News

Palo Alto prepares to move toward 'smart grid'

City Council hopes new technology will save energy and costs

After years of skepticism, Palo Alto officials embraced this week a shift toward "smart grid" technology when they adopted a roadmap for installing smart meters throughout the city by 2023.

By an 8-0 vote, with Councilman Adrian Fine absent, the City Council swiftly approved on Monday night a strategic plan that will help Palo Alto boldly go where most utilities had already gone. About 80 percent of investor-owned utilities, including PG&E, use smart grid technology for electricity, said Shiva Swaminathan, senior resource planner at city of Palo Alto Utilities. So do about 50 percent of publicly owned utilities, he said.

Palo Alto has flirted with smart meters before, most recently in 2012, when the council stopped short of moving ahead with full-scale adaptation of the technology, opting instead for a wait-and-see approach in the hopes that costs will drop. In the meantime, the city launched a pilot program for 300 homes to test the new technology.

The program showed plenty of promise, both for the department and for the participating customers. Over the roughly four-year period, the system detected water leaks in 30 percent of the homes. The city had also implemented a "time of use" program for electric-vehicle charging, with rates fluctuating based on whether the charging is occurring during a high- or low-demand period. There are currently about 300 customers on the waiting list for that pilot program, Swaminathan said, underscoring strong local demand.

"We gained a lot of operational experience through the pilot program," Swaminathan. "So staff is knowledgeable and able to implement it full-scale."

On Oct. 16, Swaminathan joined other utility officials in making the case for moving ahead with the new plan for smart grid adoption in front of the council's Finance Committee. Swaminathan noted that the costs for smart-grid technology hadn't come down too much since 2012. However, the impetus to have such a system in place has "increased considerably."

"Electric distribution systems are transitioning away from their original purpose of delivering energy from the utility to the customer," said Swaminathan, who has been heading the city's exploration effort. "The new distribution system is evolving into a complex network that will allow integration."

Jon Abendschein, senior resource planner at utilities, pointed to the increasing prevalence in Palo Alto of electric vehicles, solar panels and energy-storage systems. He called smart meters "a critical foundation to be able to take advantage of some of those benefits and to avoid some of those cost impacts."

"As levels of penetration of those resources increase, we're going to see both potential opportunities to use those opportunities to decrease costs through the use of AMI (advanced metering infrastructure)," Abendschein told the Finance Committee in October.

The case for a local smart grid was buttressed by the new Smart Grid Assessment and Utilities Technology Implementation Plan, an independent analysis that made a financial case for the new smart grid system. The consultant, UtiliWorks Consulting LLC, estimated that the $19-million project would likely break even over the 18-year life of the investment. And while the costs of operating the new system would be around $1.9 million annually, this would be more than offset by the roughly $3.3 million that Palo Alto Utilities is expected to save in conservation and reduced staffing.

If the system is adopted, the city would eliminate nine existing meter-reader positions, said Dean Batchelor, chief operating officer at Palo Alto Utilities. Utilities management has already spoken with the meter-reading group about the potential shift to smart meters, Batchelor told the Finance Committee on Oct. 16. He noted that the employees would have another opportunity to get training and move into other open positions in Utilities.

The savings from the reduced staffing costs are just one of the benefits that Swaminathan and Abendschein had identified. The new system would reduce the costs of field checks, improve reading accuracy, reduce water leaks, spur conservation by giving customers more data about their energy use and reduce complaints over high bills. Swaminathan said that in one case, a customer who was out of town detected a water leak through the smart meter. The discovery, which prompted the city to repair, saved the customer about $100 on the water bill, Swanimathan said.

The effort, however, is not without risks. According to the report, factors that can complicate the city's adoption of smart-grid technology include competition from other infrastructure projects; poor staff engagement and management; ill-defined contracts that lead to improper levels of configuration or missed integrations; and lack of council-approved policies and protocols to "effectively respond in a new technology environment," which includes the risk of cyber-attacks.

Because Palo Alto is such a late adopter of smart-grid technology, the city can take many lessons from other communities that have adopted such technology over the past decade, said Judith Schwartz, a member of the city's Utilities Advisory Commission and president of To the Point, a consulting firm that focuses on smart-grid technology. At the Oct. 16 meeting, Schwartz urged the council to carefully consider the different needs of its customers so that it can use different tools to shift their behavior.

