for, comprehensive security for smart grid systems, which may increase the risk of attacks succeeding.”

    Although the above GAO conclusion was principally made with regard to the topic of cyber security, it is my assertion that the overall message applies to all aspects of the smart grid, including health, privacy, societal impact, and financial implications for the consumer.

    The CUB “smart grid fact sheet” reads like that of a smart grid advocacy group. People need to know not just the possible benefits but also the “costs and risks” associated with smart grid technology. As one informed Illinois consumer, I am very concerned about the risks associated with smart grid systems. They are a “work in progress” in terms of working out the “bugs” and there could be potentially catastrophic results for our country. I was sufficiently concerned that I started my own website at http://thetruthaboutsmartgrids.org/ in an attempt to raise consumer awareness and provide balance to propaganda disseminated by the smart grid industry.

  12. Reason is finally returning to at least one country in this world. Now if only the US would follow suit and put millions back to work returning us to a world power nation.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/09/20/german-economic-experts-ready-to-pull-the-plug-on-costly-clean-energy-industry/

    • Ken says:

      That’s great news from Germany. Too bad they and others have wasted so much time and money already. Smart meters are just one symptom of the larger problem. We need to stop the Green’s attacks on cheap energy with the carbon taxes and carbon limitations. There are no realistic large scale affordable alternative energy sources for the near future.

      Global Warming alarmism has been proven to be a great exaggeration, if not an outright hoax. The earth hasn’t warmed for the last 17 years, and the seas are not rising. Polar bears are not drowning or starving, and the Arctic ice has increased 60%. Antarctic ice is also increasing.

      I wish CUB would take a position on this. The State Line generating station has already been shut down. More will follow. Cheap energy is one thing that made this county great.

  13. Sandy says:

    We once led the world in manufacturing might! It’s the progressive”Green Tin Foil Hats” that are sucking the wealth out of small business and families, transferring to the top 1% of the well connected global elite in both parties.
    Naperville has fallen for the UN Agenda 21, fleecing the Taxpayers with unproven schemes and nonsensical theories. 3 minutes below

    http://www.safeshare.tv/w/UAGOcLSuLX

  14. How about the biggest choice of NOT TO HAVE ONE ON OUR HOUSE in the first place! Why do they need armed cops to force installation against home owners wishes? Is this Communist China, Nazi Germany or America which has a Constitution that supposedly protects our freedoms and rights?
    .

  15. Bob Flanary says:

    The ones who benefit the most from aggregation plans or fixed rate pricing are the gas and coal generation facilities because it allows for homeowners, who primarily use electricity at night or weekends, to subsidize those who use electricity during the day which in turn leads to less conservation (higher usage rates). Aggregation plans are a form of corporate welfare taking money away from consumers and giving to big business. That explains why one of the chief architects of Chicago’s aggregation plan was a gas company lobbyist. These aggregation plans are designed to keep the gas industry profits as high as possible and to minimize investment in solar and wind. The only way around this is to sign up for real time pricing and then shift your air conditioning and major appliance use to off peak times. You will save a ton of money and you will help to clean up the environment. Don’t throw your money away – switch today.

    • Dave N. says:

      I cannot go alone with this new time-of-day pricing scheme. It doesn’t cost any more to generate a KW of power at 9am than it does at 9pm.
      If your local grocer followed this logic, food items would cost less in the middle of the night than they do on a Saturday morning (peak shopping). McDonald’s would charge more from 11:30a – 1pm (peak lunchtime), and so on.
      Government allowed the electric utilities to create monopolies for the good of the citizenry. Now the tables have turned, and the monopoly is being used to exploit the citizenry.

      • Dave N. says:

        I meant to type ‘go along’, not ‘go alone’.

      • Bob Flanary says:

        First of all we know from economics that higher demand results in higher prices for commodities. Second, different generating plants have different expense profiles. Because of the first point the most expensive plants, which tend to be the most environmentally damaging, will not be put on line when the price is low. Third, wind speeds are higher at night meaning the price drops even further in the middle of the night. These three facts (they are facts) explain why prices during the day are higher and also why shifting energy use to night time is better for the environment.

      • Ken says:

        If you’re going to compare with a grocer, you need to think on a seasonal time scale.
        Produce does cost more out of season, when it has to be transported long distances.

