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Smart Meters and Dumb Technocrats

Politics / Energy Resources Nov 09, 2011 - 03:37 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleAt a time when public debt and deficits are out of control in the straight majority of OECD countries it is almost touching that "energy crisis" still has a bit-part role in state and corporate attempts at finding new ways to extract money from consumers and waste money on corporate kleptocrats. One of the biggest current attempts is the Smart Grid-Super Grid duo. While the second is almost pure fantasy, both technologically and financially, the first seems to offer attractive potential for gouging extra revenue from electricity consumers, to "Save the Planet" by swelling electric power company revenues and generating big ticket corporate spending on high tech gimmicks - 'Smart' Meters.

According to, the Californian electric power company PG&E has started quietly removing and replacing its wireless smart meters, just as the company reaches the final phase of its deployment of them in California. The State's largest Investor Owned Utility (with the very symbolic anagram IOU) has reversed course, supposedly because so many electricity consumers are reporting health impacts they did not have with the old trusty, cheap and low energy analog versions. So-called smart meters are heavily touted but their biggest, most-important role is to instantly enable huge rises in tariffs at "bad" times of the day, week, month or year when electricity supplies are limited and expensive. Consumers, of course, are expected to rapidly cut their electricity use at those times and with 'smart' meters cannot pretend they didnt know their tariffs were going to rise.

'Smart' meters are key corporate symbols of 'modernity' on the long high road to developing totally hypothetical "super" grids, which could or might follow their "smart" cousins, some day. The most simple and basic interest for corporate players is instant and radical hikes in power prices - 'smart' metering has been spearheaded by power companies and by related, often subsidiary wholly-owned technology firms happy to sell meters 5 to 25 times more expensive than the analogue ones they replace. In almost all OECD countries, this 'modernizing crusade' is also backed by political deciders, supposedly to save us from climate catastrophe (nothing less !). Related parts of this crusade include low-watt lightbulbs using rare earth metals produced in China under slave labour conditions, with massive environmental pollution, 10 times the price of filament bulbs they replace, and the ultimate political and corporate symbol of high tech modernity: electric cars.


More important and completely predictable, the high-flown promises of progress from 'smart' meters, ranging from lower overall and total power bills to enhanced integration of renewable generation capacity in national power grids, have failed to materialize. Smart operators with names like Zeropower, selling zero electricity by raising its price, have of course flocked into 'smart' metering like hungry wolves but the slow witted, outdated general consuming public which is forced to use them only reports higher bills, material problems including fires and explosions, and commonly reported health impacts such as headaches, nausea, tinnitus, and heart problems because of the high-power wireless transmission used to scan and transfer data from the meters.

Ironically but inevitably because they are high tech, materials intensive and multifunctional, these 'smart' meters are firstly much more expensive than analogue meters, and secondly consume vastly larger quantities of electricity than analogue meters. Overall and total cuts in electricity demand on a national basis are either absent or few and far between, in countries which have already started moving 'smart' meters into widespread use. Such is 'energy saving' as a subset of the crusade to Save the Planet, but who would expect otherwise ?

Smart Meters are identified by some analysts as a facet of the so-called Technocracy movement. This dates to the 1930s, the second world war, and the immediate afterwar period. At the time and due to war, energy shortages were commonplace. Single party or all-party coalition governments were needed, run by experts AKA Technocrats. Explaining why austerity was needed was often set in imaginative, 1950s-style science fiction terms. One example was the claim by Technocrats of the time that the consumer public would have nearly unlimited and "too cheap to meter" nuclear electric power within a very flexibly defined future time of "about 30 or 40 years". We could ask who would need 'smart' meters, if that had happened ?


Today, due to world population increasing by more than 150% since 1945, adding more than 4 000 million new consumers to the human herd, more concerned about making ends meet than saving polar bears, shortages of everything including food are no surprise at all except to the very rich - and the totally ignorant. Neither have any interest in smart meters or in dumb reality, we can add.

Technocrats of the 1930s and postwar period proclaimed they had ways (including martial law, if needed) to make us all rich and much less dumb, but they faded out as the growth economy and consumer society exploded to its recent all-time highs, around 2004-2007. With no surprise Technocrats are shoehorning back in fast, as the global growth bubble collapses, sovereign debts spiral out of control and austerity become the only show in town. In country after country in Europe, today, old style governments based on outdated notions like voting are being replaced by self-appointed National Unity governments - to fight the debt crisis and Save the Planet. These new style governments are very similar to their wartime forerunners, called Technocratic governments, whose basic role was to ration out the misery and fool the crowd with scifi images of the Radiant Future.

