Letter To The Editor: Wireless Metering Bad Idea…

By MIKE DEMPSEY
Los Alamos
 
Dear Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities and Los Alamos County Council. First, I would like to thank the Los Alamos Utilities Department for the Excellent Reliability and Quality of their service. For many reasons, everyday I think about how VERY THANKFUL that my family and I have electric power, clean water, natural gas and a flush toilet 24/7/365. Thank you! You are doing an excellent job!
 
I travel extensively, and have been following the issue of wireless metering of our utilities by long distance. I have been unable to attend any BPU or County Council meetings on this topic. I am totally against the idea of wireless metering, and have/will opt out of the program. I believe it a a HUGE MISTAKE, DANGEROUS AND A WASTE of RATEPAYERS MONEY AND RESOURCES (>$6 million correct?). I believe it also opens the customer to many forms of abuse, by hacking, failure, and mischief, to name a few.  
 
To be blunt: not one person on Earth could describe every circuit, chip, or line of code that will be in the wireless electricity meter that is proposed. Ask Boeing, think 737’s falling out of the sky.
 
A chip is specifically made for a curling iron and later the factory gets a order for a chip for a toaster. The chip factory DOES NOT make a new template (way to expensive!) The chip factory only modifies an existing template (simplification: whiteout, eraser and pencil), and someone writes some new code. If you don’t believe that’s how it works, or that you think anyone could describe every circuit or analyze every line of code on a chip that has been repurposed, you are deceiving yourself. Think about why all weapons chips are made in the USA? Now think about hacking, failure, and mischief.
 
Now ask yourself: If my fully mechanical gas or water meter, or simple (probably non-chipped) electricity meter broke, I bet a worker from the County could change it out in a couple of hours!  And I bet it could be repaired! Some new gaskets or other parts, and it would be as good as new! How environmentally friendly is that!!!
 
Has the BPU considered the way people in RURAL New Mexico deal with meter reading?
 
Send the customers a United State Postal Service Postcard. In the past, I did this for 16 years.
 
The customer looks at the gas and electric meters (in my case the are together about 5 feet apart). The customer writes down the readings on the postcard and drops it in the mail.
 
I agree this does not work well for the water meter due to the frost line here, but my water meter already has a RFID type reader (some method of communicating via a hard wire to the top of the cover), so maybe we will only save $4 million?
 
There will be mistakes sure, but a meter reading human can come around if there is a discrepancy or once a year (like they did at my rural homes) and check things. You could put instructions on-line if anyone has questions.
 
Please consider this option, think of all the greenhouse gas that WILL NOT BE GENERATED by mining: lithium (batteries), iron and aluminum (giant diesel trucks, earthmoving, loss of topsoil etc), plastics manufacture (oil), smelting steel (coal) and aluminum (precious electricity), silicon chips (huge carbon footprint!) fabricating, packaging, inventorying, transporting overseas, warehousing, inventorying again, installing, driving county trucks up down and all over, disposing of the packaging the meters will come in AND RECYCLING AS SCRAP PERFECTLY GOOD MADE IN THE USA ELECTRICITY, GAS AND WATER METERS!!!
 
If the worry is that the old meters will wear out and need to be replaced, I guarantee that some of the cities that are switching to wireless meters will have many old meters of all types at SCRAP metal prices! Reuse and Repair! Think how GREEN that is!
CSTsiteisloaded