With the controversy over meters in Knysna, i thought it appropriate to mention the latest gadget to hit South Africa, the Itron Smart Meter. Appropriate because what happens in the big cities can always be rolled out to small towns like ours.
The City of Johannesburg just signed a R1.5billion deal with Itron and Edison Power for a meter that will measure your electrical consumption and assist power savings. Sounds terrific but as with so much nowadays there’s a darker underbelly that puts corporate money first and the public last.
The dark side is that it shoots short bursts of radiation which can impact your health. It also data mines your usage so that it is possible, at a later stage, for you to be targeted by adverts targeting your lifestyle pattern or when you simply turn on your computer. May not sound nefarious to some of you but if you look at how our government and organizations such as Google are abusing us right now, it will become scarier.
Does this ‘energy saving device‘ help the consumer at the end of the day? The real abuse of our water and electricity are factories and the ridiculous amount of wastage going into making products that will die early deaths and require even more resources to destroy. The burden is not, as the government would suggest, on the public.
Thanks to the Johan Joubert Community for pointing out this trailer to a documentary opposing this Smart meter:
And, if this product is so great, why has the USA steamrolled it forward without sufficient testing and legally required public consultation? Who really benefits from the taxpayer’s money that gets invested into this? As said on the TelecomEngine website, regards South Africa, “Central to the whole project is also a significant investment in black economic empowerment, skills development and expanded localized support capacity.”
Rob Wipond has written a brilliant article on the Itron Smart Meter which weighs up the benefits versus a hidden agenda – Getting a Read on Smart Meters is essential reading. Consumer’s Digest also did an investigative report which was entitled Why Smart Meters Might Be A Dumb Idea.
Wipond: “Essentially, like oil companies helping shape national energy policies, these corporations want to shape the way electricity is used and “green” electric products are developed. Sounds great – if you believe these corporations will do it with nothing but the noblest of intentions.”