One of the benefits of adopting advanced metering infrastructure, Schwartz said, is "the variability you're allowed to give to different people in the community." She urged the council to seriously consider the city's needs and objectives before moving ahead with a new system.

"We can do it as a giant mess or we can have people be really happy," Schwartz told the Finance Committee. "Unless we have an open opportunity to really talk to the City Council about what works and what doesn't work, you can very easily give direction to staff that could be really problematic."

Palo Alto's march toward a new smart-grid system is occurring at the same time as the city is preparing to switch to a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) system and to adopt a new customer-billing system. The city plans to move ahead with contracts for the latter two systems next year and to implement them shortly thereafter. Swaminathan said staff expects to bring forward the contracts for the new smart grid system in 2020 and then gradually adopt them over the next three years, with the goal of completing the rollout in 2023.

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Comments

30 people like this
Posted by Water Rates are a Ripoff
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2018 at 11:27 am

Water Rates are a Ripoff is a registered user.

Palo Utilities Water Rates are the biggest scam in town.

Palo Alto Residential Water Rates vs. Milpitas:

5/8 inch monthly charge:
* Palo Alto: $18.43
* Milpitas: $9.72 ($19.44 bi-monthly)

Volumetric charges (CCF = 748 gallons):
* Palo Alto: $6.64/CCF (up to 6 CCF), $9.44/CCF thereafter
* Milpitas: $5.13/CCF
* (Both provide Hetch Hetchy water.)

Palo Alto Rates: Web Link
Milpitas Rates: Web Link

Call your City Council. Give them an earful.


28 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Thanks for those numbers.

Last year PA Utilities generated a $19,500,000 "surplus" siphoning our money into the General Fund because of outrageous water rates. What's the current surplus after all our rate hikes this year??

This year I've brought in irrigation specialists from the city, the county and private companies to try to figure out why our monthly water bills vary so wildly with NO change in our behavior, up to $452 a month, down to $190.

Why? No one can explain it. The utilities guys admit even they can't understand the billing system.

Now reading the auditor's report about our departing Info Tech guy and his non-working systems, I'm wondering if it's just a billing problem.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Not so sure about smart meters, but how about some smart underground powerlines?


16 people like this
Posted by MI electrical engineer
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm

smart meters will have serious adverse health effects Why does the city council want to destroy the health of all the residents? They should be held liable for all the damages that will result


18 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 23, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

PS: Thinking back on our water bill saga, I'm reminded of one conversation with PA Utilities where they said they had no record of my previous complaints and calls because "the computer system" wouldn't "let them" call up call up individual records and they "might" have to look in several different systems.

This is similar to responses I got when reporting the non-draining storm drain creating "Lake Middlefield" where the "computer wouldn't let them" search by location of the problem.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 23, 2018 at 12:42 pm

On social media I continue to read about the seriously adverse health effects of smart meters.

I for one would absolutely choose not to have one installed in my house.

While still receiving utilities, would it be possible to prevent the installation of a smart meter on an individual basis?


7 people like this
Posted by MIT electrical engineer, MD
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 23, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Dear resident
The problem is you will be blasted by the neighbours' smart meters. These are always emitting strong periodic signals, and your neighbours' smart meters will affect you as well


3 people like this
Posted by John Sack
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 23, 2018 at 1:57 pm

I was surprised to learn from the city that I couldn't join the smart meter pilot, because I have solar panels. Apparently the two were not then compatible. (A city manager explained to me why it was economically unhelpful to the city, so I couldn't participate, even though we have two electric cars.) Of course that seemed odd given the goal of getting onto renewables.

Has that incompatibility of solar with smart meters changed with this decision to move forward?


5 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 23, 2018 at 2:21 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Before the CC considers ANYTHING like this, read the real life FAILURE of trying to work with Fxcel ( which isn't } to create a showcase of " smart grid " systems. That $50 MILLION failure is paid for by the other ratepayers, effectively hostages who don't have a voice in the matter becaude the PUC is a lapdog for the companies they are not the watchdog as they are guaranteed a job with those companies when they step down.

Watch your step!


Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 23, 2018 at 2:22 pm

@MI electrical engineer, Don't worry about adverse effects from the Smart Meters. The City Council approved traffic problems/overdevelopment will kill you long before the meters will get you.

Did we ever fix that single point of failure that caused a Palo Alto only citywide blackout a few years back?


2 people like this
Posted by MIT ENgineer MD
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 23, 2018 at 2:35 pm

thank you Jphn Sack. Perhaps solar will protect my house from a smart meter. But it won't protect from the house a few feet away.


7 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm

@MIT ENgineer MD, Power levels drop as the cube of the distance...


3 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

“Online Name” notes the large transfer to the General Fund from the Utilities Dept. and blames that for Palo Alto’s high water rates. Absolutely not true so be skeptical about anything from that poster. Yes, Palo Alto has some of the highest water rates around—that’s true. However, the transfer is only from the gas and electric funds—so zero to do with water rates.

Residents should LOVE the transfer from the General Fund since the largest (by far) fraction of electric revenues to the City are paid by non-residential accounts. So if they love their parks, libraries and police and fire services, residents should love the General Fund transfer. Without the transfer, gas and electric rates would be lowered—especially gas rates—but there would be much less money for Palo Alto’s current service levels.

Now back to the article’s subject: smart grid. It’s about time Palo Alto caught up to the rest of the world in providing this service. How fast will it be rolled out?


13 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Member, I try to be accurate and just waded through the 520-page budget to see to if the water rates were included in the General Funds transfer rates. Web Link

You may be right about what's included in the transfer to the General Fund. There's so much verbiage in the Utilities section -- an 11% increase in wastewater rates, a 4% increase in regular water rates -- that it's tough to know; if I was wrong, apologies.

While the report claims the transfers dropped slightly from $19,500,00 to $19,300,000, PA Online's report of the lawsuit against the transfers gave the figure as $20,800,000.

"The annual transfer has gradually swelled since 1909, when the council shifted $22,755 from the water, electric and gas funds. It crossed the $1-million threshold in 1961 and the $10-million mark in 1995. The current budget includes $20.8 million in transfers from the various utility funds, $700,000 more than in the prior year."

No one LOVES being over-charged. The developers sure don't and their fees are dropping nicely. But my search reminded of the lawsuit protesting the funds transfer filed January 2018 and am wondering what the current status is. Maybe you know?

Web Link
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Member
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 23, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Online Name, no I don’t know about the lawsuit, but that could be very interesting! Hopefully, at least transparency would be a good outcome of a lawsuit to stop the transfers. I do know they used to take a transfer from the Water Fund, but stopped at least 5 years ago (when Council really cranked up the transfer from gas). If you look at all Gas Fund costs, the transfer is a very large part—percentagewise much more than electric.


3 people like this
Posted by About Water Rates
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2018 at 7:09 pm

@ Water Rates are a Ripoff

Palo Alto water rates are based on getting Hetch Hetchy water from the SFPUC. Milpitas water rates are based on getting ground water from the SCVWD and some water from the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. Milpitas does not get Hetch Hetchy water, so their water is not as "tasty" as Palo Alto water.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 23, 2018 at 7:20 pm

Here is one of the many articles appearing on the health effects of smart meters:

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Posted by Resident, a resident of College Terrace

>> Here is one of the many articles appearing on the health effects of smart meters: Web Link

I hate to break it to you, but, this (NewsTarget) website is full of completely random non-science, including refuted anti-vaccination junk of the type that has started to cost lives. Ignore anything you read on NewsTarget. I don't doubt that somewhere there are one or two correct items-- a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

Look for real scientific information using: Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 23, 2018 at 9:50 pm

Wow, so much bad info in these chat boards. “About Water Rates” is totally wrong. Milpitas definitely gets Hetch Hetchy water—about 60% from Hetch Hetchy, rest from Santa Clara Valley Water District! No groundwater (except for emergencies). See: Web Link.

Please only post facts. Despite Trump, we are not in a post-fact world.


4 people like this
Posted by Suzanne Keehn
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 24, 2018 at 11:34 am

Suzanne Keehn is a registered user.


