Focused on Florida… examining deployment of smart meters and the smart grid throughout the United States.

September 2011
In Southwest Florida the news comes to residents out of the blue that smart meters are being installed, or are already in place, on our property without our permission. There was no public announcement by FPL, no mention on the local news, no discussion with communities, and no choice given.

I first heard the term “smart meter” when a postcard came from FPL in August 2011 to inform us “In the coming weeks, we will be in your neighborhood to replace your meter with a smart meter.” This is the only notice provided – and I know that some here never even received this postcard. Next, installers just show up and turn your power off to switch meters without even knocking on your door first – even while you are home. There are reports of computers getting shut off abruptly while in use, and appliances (fish tanks!) not powering back on when the owner is not home to reset switches and the like.

Huge thanks and appreciation go to many people who are working on the smart meter problem and the EMF Safety Network, Stop Smart Meters!, eon3emfblog and TURN websites; available when I searched to help me understand and prepare for what was coming. Four weeks later, this city has been installed, and still not many people here know what a smart meter is. I worry some may not even be aware smart meters have been installed at their homes. What about winter residents who are not yet down here for the season?

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), the biggest utility provider in the state, kicked off its ‘Energy Smart Florida’ with a Miami rollout in 2009, after pilot programs in Broward County in 2007 and 2008. It is one of the largest smart grid projects in the US.

This site was launched in September 2011 because I was shocked to have never heard of the smart meter before this, given that it is being placed on all our homes and businesses, has been deployed in the Miami area for two and a half years, and because I browse the net for news all the time.

There should have been a story on our local news about this new “smart” energy product coming to our home; many residents here are not online. Of everyone in town who I queried, none had heard of the smart meter. An internet search found press releases dated April 20, 2009 announcing the ‘Energy Smart Miami’ rollout, with little other news, and no mention of SW Florida. There may be some communities in Florida that were given an opportunity for public discussion before the rollout arrived, perhaps in areas served by municipal electric companies.

The smart / meter / matrix site is being developed as quickly as possible to provide a forum, and serve as a resource, for customers who want to know more and secure a choice. We need to work together across the state, served by multiple utility companies, to support each other in asserting our existing legal right to permanently opt-out of smart metering. We hope to achieve more than this, and invite you to join us.

I am merely one person who loves living on the Gulf Coast of Florida, who has many things I would rather be doing, other than talking about smart tech, and who does not want an ocean of pulsing RF microwave pollution destroying health and quality of life. I do not want our homes to be subjected to a new fire hazard, one beyond our ability to prevent, however small the probability. I do not want glitches in billing due to compromised signals, software or meter malfunctions, or due to other reasons beyond our ability to prove or even comprehend. Some food for thought: if we are successful in maintaining the right to permanently opt-out, but are required to pay a surcharge to use an analog meter, consider that this option might actually save you hundreds of dollars if your utility company has billing “glitches” with smart meters.

Lastly, I do not want a new risk to home security or invasion of privacy. We know how to conserve energy when necessary, and can manually adjust usage to off-peak hours without using wireless 2-way communications. Why should we be forced to send detailed electricity usage data via an unsecured communications network, to be stored in a database on an unsecured computer? No system is guaranteed to be protected 100% against hackers, who now can figure out if you are on vacation without leaving their couch. I am somewhat fatalistic in feeling privacy is long gone. We’ve already been hacked, tracked, recorded and sold before the smart meter came along. Thank you to those who are working toward securing real privacy and civil rights in this and many other aspects of modern life.

It is possible to have your voice heard in Florida. Find out how at our ‘ Resources’ page. Together we can accomplish something.

Please email reports from the field: your rollout experiences, community meetings, comments, and links to your local news coverage of smart meters to us at news@smartmetermatrix.org or use our confidential 'Contact' page.

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matrix
noun
"something that constitutes the place or point from which something else originates, takes form, or develops"

from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/matrix