Technocrats are back in fashion, but the high water dirt ring left in the drying bathtub by the growth economy present a host of problems for them. Out of control world car fleets are one big example. This is a key example of what population growth-plus-economic growth of the conventional type means. While there is a quick and easy answer to electricity demand growing too fast - double or triple the price using 'smart' meters - this isnt so easy with the world's fast growing car fleets.

If we playfully imagined that China and India reached the saturation level ownership of cars that is taken as completely normal and highly desirable (by consumers if not Technocrats) in the US, Europe, Japan, South Korea and other Old World consumer countries - about 400 to 600 cars per 1000 population and more in the US case - we can easily calculate Chinese and Indian car fleet growth potentials. The question of whether non-western Chinese or non-western Indians should or should not go whole hog for the Apocalypse Wagon is not applicable: they both have nuclear weapons, huge armies and satellite-launching intercontinental missile capability. Regime change "experiments" by the debt-imploded, ex-democratic Old White World only focus small, lightly armed, easy-to-invade brownskin countries, by preference if they have oil resources to pillage but as in Afghanistan, other excuses will do.

Taking average oil consumption per car in the OECD countries, around 9 barrels per year, we can calculate the oil demand of the Chinese and Indian "mature consumer society" car fleets that are totally feasible within about 15 years, unless the global economy implodes. All that is needed as background rationale is the global economy survives and that Chinese and Indian consumers are at least as greedy as American, European and Japanese consumer herds. Plenty of signs indicate this is the case. We then have to find the oil for these Chinese and Indian car fleets.

We will not find it.


The Technocrats know this, but at present are undecided on what to do about it. To be sure, at least until Fukushima, the more grotesquely irresponsible and the most mentally deranged Technocrats could playact belief in a rash of new nuclear power plants recharging massive fleets of private electric cars all across Consumer Land. Today's downsized version of the Electric Fantasy features even less credible, but equally expensive, massive windfarms 50 miles offshore. These would supposedly be able to keep hundreds of millions of average greedy consumers mobile and capable of reaching the supermarket parking lot, by recharging their electric cars.

The answer is, or was "green energy", a playful 1970s notion of Alternative Society suited to a population of 75% or 85% less than actual. Even today we can read: "Without clean-energy sources, the world can barely sustain current demand for energy, let alone meet growing requirements. Every major global economy is developing governmental policies to ensure that clean energy comprises a significant portion of its energy portfolio by 2030". This nice theory can be dated to around 2007-2009 but Technocrats now tend to doubt this scenario. Cost are high and time is short. Car fleets go on growing. Urbanization too, as world population goes on growing at about 75 million-a-year. Under any scenario except wartime emergency programs aimed at scaling-up electric car fleets and the forced removal of oil-fuelled cars, the world faces oil shortage. Call it Peak Oil.

Surprising to some, the original Technocrats of the US variety, in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s included M. King Hubbert the "Father of Peak Oil", as well as a string of nuclear power fanatics, eugenicists, and amateurs of martial law regimes as a neat clean alternative to democracy. Even at the time, Oil Fear gnawed at their image of docile and well-controlled mass consumer herds, gaily blitzing the last resources of the planet to ruin, leaving a wasteland behind them for their beloved children to respect and admire. Borrowing from Cinderella however, Technocrats always ended their story line by nearmagic solutions, in the nick of time, which save the greedy consumer herd.

King Hubbert preferred things like nuclear power, electric trains and population control, but the much earlier Technocrat, Henry Ford, knew that greed for cars would be part and parcel of the "mature consumer society", when or if it ever happened. The diseconomies of car fleets are well known and studied but "mature consumers" can be placed in 30-mile urban tailbacks sniffing exhaust fumes day after day, and they come back for more. They can be charged more than $400-a-barrel at the filling station, as in Europe circa 2011, and they come back for more. They are Comeback Kids, it is maybe programmed in their stem cells !

Not having cars in consumer society is a nightmare: how do you get to work, to pay for the car and oil to run it, then rush down to the KFC for a dose of pesticide-riddled fastfood? Obviously there is No Alternative! Oil dependence is therefore fundamental and basic to the consumer society, over an above details like its food supply being totally dependent on oil.

Fear of oil shortage remains a powerful lever to marshall public opinion in favour of oil war and in favour of martial law.


King Hubbert might have been a Technocrat with so-called Platonic and patrician ideals, but his "idea" that oil production is not infinitely extensible and will decline is far from idiotic. The alternative to believing the Hubbert "idea", is to believe the opposite and imagine the Anglosphere elite AKA The Global Governors is responsible for high oil prices. They do it through artificially restraining production, perhaps also through purposefully invading and colonizing the wrong countries ? Under this scenario, imagining there is anything as basic as oil supply/demand imbalance because supply grows slower than demand is very dangerous for morale !