Letter I just wrote to the City Council,

I am shocked that you all voted for 'smart meters' 8 to 0, such a vote must mean that
you don't understand their effect on our health. I have a DVD that will explain it to you, if you
would look at it. PLEASE do your research and due diligence. I have always been so glad that
Palo Alto didn't use them. They have many ill and long term effects on our bodies, energy wise,
cancer etc. Please Re look and reverse this vote.

I can refer you to professionals who you can interview and learn why they are not healthy for
us, or other living things.
There is a DVD 'Take Back Your Power" It discusses not only the many health risks, but the ways this technology decreases our privacy even more.
The DVD includes doctors, researchers, and those who know how it taps our private information and more.

You will also find online many articles saying how safe they are, and those who have issues are totally wrong, less radiation than a cell phone etc. However, we already know that putting cell phones to your ear does cause brain cancer, and I can refer you to people this has happened to. Anyone with heart issues could really have problems with the radiation.

Please send your own letter to the city council and ask them to reverse this vote.

Smart Meters--Safe or Not? Facts you should know!

Smart Meters are coming to your neighborhood--but is that a good thing? Here are some facts you should know abou...

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Posted by Suzanne Keehn, a resident of Barron Park

>> Letter I just wrote to the City Council,

>> I am shocked that you all voted for 'smart meters' 8 to 0, such a vote must mean that you don't understand their effect on our health. I

>> Smart Meters--Safe or Not? Facts you should know!

Unfortunately, your references to some absurd, non-factual information about health effects undermines your case and actually will make it easier to dismiss legitimate concerns.

There -are- significant privacy and security concerns with "smart meters" as currently implemented today. The CC should not go into this with blinders on. I'm guessing that they think the privacy and security concerns are easy to address and surely must all have been addressed already by others who have gone before. They would be incorrect about that.


9 people like this
Posted by Not The Onion
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Nov 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Thank you for the hysterically funny warnings about smart meter's damaging your health.

Without a doubt, this is the single most hilarious adverse reaction to CPA implementing a smart meter system.

Of all the well considered reasons not to implement a smart meter system (and I think that the technology is now well understood and its advantages known) this single argument stands alone in its distance from anything remotely germane to the discussion. Yet, the author seems to have encouraged several other "supporters" to sound a similar alarm.

Please start issuing our tin foil (not aluminium..it causes cancer) hats...we'll need them.


6 people like this
Posted by MIT Electrical Engineer MD
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 24, 2018 at 1:06 pm

thank God for the anon posts. Some sanity amidst the rush to greed, looking cool and destroying our health. Smart meters and wifi and 5 G are comparable to the cigarette industry tactics of the last century. If the city council wants to destroy their health and soak in toxic EMF waves and signals, that is their right to do so. To inflict it on residents who see through the superficial allure of fancy gadgets is criminal. Yet, when has the isolated (apparently junket taking) city council ever cared about the health of the residents?

Check out my podcast on 5 G Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Not The Onion
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 24, 2018 at 1:45 pm

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology continues to provide our nation with a plethora of well educated and frankly humorous engineers and medical doctors.

In the name of science, lets all don our protective tin foil hats and run from anything that looks like a vaccination syringe.

You guys are the gifts that keep on giving.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2018 at 9:54 am

Posted by Not The Onion, a resident of Palo Verde School

>> Of all the well considered reasons not to implement a smart meter system (and I think that the technology is now well understood and its advantages known)

The advantages are known, but, some of the security issues are not well understood at the operational level. "Network security" is well understood in theory, but, on the implementation/operation side, not so much.

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."

In the real world, operational security is hard, which is the opposite of cheap and automatic.


11 people like this
Posted by MI/ MSEE
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 25, 2018 at 1:29 pm

> smart meters will have serious adverse health effects Why does the city council want to destroy the health of all the residents? They should be held liable for all the damages that will result

> The problem is you will be blasted by the neighbours' smart meters. These are always emitting strong periodic signals, and your neighbours' smart meters will affect you as well

I will be covering my entire smart meter with one of those lead patient aprons hygienists use during dental X-rays.

Once I get the proper dimensions down, I am planning to manufacture these protective covers in bulk with custom sizing and then sell them to concerned residents throughout the country. This concept will make me a very wealthy person + it is a humanistic endeavor worthy of worldwide recognition. Palo Alto Municipal Utilities should consider providing them to all residents upon full implementation of the smart meters.