      • Sandy says:

        Lets replace the true “tin foil hat” oppressive, top down mandated, “green agenda” along with their fear mongering “climate warming” (oops, now it’s called “climate change” as the “facts” got in the way of the globalist elite crowd agenda) with one of abundance. America a a rich, wonderful land with plenty of affordable energy for all of our citizens to live comfortable and productive lives. How about a real agenda…that of rebuilding our great country, with plenty of energy to run our factories, our homes, and our transportation system? CUB should be promoting abundant energy so that Illinois (with one of the highest unemployment in the country) can welcome new manufacturing and expansion of the businesses left here. Lets call for the cheapest power around so we can provide REAL, great paying jobs so that our families can proudly provide for their own family welfare, rather than depend on handouts from the government to live a substandard quality of life! Subsidizing all these so called “green” companies has been a looser for the taxpayer. Oppressive regulation has handcuffed the American genius and entrepreneur spirit to build new business. Economically rationing electric power is an artificial, job killer. CUB seems to be another “tool” for the well connected who want to force us to use a who,e lot less, for a whole lot more. Build out the infrastructure now for a prosperous future. Get out of the data collection business and give us plenty of power, WHEN WE NEED IT rather than the governing blow hards think we should be using it.

    • Sandy says:

      In Naperville, households that choose TOU billing have been determined to save $1.00 per month. Is that savings really worth having your home privacy invaded by 208 pages of your home electric use data harvested? What about those of us who are retired, disabled, in home hospice, or young children at home to be in sweltering or freezing houses during the day? Is it worth not being limited in the activities we enjoynir must do in our homes and business from 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM? Shoud companies lay off their 2nd shifts merely save money as the cost of power can jump 2-3 times during the “peak” hours?”

      Tin Foil hats? A consumer can NOT turn off the wifi on the “smart meter,” nor the HAN units that are in some of them. In the future,, just like black boxes mandated for cars, customers will NOT be able to turn off wifi devices in appliances, water heaters, electric devices and air conditioners. There are already pending rules mandating that all ceiling fans have sensors that allow the fan to run onky when people are present in the room, turning off automatically if they leave.

      There is no choice in Naperville if our family’s electric use is being collected, stored and released to legally approved entities. That’s 208 pages of data every month! We have the “choice” to have either a wireless monitoring and transmitting device forced on our private homes and businesses or pay over $24.00 an month to have a wired data collecting device forced on our homes. We can choose not to have cable, cell phones or other services…we can not choose to boycott oppressive electric providers, especially in Naperville where we are forced, by law, to purchase our power from the government owned monopoly.

      “Smart Meters” are data mining devices being forced upon us by government, their crony business pals, and now CUB. Are Americans so stupid that they can’t run their homes without government help and mandates?

      • Hey Sandy,
        These guys talk talk about free market capitalism with respect to smart grid/meters when nothing is farther from the truth. It was always part of the worldwide Agenda 21 program to takeover control of all means of production, land use, natural resources, food, medicine, water, electricity and ultimately a significant reduction of the world’s population because in these people’s view humanity is a blight on Mother Gaia and is destroying the world.

        Beyond these groups being used as useful idiots we have the crony capitalists in collusion with corrupt politicians making millions if not billions from the poor and getting poorer masses. Monopolies like electric companies were chartered to provide safe, efficient, effective, ample and cheap power as a commodity to the buyers (us) not to be pawns of the government or advocate for green technologies none of which could exist without massive subsidization through our tax dollars. You could say we are paying twice for the same thing.

        Lastly any supplier doesn’t have the unilateral right to make you the buyer give up your private property rights as well as a number of other Constitutional rights in order to purchase a commodity which you the citizen voter gave them the charter to exist in the first place. To argue this point is to put the cart before the horse and turn upside down the Contractual Laws between supplier and buyer.

  16. Dee says:

    Patrick, et al:, Time of use billing will start out as an opt in, but when few people opt in, it will become mandatory, as the meters have, for Comed or any other utility to benefit from the inflated peak usage pricing. As a CUB supporter for many years, I am wondering why the CITIZENS Utility Board is standing with Comed and other utilities instead of with the CITIZENS who support you and oppose them? Instead of making excuses and telling us why the utility is so brilliant for doing what they are doing, why not listen to US and tell the utility why what they are doing is NOT acceptable. I have done my research, and lots of it, and have found NO benefit to the consumer who is ultimately footing the bill, and huge benefits for the utilities that will be cashing in on this “smart” upgrade for years to come. You do not need a smart meter to cut back on electrical usage, you need smart people to do smart things, period!

    • qwester says:

      @DEE – Smart meters have an effect opposite to that you predict. This has been well explained previously. I cannot politely comment on your refusal/inability to acknowledge it. Rates for energy sales by utilities to the public are set in law and subject to court challenge. If you so strongly believe as your posts suggest then hire a lawyer to challenge the evil doers of your Lamanchan world.