Supposedly, the same Anglosaxon elites artificially limiting oil supply were initially content and happy with extreme low oil prices, but from about 1973 until 1985, and then again since about 2005, they want high oil prices. One question is simple: How come this all-powerful bunch of Global Governors decided the 1985-2005 holiday from high-priced oil ? Was their aim to quickly drain and deplete the North Sea oil reserves of Mrs Margaret Thatcher, not specially well known as an arch-enemy of Anglosaxon power elites ?

Believers of Peak Oil conspiracy theory will point to recent breakthroughs in 'tight' gas, shale gas and coalseam gas production - first attempts at which go back to around 1795 - but gas resources have almost zero relation to oil resources. More important however, those same Global Governors could tell their docile and obedient consumer herd to convert their Apocalypse Wagons to gas, giving us a Gas Bridge to the future, but Technocrats think and operate strangely. To them, there is No Alternative to oil, and therefore Oil War. Their technocratic alternate energy strategy appears to have imploded, leaving us with little option but invade Iran or Saudi Arabia - or both.

Pushing the conspiracy theory of Peak Oil to higher levels, Smart Meters are imagined by some to be a part of The Technocrat answer to Peak Oil. Ignoring the near-zero role of oil in electricity production, conspiracy lovers argue that austerity-type rationing of everything now includes electricity as well as oil, food, water, and toilet paper. Intrusive snooping Smart Meters will help check out exactly what people are doing at home, control their energy habits, and make it easier to tax them heavier.

The idea that a handful of men can force billions to do their bidding is a fairly ridiculous notion, to some, but Facebook and Twitter, Wikileaks and Google suggest otherwise - to The Technocrats. Facing up to the reality that oil supply cannot be infinitely expanded has been defined as rigorously not politically correct. Placing the two together, Apple-type mind control and oil greed, we can fear the worst as Global Governors face identity crisis and loss of total power as their imploded economies lurch into permanent recession, and their banking systems fall apart on the public stage.

Dumping the Governors is the only way out. This is surely the goal of the OWS, Global 99 and other protest movements who are now as much part of the scene as Facebook - except the political movements are advancing and the fake identity business for snooping on zombies is shrinking. Smart meters were a part of that Technocratic vision - RIP.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2011 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2022 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Robert Williams
09 Nov 11, 14:45
Smart Meters


1. Must-See 4-minute youtube video on Smart meters


2. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION on May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless smart meters (and some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B Carcinogen List.

3. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH Feb 2011 found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

 (1) Human Cell Damage
 (2) DNA Chain Breaks 
(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier
 from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters.

5. INSURANCE COMPANIES Hired Independent Laboratory Scientists and these scientists also observed Cell Damage and DNA Chain Breaks and now the Insurance Companies will NOT Insure Liability damage from Wireless Smart meters and other wireless devices.
 TV Video (3 minutes)

Cell Phone use and other devices are Voluntary and can be shut off at the user’s discretion, but Smart meters mounted on homes are emitting radiation 24/7 and can not be shut off.

 Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes)

Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes)

 2-page Press Release

9. RADIATION MEASURED FROM SMART METER MOUNTED ON A HOME (once active in the utility system) SHOWS RADIATION TRANSMISSION PULSES APPROXIMATELY ONCE EVERY FOUR SECONDS 24 HOURS PER DAY traveling through the bodies and brains of the inhabitants of that home. 
Youtube Video (6 minutes, 1st minute is sufficient)

NOTE: many of the tests on non-ionizing radiation (the type of radiation emitted by smart meters) have been done using instruments other than smart meters because smart meters have only been in people’s homes for a very short time.

But as a Wireless smart meter emits 100 times more radiation than a cell phone, it is not difficult to project. If a machine gun (smart meter) fires 100 bullets in the same time that a pistol (cell phone) fires one bullet, it is not difficult to project the harm that the machine gun can inflict, even if the tests were done with the pistol.


10. Skyrocketing Utility Bills after installation

TV News Video (3 minutes)

11. Systemic Smart Meter Billing Errors Over 200% Uncovered in Australia

TV News Video (7 minutes) - video


12. CIA Director James Woolsey calls Smart grid “Stupid” due to National Security problems caused by so-called smart meters.

News Video (1 minute)

Mr. Widemouth
10 Nov 11, 13:16
Smart Meters - Safety & Security Issues

Smart Meters - something to be afraid of?

13 Nov 11, 16:57
Tinfoil Hats

...should ameliorate concerns about adverse health effects of smart meters.

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