When people start getting sick and dying from unprotected smart meters, it could become a national epidemic...one that might have been prevented with a revolutionary and fully protective smart meter cover. People who regularly work outdoors will be especially susceptible.

MIT grads tend not only to look but actually 'see' beyond the box (in this case a smart meter). As a result, we are highly acknowledged in our respective fields.

Don't let a smart meter damage your health. It might take some accrued time but the radiation emanating from countless houses in any given neighborhood will be similar to receiving over 25+ dental X-rays 24/7/365.

Once upon a time, asbestos and lead paints were easily overlooked as potential health hazards. Don't let a smart meter be your grim reaper.







2 people like this
Posted by MIT Electrical Engineer MD.
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 25, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Thank you other MIT MSEE for weighing in. Someone else with common sense who is not hiding like an ostrich and denying the realities of the irresponsible behaviour of our city council. We should meet up. You can find my identity through my podcast mentioned above.


7 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 26, 2018 at 11:55 am

@MIT ENgineer MD

I hope you don't own a TV or a cell phone or a microwave. Stop spouting false info about smart meters being harmful.


11 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 26, 2018 at 2:24 pm

"If the city council wants to destroy their health and soak in toxic EMF waves and signals, that is their right to do so. To inflict it on residents who see through the superficial allure of fancy gadgets is criminal."

I knew you weren't a EE, let alone an MIT grad. But come on, EMF waves? What real EE says EMF waves? Give me a break.

But your blog contains a germ of fact: "... very low frequencies that disrupts many bodily functions."

Look to the radio broadcast spectrum for validation. We got NPR in the FM band at frequencies around 90 million cycles per second, and we got Rush Limbaugh and his ilk in the low frequency AM band around 1 million cycles per second who disrupt bodily functions by inducing chronic emesis.


11 people like this
Posted by Modern day Health Threats
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm

> I hope you don't own a TV or a cell phone or a microwave. Stop spouting false info about smart meters being harmful.

(1) I watch TV from a distance. Even in the days of CRT TVs, there were cautions about children being too near them.
(2) I put my cell phone on speaker & do not hold it up against my ear.
(3) I do not watch the food cook when operating a microwave oven.
(4) Smart meters could prove hazardous in large numbers. We'll wait & see.

People living in primitive environments do not suffer from the same ailments as those living in the modern world. High-tech conveniences & entertainments outlets are silent killers. Add processed food into the mix as well. And modern weaponry.

Be safe out there. No need to die over something stupid...including war.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2018 at 6:09 am

Posted by Jerry, a resident of College Terrace

>> Stop spouting false info about smart meters being harmful.

I have a lot of concerns about smart meters also-- concerns about privacy and security. I want to see a detailed security plan. Security plan secret? That would prove that the folks implementing smart meters don't know that "security through obscurity" is sure to fail.


16 people like this
Posted by Zapped
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 27, 2018 at 9:02 am

I no longer use a microwave oven or a cell phone as the potential dangers outweigh the convenience.

Dental X-rays are also being administered too frequently. It's a cash cow for dentists. Ever notice how far away the technician goes after she/he wraps you in that lead blanket and hits the on button?

Smart meters are the next one in a long line of hazardous applications.



6 people like this
Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 27, 2018 at 9:20 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

Writing in the vein of paranoia that seems to surround this issue and not at all serious...

I read on a really obscure online news site Google plans to add equipment to its Google Maps vehicles that will capture our utility use information. The data will be used to create ultra-targeted ads for such products as efficient landscape irrigation and heating/cooling systems. Google will charge advertisers based on an algorithm that determines what kind of systems are in place using such additional factors as the age and size of the home. Therefore, someone living in an older home with high energy and water use would be a more valuable target than the owner of a larger, newer home with below-average use.

I also heard a disgraced former Google exec plans to purchase the data and create a web site that offers landlords the ability to easily check energy usage in their units to determine if more people are living there than allowed in the lease. Landlords that rent to college students and poor people would pay a premium for access, of course.