    • Bob Flanary says:

      I switched to ComEd’s residential real time pricing back in 2007 or 2008. When I started my budgeted bill was $95 per month. Now it is $41 per month. That is a savings of $54 per month or $648 per year. That is a lot of money. Dee, I saved everyone of my bills to prove that I have saved several thousand dollars by switching to the program. Not only that, because my air conditioning use was switched totally to night time I have drastically reduced my carbon footprint and reduced my reliance on coal and natural gas. I am willing to show my monthly bills for the last 6 years to prove my savings. Anyone not on ComEd’s RRTP is throwing money down the drain – or putting it up in flames at the coal burning plants.

      • Dave N. says:

        Bob, LOTS of people – all across the U.S. – have not only seen their bills NOT drop with Smart Meters, some have seen HUGE increases. I don’t just mean an extra $20-30. I mean QUADRUPLED. What’s more the new ‘Smart Meters’ are showing that the homeowners electric USAGE is several times higher than any past bill they’ve ever seen.
        For many of these hapless customers – people who never asked for or wanted the new meters – they have no recourse. If their utility says ‘this is what you owe’, they have to pay it.
        A recent town hall meeting in CA produced HUNDREDS of residents whose bills have jumped by hundreds of dollars per month, and the PUC and PG&E are just saying, ‘Pay up.’
        I’m honestly disappointed that CUB seems so gung-ho in favor of the new meters, especially in light of all the problems they have created nationwide.

      • Bob Flanary says:

        Dave, the only way for prices to increase would be if daytime use exceeded night time use. This is just the opposite for most homeowners. Also, yes, if you run your air conditioner during the middle of the day on the hottest day of the year you will get burned by higher prices. That is why most business and smart consumers pre cool their buildings on the night before hot days. If I know the temperature will rise to 90 degrees on Wednesday I will set the air conditioner to 68 degrees the night before and then will shut the air conditioner off all together at 10 am on that Wednesday only to turn it back on at 8:30 or 9:00 pm thus avoiding the higher rates. I save a ton of money. I run my air conditioner every night in the summer down to 70 degrees in my 2500 sq ft home. My highest bill this summer was $72. And, Dave, I also have an electric water heater and an electric clothes dryer. My bills are open to anyone. Oh, I forgot to mention that my air conditioner is an 18 year old 12 SEER unit. My bills are low because ComEd’s rates are by far the lowest.

  17. Anonymous says:

    i’m totally against the intrusion of my privacy. I do not want a smart meter. Our privacy has been eaten up by everyone. I wasn’t home when I had a guy, who is going to run for Congress, had his mother(!) call from out of state to send me a birthday wish! I traced the number, called her and told her it was outrageous. They are not a family member or friend and do not know me. Where did he get my phone number which is unlisted and my birth!?

  18. Linda says:

    For Ken, and anyone else looking for authoritative documentation that “smart meters will have the capability to either monitor or control specific appliances” – here is the Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, entitled SMART METER DATA: PRIVACY AND CYBERSECURITY
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42338.pdf
    The rest of my comment is quoted directly from the above-referenced report. Beginning on the bottom of page 3, this section states, “Current smart meter technology allows utilities to measure usage as frequently as once every minute. By examining smart meter data, it is possible to identify which appliances a consumer is using and at what times of the day, because each type of appliance generates a unique electric load “signature.”
    NIST wrote in 2010 that “research shows that analyzing 15-minute interval aggregate household energy consumption data can by itself pinpoint the use of most major home appliances.”
    A report for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission discussed an
    Italian study that used “artificial neural networks” to identify individual “heavy-load appliance
    uses” with 90% accuracy using 15-minute interval data from a smart meter.
    Similarly, software-based algorithms would likely allow a person to extract the unique signatures of individual appliances from meter data that has been collected less frequently and is therefore less detailed.
    By combining appliance usage patterns, an observer could discern the behavior of occupants in a home over a period of time. For example, the data could show whether a residence is occupied, how many people live in it, and whether it is “occupied by more people than usual.”
    According to the Department of Energy, smart meters may be able to reveal occupants’ “daily schedules (including times when they are at or away from home or asleep), whether their homes are equipped with alarm systems, whether they own expensive electronic equipment such as pTVs, and whether they use certain types of medical equipment.”
    Figure 1 , which appears in NIST’s report on smart grid cybersecurity, shows how smart meter data could be used to decipher the activities of a home’s occupants by matching data on their electricity usage with known appliance load signatures.

