Smart meters – still waiting for the benefit

I think it was 2012 that I received a letter from my electricity provider telling me the ‘good news’ that I was to have a smart meter fitted to my home.

Thankfully, I had already done my research and had already decided I didn’t want one. And at this point I expect someone to yell out that I am a “left wing conspiracy theorist”. Well, I might be, it just depends on your politics and who – in the end – is deemed to be correct.

You see I am a bit old fashioned, and if something appears to be working well I say leave it alone. I came to this way of life in the 1990s when I ‘played’ once too often with the operating system of my Apple Mac.

I dug such a hole for myself that I had to wipe the hard drive and start again. I was one of those people who would fiddle to see what happened next.

Like I did when I was 11 and pulled apart my uncle’s reel to reel tape machine until I had nothing but an empty wooden box and a million parts on my bedroom floor. I put all the parts back in the box and closed the lid – hoping no one would ever want to play a tape ever again.

So, back to the smart meter. The power firm wasn’t having any of it when I said I did not want one. They insisted I must have it because my meter’s validity was to expire in 2015.

Getting nowhere fast with the nice call centre staff I wrote an email to the firm. Still the letters came to confirm the installation date.

That was then I saw that a small firm from Tauranga was doing the installation. Mmmm.

I wrote to its managing director and said I’d hold them responsible should the smart meter cause me any problems – such as catching fire, health issues, or sudden huge power bills (I don’t believe they are totally reliable for measuring energy usage).

Within hours of sending the emailed letter I was offered a replacement analogue meter. The man at the installation firm said it would be cheaper. Analogue meters cost $15, while smart meters were $70 (I’m certain the power firm’s shareholders would be interested in that).

And to the point of this post. The power firm tried one last pitch before conceding I could  refuse their smart meter. I was told that if I didn’t have a smart meter that I would not benefit from the company’s special offers for cut price power.

Well, it’s been 4 years and I have yet to hear of any special deals offered to people with smart meters.

I have to say that I still feel good about not having a smart meter on my bedroom wall. And unlike some people, my power bills have not shot through the roof.

It is not compulsory to have a smart meter installed – no matter what anyone or any company says. It is after all your home, and all the power firm needs to do is measure your power usage. An older style (modern) analogue meter will do that.

And before you are offered an opt-out form to sign – for anything – watch this.


Imprisoning immigrants is big business

According to the makers if this 30-minute documentary, the detention of migrants has become a multi-billion dollar industry in which “immigrants are sold to the highest bidder and traded like mere products”.

Brave New Films says the Corrections Corporation of America, The Geo Group, and the Management and Training Corporation run more than 200 facilities across North America.

These facilities feature 150,000 bed spaces and rake in a total profit of close to five billion dollars a year.

Because these detention centres are paid based on the number of people held behind bars,  it is claimed there is little to no incentive to speed up the legal processes and let the detainees leave the facility.