13 people like this
Posted by Smart Meters Will Alter Life Itself in PA
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 27, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Smart meters (some in multiples) installed at every single dwelling in Palo Alto (i.e. houses, duplexes, triplexes, apartment complexes etc.) + all of the ones installed at commercial and industrial buildings throughout the city will turn PA into a mini RF/EMF bomb.

Aside from related brain diseases, birth defects could also increase. Rather than wait for our future children to be born with both eyes on one side of their head and with flippers instead of hands, wouldn't it be better not to implement these deadly electro-pollutant devices?




Like this comment
Posted by Not The Onion
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm

This thread supposing the dangerous smart meters is the gift that keeps on giving.

BTW...how about that 60hz hum from those power line transformers...is that rotting our collective minds too?

Seems plausible to be concerned about the security of a "smart" meter if it can be turned off remotely by a nefarious agent. Not sure if it can. But, that said, these have been around for a decade and we don't hear about random homes being shut off by hackers.

I would think there would be a significant body of reliable documentation if these have been hacked. Also, utilities have a pretty high level of incentive to make certain that the meters cannot be manipulated (hint - it costs them money).


5 people like this
Posted by Protect America
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 27, 2018 at 5:45 pm

> Seems plausible to be concerned about the security of a "smart" meter if it can be turned off remotely by a nefarious agent. Not sure if it can. But, that said, these have been around for a decade and we don't hear about random homes being shut off by hackers.

If our elections can be hacked, a smart meter is child's play for the 'nefarious agents' who want to destroy America by cutting of its electricity.

Perhaps the City of Palo Alto should provide Honda generators (at no additional cost) to every dwelling/business where a smart meter is being installed.


4 people like this
Posted by Another angle
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 27, 2018 at 8:19 pm

I’m concerned about Big Brother type government “oversight” of our energy usage. Not convinced government bureaucrats operate in sensible ways and should be in a position to monitor everything we do with respect to energy usage in our private spaces. Why are they the better judge of this than us? It’s likely to lead to control.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2018 at 9:30 am

Descriptions of projects like this always concern me because it is clear that either the people in charge don't understand privacy and security, OR, they think that the public somehow shouldn't be told much because we would worry too much. Bad idea. Because, there are concerns, and there is no hiding it. From an abstract of a 2015 paper, emphases added **:

"However, the liberalization of the metering market requires few strong security and privacy requirements for the metering data. **Smart metering raises many security and privacy concerns**. There are worries that the personal information of consumers could be disclosed. There are also concerns about frauds exploiting security vulnerabilities in smart metering systems on a large scale, e.g., making smart meters provide false metering data to the service providers. From a macro perspective, **the smart grids, including the smart metering systems and devices can be attacked to bring down the whole grid or at least some parts of the grid**, which is a concern of national security. This paper focuses on the security and privacy aspects of the smart metering systems. Potential attackers, security threats and attacks on smart metering systems are listed and the security approaches to address the security issues are presented. A **security by design** approach for secure smart metering is discussed in the paper. "

In fact, there is an IEEE Smart Energy Grid Engineering (SEGE) special interest group, and there are conferences devoted to the subject (the above paper came from a conference).

Web Link

We, the public, need to know that the people in charge understand that this is actually a hard problem, and, they need to give real attention to the issues.


8 people like this
Posted by Smart Meters & Genetics
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2018 at 2:42 pm

I am primarily concerned about spurious EMF/RF transmissions adversely affecting my reproductive system. If they have the potential to create genetic mutations then the health and safety factors of smart meters must be further studied prior to mass implementation.

It's not fair to the future children who will be coming into this world if they are paying a price for technological innovation.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Posted by Smart Meters & Genetics, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> I am primarily concerned about spurious EMF/RF transmissions adversely affecting my reproductive system.

It is reasonable to be concerned. Do you have a cell-phone, and, if so, where do you carry it? Pants pocket? Lowish jacket pocket?

Web Link

I suggest carrying your cell-phone in a backpack, rather than your pants pocket, and, not sitting on the smart meter. The inverse-square effect makes me indifferent to low-power devices far away.