  19. R Dose says:

    So if our town wasn’t on the map when do we find out *ahead* of time when our meter will be changed?

    • Great question. It will depend on what ComEd operating center you live near. ComEd has pledged to let customers know 60 to 120 days ahead of time before replacing their meter, through bill inserts, mailings, a phone call, and a knock on the door the day of the meter installation. We’ll provide more details about the process, including the timeline, as they become available.

  20. Sandy says:

    Hey, Patrick. Naperville determined that if customers went to TOU billing they would save $1.00, yep $1.00 if they alter their life styles to “save money.” Eventually power will be economically rationed, hurting the elderly, sick, young families and disabled the hardest as their daily activities require electric use during the day. Next. will be a carbon tax, after they inventory our minute to minute use and forced TOU billing. This is one big crony capitalist scam where consumers are forced to buy equipment they would never use (smart meters, HAN units etc) and charge a whole lot more for a whole lot less. We need to spend money on our infrastructure that provides plenty of affordable power so we can take care of our families, our sick and our elderly. America needs MORE power to create good paying manufacturing jobs so we can once again compete in the global economy! Green, “smart meters” are another dumb idea forced on us by the ruling elite and well connected crony business.

    • Well said Sandy. There is and has been a direct correlation between the cost of energy, its availability and the financial stability and healthiness of our economy. As the cost of fuels, electricity and even water continues to rise double or triple the rest of inflation because of a willful desire of this administration and others the average person’s standard of living continues to go down! Smart meters exacerbates the problem and adds no good or service but rather only cost to the equation.

      • Sandy says:

        Gerald: In America, families are struggling to keep food on the table, their kids and parents cared for and the rent paid, by working 2-3 jobs at the current trend of part time, low paid wages. Now they will have to cook dinner at 9:00 PM, do laundry and help with kids homework, just to avoid the high cost of “peak” electric costs. ” Smart Meters” are coming to water and natural gas next. The wealthy will be able to enjoy warm homes, hot baths, plenty of power for electric devices, home appliances, and air conditioning whenever they choose. It will be the retired, disabled, dying and middle and lower economic class families that will have to manage at night or early morning. Imagine that 1/3 of our waking hours are considered by the elite is “peak time.”. Our homes will be too expensive to live in, let alone enjoy when we need them the most. There is simply no reason that America has to ration the most basic of services, that make our lives comfortable, our children well taken care of and our businesses productive. This scam is a total disgrace, that will only further crush the spirit and economics of our great country.

      • Ken says:

        As I said already, smart meters are the symptom, not the problem. If electricity becomes a lot more expensive, it will not be because of the meters, but due to the phony “save the planet” policies of the gov’t and the EPA. Check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23081695
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23081695
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10130970/UK-electricity-prices-almost-twice-as-expensive-as-Germany-within-three-years.html

    • Bob Flanary says:

      I switched to ComEd’s residential real time pricing back in 2007 or 2008. When I started my budgeted bill was $95 per month. Now it is $41 per month. That is a savings of $54 per month or $648 per year. That is a lot of money. I saved everyone of my bills to prove that I have saved several thousand dollars by switching to the program. Not only that, because my air conditioning use was switched totally to night time I have drastically reduced my carbon footprint and reduced my reliance on coal and natural gas. I am willing to show my monthly bills for the last 6 years to prove my savings. Anyone not on ComEd’s RRTP is throwing money down the drain – or putting it up in flames at the coal burning plants.

  21. Sandy says:

    Wow, Patrick. CON figured out that if customers chose TOU billing, they would save a whopping $1.00 a month! Really, alter your life style, especially if you are taking care of a family member at home who is young, sick or disabled for a $1.00 saving. And no, once the “smart meters” are installed we will be economically sanctioned via carbon taxes, high flat rates or simply forced into a TOU billing system. Hey, it didn’t work for the cellphone companies. Customers wer sick of having to wait until midnight to call friends and family. Most of us all enjoy, anytime minutes all the time. It should be the customer who drives the services, not the power companies who try to drive (nudge) the customer into some green scam life style! Cheap, plentiful power to take care of families and to rebuild America!

    • Ken says:

      I have had ComEd’s Real TIme Pricing for for years, and it has been saving me about $160 per year, without even doing anything special with my usage. The biggest power users, like the fridge and furnace can’t be adjusted easily for time of day. I am concerned that once everybody has it, there won’t really be much savings.

      • Hey Ken. Even if a small percentage of consumers reduce their electricity usage at peak times, it helps lower power prices for everyone, even those on fixed rates. As ComEd begins installing the meters, we’ll make sure to let consumers know what different pricing options are available. We’re glad you’ve saved money with Real-Time Pricing! On average, participants have reduced the supply portion of their electric bill by about 15 percent.

  22. Julie says:

    Ken, you might not work for ComEd but you sure are a fanboy!

  23. Fred Harth says:

    I am an Ameren customer who has been using Power Smart Pricing for 48 months. We have saved $1004 in that time, compared to Ameren’s Standard Pricing and now Aggregate Pricing. They installed a digital meter when we began the program. The really strange part is that this digital meter is NOT a “smart meter” at all. Ameren must send a service person to our house each month to read the meter! ALL the rest of the meters in our area (that are not PSP meters) send data via satellite and do NOT need to be physically read. An Ameren customer service rep told me that people using the PSP plan would NOT be getting any “smart meter” upgrades. Not only does that not seem fair (yeah, I know) but it doesn’t seem to be very “SMART” either!

  24. Dee says:

    Smart Grid and Smart Meter are two COMPETELY different things. You do NOT need a smart METER to have a smart grid. The Meter will only benefit the utility not the consumer. The money they are spending on meters, would be better spent burying lines and upgrading the delivery system. The meters will not stop storms or downed wires. And you don’t need an expensive smart meter on your house for the utility to know when power is out in your area or to reroute it. The Smart GRID tells them that, not the meter. If the meters are so fabulous, why are they forcing them on people? Why are they arresting people because they are refusing them? I have never seen anyone arrested for not wanting an iPhone. If it truly benefitted the consumer, people would be purchasing smart meters themselves. “Sheeple” who believe the utility and government are acting in their best interest will be in for a very rude awakening. When they realize the truth, and then it will be too late.

    • Dave says:

      I think you understand it, Dee. Unless ComEd has 100% compliance, it won’t be able to aggregate and sell the information it collects from you and other Smart Meter installations.

      The future for household appliances is intelligence. We’ll see RFID scanners inside our refrigerators which can track the brands we buy and the intervals in which we use and replace food items. The fridge will tell TV advertisers what time(s) we grab a snack between programs.

      Smart meters will be the device to capture that data which ComEd will spin into marketing gold. It wouldn’t surprise me to see ComEd completely out of the electrical generation and distribution business in decades to come. Why devote time, efforts and capital to a regulated business when information capture and resale is so much more valuable?

      Our laundry appliances will report back on when and how often we do laundry, and whether we used the ‘color’ cycle to wash. Cable TV boxes have been providing usage data to cable companies for decades – all the way back to the first Warner Qube system of the 1970s.

  25. Diane says:

    With the implementation and cost of producing and installing smart meters, ComEd would save ‘meter readers’ travel expenses to provide a ‘real’ read and possibly vacate those jobs. I also believe that during days of high or low temps, ComEd, through the smart meter, would be able to remotely control our air conditioning and heat during high usage times. ComEd would also have the ability to charge different rates for usage if we work a certain shift and watch TV and use our lighting at different times during the day or night. We may have little control over our home environments with the smart meter attached to our home or business. I look at this cost to have energy usage, and then, ComEd advising us to save energy, and I wonder why our government
    ‘pushes’ electric cars that need to be plugged in daily, to charge? We close power plants and then attempt to halt the use of fossil fuels (all at the same time!). All of these actions and
    ‘speaking points’ do not make sense for the ‘average’ consumer who always seems to shoulder the high costs for energy usage and availability!

  26. Dave says:

    “Ken” may not be concerned about Smart Meters, but I am. Google has shown companies that information ABOUT their subscribers can be more valuable than their actual billing. Right now, ‘appliance intelligence’ is in its embryonic state, but as more ‘smart’ appliances come to market, ComEd will be positioned (thanks to Smart Meters) to collect, aggregate and SELL your personal information.

    It’s not a lunatic’s conspiracy rant, Ken, it’s a business model and a long-term strategy. ComEd has shown that it thinks long-term. When ComEd saw that energy conservation was the coming trend, it convinced regulators to shift more of its billing to fixed fees and charges. That way, even if electrical consumption declined, it would have little impact on ComEd revenues. If you want to see what I’m talking about, calculate how much you’ll save on your electric bill if you cut your usage by 10%. I guarantee you will NOT see a 10% bill reduction, thanks to ComEd’s billing structure.

    Smart meters represent ComEd’s information gathering future, NOT some time-of-day pricing scheme.

    • Ken says:

      I have a switch supplied by ComEd to cycle my A/C that has nothing to do with a smart meter. I have had it for years. And if you’re worried about “smart appliances”, they will not need a smart meter to communicate. They may work over your Wi-Fi.