I will add that for sure a cell-phone in your pants pocket is not a reliable contraceptive, but, surreptitiously taking it out and watching sports or games on a date might be. ;-)


1 person likes this
Posted by MIT Electrical Engineer MD
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2018 at 9:03 pm

MIT Electrical Engineer MD is a registered user.

dear anon

wi fi affects the sperm, decreasing the number and increasing the sperm defects. studies of carrying a cell phone in the pocket have come up with this results. It is cheaper than a vascetomy. It has also been postulated that wi fi affects the ovaries as well.

Beverly Rubrik's studies show that cells are adversely affected by carrying the cell phone in the back pack. Cells turn into "rouleau' cells. Wi fi interferes with intercellular communication.

Some say that we can partially detox if there is no wifi around when we sleep. Smart meters will prevent this partial EMF detox.

The safest thing to do is put it in airplane mode. It is worst when in a moving metal container such as a car, train and elevator. Our heads become the antenna, and the changes when the cell is searching between towers (changing from a weak, strong, weak signal causes the most problems.


12 people like this
Posted by RF Precautions
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 29, 2018 at 2:42 pm

> I am primarily concerned about spurious EMF/RF transmissions adversely affecting my reproductive system.
> I will add that for sure a cell-phone in your pants pocket is not a reliable contraceptive
> wi fi affects the sperm, decreasing the number and increasing the sperm defects.

Since I am 78 and have no intention of bringing anymore children into this world, I would imagine it doesn't matter where I pack my iPhone.

On the other hand, in the event I become widowed and hook-up with a 25-year old woman who wants to have children, this could become an issue.


3 people like this
Posted by BS, RFD, RTTY
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 29, 2018 at 8:16 pm

"wi fi affects the sperm, decreasing the number and increasing the sperm defects. studies of carrying a cell phone in the pocket have come up with this results. It is cheaper than a vascetomy. It has also been postulated that wi fi affects the ovaries as well."

You have it backwards. WiFi [note the spelling] affects the ovaries; it is only postulated that it affects the sperm as well. But new results appear daily, so stay alert.

"Beverly Rubrik's studies show that cells are adversely affected by carrying the cell phone in the back pack. Cells turn into "rouleau' cells. Wi fi interferes with intercellular communication."

That's why the in the know people carry their cells in their hands where they can watch them continually, where they cant interfere with intercellular communications and degrade your cellphone service.

"Some say that we can partially detox if there is no wifi around when we sleep. Smart meters will prevent this partial EMF detox."

Any cell or WiFi transmission within 100 yards will prevent partial detox, as will any trace of fluoride or hexachlorophene in one's water or toothpaste. Baking soda is also suspect.

"The safest thing to do is put it in airplane mode. It is worst when in a moving metal container such as a car, train and elevator. Our heads become the antenna, and the changes when the cell is searching between towers (changing from a weak, strong, weak signal causes the most problems."

The only proven protection is a certified TEMPEST-IV full body mylar/kynar/tinfoil suit with self-contained breathing apparatus and integral waste handling facilities. Professionally-fitted tinfoil hats avail only partial protection but they are a feasible fallback for those who do not value their cells highly enough to shell out $150k or so for a proper certified TEMPEST-IV full body mylar/kynar/tinfoil suit. Decent tinfoil hats can by purchased in bulk online for about $3k per unit. Alibaba generally offers the best selection. Be sure yours are certified to at least MIL-TDD-41. Some report better results from stacking three or more tinfoil hats, but you really need a certified TEMPEST-IV full body mylar/kynar/tinfoil suit for acceptable protection.


5 people like this
Posted by Technology Is Our Friend
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2018 at 7:53 am

The demise of the public payphones have added to the increased sales and usage of personal cell phones. Convenience and on the spot availability are the key benefits.

If defective offspring and damaged reproductive systems are the price society must pay for this modern day accessory, we will just have to live with it or go back to texting via pigeons and voice communications with tin cans and string.

The smart meter hysteria is akin to global warming concerns. It all comes with the territory. To avoid these worries, we would have to resort to older technologies and do away with modern industrialization and transportation.

Nobody wants that.




2 people like this
Posted by What's On the Radio?
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 30, 2018 at 5:59 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Concentrated Smart Meters
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 1, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Why not simply have banks of smart meters at a set location like mailboxes at apartment complexes? They could be housed and effectively shielded in a building or shed.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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