      Whether or not smart meters make economic sense for customers, is a separate question. But they are not a health or privacy risk. There are plenty of other things to worry about..

      Maybe there is some good information on the internet, but there are also plenty of scaremongers who are trying to scam you by selling high priced “tin hats”, that do nothing. For instance:
      http://www.smartmeterblock.com/
      http://www.quwave.com/defender.html?gclid=CJuOps77yrkCFapAMgodZB4A8Q

      And there is some really nutty advice. This one advises you to cover your walls and windows with grounded foil space blankets, and avoid steel spring mattresses.
      http://www.montalk.net/conspiracy/55

      • Dave says:

        Ah, but the difference is, *I* control my Wi-Fi. I can turn it off if I want, I can block devices if I want, I can allow devices to use it if I want. I can be arrested and fined if I try to tamper with my electric meter in any way.

        Once the Smart Meter is installed and ComEd controls it, I have lost any control I might have if it were Wi-Fi.

        I’m not interested in the ‘tin hat’ lunatic fringe or members of the Flat Earth Society. I’m an IT person and I understand the value of information. Information is not the same as data. Information is data that has been aggregated, compiled and analyzed, ComEd will be uniquely positioned to collect the most personal data about our daily lives and THAT is (in my opinion) the real reason for their full-court pressure to deploy the meters.

      • Ken says:

        Maybe you’re not interested in the lunatic fringe, but I think that a lot of the low information opposition to smart meters is influenced by the fringe.

        Another thought – I think that if the gov’t and environmental wackos really want to gain control of your appliances, they will find other ways. For instance they could mandate that thermostats and appliances be equipped to communicate by cell phone or other radio signals totally independent of smart meters.

      • Ken says:

        Does anyone have any authoritative source that proves that present or future smart meters will have the capability to either monitor or control specific appliances?

      • Dave N. says:

        Ken, the meters don’t have to CONTROL appliances to be valuable to ComEd. All they have to do is be passive listeners and data collectors.
        Do you use Gmail? If so, try this experiment:
        Have someone send you an email about the Army. You will see ads in the message about Army recruiting.
        Do the same thing, but have your friend mention shopping for a car in the email, and PRESTO!, car ads pop up in the email.
        Lastly, have someone send you an email that mentions Hurricane Katrina, Sandy Hook, or some other disaster, and you will see ZERO ads.
        Google doesn’t care about the personal details in your email, but keywords lead to target marketing.
        So it will be with Smart Meters. What brand of mayo you buy, and how often you buy it lead to targeted marketing. Haven’t you noticed how many ‘free Web registrations’ ask for some unusually personal data? Data collection is the new ‘precious metal.’

      • Ken says:

        So why aren’t you campaigning against Google and Comcast?
        It’s going to be a very long time before RFIDs will be attached to fresh food products. How do you attach a chip to an egg or a head of lettuce? And why would the government or ComEd care about your produce? And a refrigerator that can read those would be much more expensive. Nobody will buy those unless they are mandated by the federal gov’t. If that is the direction we are going, we need to be campaigning for a smaller less intrusive government, and against the environmental wackos that are pushing for “green” standards.

        The EPA is already basically banning all new coal plants and shutting down old ones. Electricity will become much more expensive, and maybe even rationed, like 3rd world countries. And all in the name of “saving the planet”, which is the biggest hoax. Check out what is happening in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Smart meters are not the culprit.

      • Dave N. says:

        Ken, you attach RFID tags to eggs and to lettuce the same way you attach bar codes. When I buy eggs or lettuce today, nobody has to manually enter the item price, and they won’t with RFID.
        I’m not happy about Google collecting personal information, but I can CHOOSE to not use Google – or Comcast. The Smart Meter program is NOT going to be a choice.
        As for the price of ‘smart’ appliances, they will start high and decline over time. The first NTSC color TV cost $1200 when introduced in 1953. A same sized HD set today costs about $200. The first cellular phones (car mounted – not portable or handheld) cost $2400 in 1982. I can buy a basic cell phone today for less than $20. Why wouldn’t the same price/performance curve apply to smart appliances?
        Government is already mandating what’s inside your home. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are already mandatory. Incandescent bulbs will be legislated out of existence soon. Your car has airbags and ABS brakes because they are mandated by the government. Soon, you’ll have health insurance that’s mandated by the government. Why is it such an impossible leap to think that government will set mandatory standards for smart appliances?

      • Ken says:

        Of course, certain appliances have become cheaper with high volume and Chinese manufacturing, but an extra feature like RFID will still add unnecessary cost. Who will benefit from this? Smart phones still cost a lot more than basic dumb phones. And it’s harder to make a phone call from a smart phone. And my dumb phone doesn’t have GPS to report my precise location to Big Brother. The federally mandated “Green” washing machines cost more, don’t wash as well, and don’t last as long.

      • Dave N. says:

        Ken, if the government mandates RFID-capable refrigerators, your question about who benefits is moot, because NOT having one will not be an option.
        The same is true regarding your comments on ‘green’ washing machines. If they are mandated, arguing about who benefits is like arguing over a deck chair on the Titanic.
        The consensus estimates (worldwide) say that handset makers will sell ONE BILLION smartphones in 2013. Whether it’s easier or harder to make a phone call, or whether GPS is good or bad, the marketplace has spoken, and their answer is not to buy more ‘basic’ cell phones. Lines don’t start forming at the cell phone store days before the newest ‘dumb’ phone is introduced.
        I give the electric companies credit, though, for clever naming and marketing. Calling them ‘data collection meters’ would be a turn-off in the same way insurance companies sell ‘life’ insurance when, in fact, it only pays off when you die. I’ll buy ‘life insurance’ but I would be repulsed by someone selling ‘death insurance.’ People want things that are ‘smart’ so calling the new meters ‘smart’ is brilliant marketing. Even legislators don’t want to be branded for opposing new, ‘smart’ technology, even if most of them are completely clueless about what the technology can do.

      • Ken says:

        Yes, this is precisely the problem. Gov’t is getting too big, and mandating too many things, and for the wrong reasons.

    • Hey Dave, thanks for your comments. State law mandates that utilities, their contractors, and any third party cannot sell a customer’s personal information, such as name, address, telephone number, and data about electricity usage. Digital meters periodically transmit a home’s total energy usage to the utility—they can’t identify or control specific appliances in your home. (See CUB’s fact sheet for more information: http://www.citizensutilityboard.org/news20100406_SmartGrid.html) We hear your concerns, and we’ll be watching to make sure consumers’ privacy is protected.

      Also, you’re correct that a 10 percent reduction in electricity usage will not reduce your bill by 10 percent. Typically, electricity supply takes up about 2/3 of the bill, so a 10 percent reduction in usage would likely translate into 6 to 7 percent total bill savings.

      • Dave N. says:

        ComEd is focused on a 10-15 year time horizon. Your comments indicate you’re focused on the ground in front of your feet. The shift from heavily usage-based billing to today’s ‘fixed fee’ system didn’t happen overnight. ComEd knows it takes years, sometimes decades, to move regulatory bodies. And so it goes with smart meters. Does the law – as it stands – prohibit ComEd from collecting, aggregating and selling AGGREGATED data about usage to third parties? Your comments imply that it can’t sell personal information about me to third parties, but I’ll bet ComEd would argue that the umbrella doesn’t cover aggregate data. Once the smart meters are fully deployed, what would prevent ComEd from petitioning the regulators to relax the privacy laws in exchange for lower electric rates?
        I know the Smart Meters can’t control the appliances we have in our homes today. ComEd knows that, too. But that fact is totally irrelevant since ‘smart appliance’ development is just starting up the curve.
        I can subscribe to a security service today with a smartphone app that lets me lock or unlock my front door remotely. I can buy a garage door opener that will ‘remind’ me that I forgot to close the door and let me do so remotely.
        RFID tags are coming to groceries – pushed by stores as the next step after bar coding to speed checkout. Did you think today’s self-checkout kiosks at the grocer’s are the final step in checkout evolution, or are they just the first step toward RFID checkout?
        And if I can RF scan the food I buy, why not do the same when it’s in my fridge?
        LOOK AROUND YOU – everywhere you look, companies are moving ahead with data collection and mining applications – and that’s not even including the FBI and NSA.

      • Marie says:

        Patrick,
        Your statement above is completely false. Congressional Research Service Report for Congress (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42338.pdf) says “Current smart meter technology allows utilities to measure usage as frequently as once every minute. By examining smart meter data, it is possible to identify which appliances a consumer is using and at what times of the day, because each type of appliance generates a unique electric load “signature.”
        Your organization is supposed to be protecting the public and yet you seem to be clueless to this one simple truth about smart meters.

  27. Daniel L says:

    We’ve had a smart meter for a few years under the pilot program. Aside from eliminating estimated meter readings, it makes no difference in our bills or electric usage. Anything you can do to save electricity, you could do without a so-caled “smart” meter. And I’m not too sure about their accuracy. After a 7 hour power outage on our block at the beginning of Sept., ComEd sent us a letter telling us that we’d used 900 Kw in 4 days — of course there was no power for 7 of those hours and nothing we had done differently. Can’t wait to see how this works out.

    • Kevin says:

      Good luck getting that resolved. You will most likely have to eat that 900 Kw because there are faults with the pilot program. I received a bill for over 4800Kw for one month because the meter man didn’t read the “Smart Meter” that month so it estimated a reading and after playing tag back and forth with ComEd the result was pay the bill and MAYBE we will credit you back later if we can figure out the glitch. As for the program I have saved money on the RTP plan but you lose if someone doesn’t do their job!

  28. qwester says:

    Still waiting for ROI info, not that it will mean anything. We must experience it so we can discover the ROI. Rate payers and tax payers are both on the hook if ROI is negative.

  29. Anybody with a 5th grade education and can add and subtract needs to do some basic math. There is no way possible the payback for this invasive, dangerous, very costly meter system can be justified except by the utilities charging time of day rates that these meters make possible.
    Cutting through all the BS is a group of crony companies in collusion with corrupt politicians are making millions from your tax dollars and electric rates and you are getting nothing but increased cost for the same amount of electricity used.

    Superimposed on this system is the ability by the government to shut off remotely a unit,, a neighborhood, a city etc. Ask yourself why these units aren’t UL/CSA or FCC certified. Answer-Government. This is why there are fires with these plastic pieces of junk.

  30. Ken says:

    A lot of opposition is occurring because the public’s perception of smart meters has been influenced by various conspiracy theories that are rampant on the internet. Everything from irrational fears of microwave radiation to invasion of privacy and mind control.
    It’s easier to find out false information than correct information.

    • Brian says:

      Ken, you sound like you work for ComEd. There are so many facts out there (not opinions) that prove these things are worthless that I can’t even start to comment here. I urge people to do their own research. The information is easy to find on the internet by searching “smart meter”.
      I did not originally believe RF radiation and dirty electricity to be possible health issues until we go a smart meter and my wife has ongoing negative reactions to both. Remember asbestos? How about kids playing with mercury in science class, or lead-based paint? Environmental medicine has already figured out that RF sensitivity is real for all humans, even you Ken, whether you feel it or not.
      I would also recommend the fact-based documentary film Take Back Your Power. Again, search the name, it is easy to find. Stream it online or buy a DVD. You will be stunned with the vast collection of facts against this worthless application of technology.

      • Ken says:

        I don’t work for ComEd, and I’m not convinced the Smart Meters are worthwhile. I suspect that much of the Smart Grid hype is a scam. I saw some excavation work near my home with a sign next to it that said “ComEd Smart Grid construction”. I found out that it was actually for a water main monitoring system. But I’m also convinced that the anti-Smart Meter scaremongering is also a scam. If you’re concerned about RF dangers, first get rid of your cell phone, your Wi-Fi, your Bluetooth, and your microwave oven. If you’re worried about government snooping, get rid of your cell phone, email, Facebook, and cable TV. If you’re worried about government mind control, get a tin hat.

    • Revel says:

      Just remember that some things on the internet come from actual experience of others in different locales as well.

    • Sandy says:

      Time of Use billing discriminates against Seniors who are retired at home, families with small children who are home during the day, those in home hospice or disabled and those on middle to low incomes. It also discriminates against those who work 2nd and third shift. Peak rates in Naperville are considered 12 PM until 9 PM, the time when all above are home engaged in essential daily activities. Anyone who has used the so called “energy efficient” appliances know that it takes an hour (up to 75 min) just to get a load washed. Doing laundry, starting at 9 PM is ridiculous. The so called “smart meter” concept is nothing more than data collection regarding our family activities, that will be monetized in the future. It’s a government mandated “speedometer” that is feeding our “energy habits” to the ever ravenous government. I did a FOIA request for the data on my home, and it was 208 pages…for one month! What we need to do is build out the power infrastructure of this country providing cheap, plentiful electricity to take care of our families, our sick, and our homes. We need great paying manufacturing jobs in America and economically rationing power is tying our business owners hands behind ther backs on the global market.

      Smart Meters: Economically rationing power to those who can least afford it. Charging a whole lot more for a whole lot less. What a scam.

      • Hey Sandy, smart meters will give more customers the option of signing up for real-time pricing and other pricing plans—if they choose. As you mentioned, those plans are not right for everyone, and customers will continue to be able to pay a fixed seasonal rate for electricity as most do now. As ComEd installs the meters, we’ll be sure to give consumers information about what pricing options are available.

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