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Enlightened Iowans say no to smart meters

image credit: ID 152100678 © Pavel Siamionau |
Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

  • Member since 2018
  • 607 items added with 299,338 views
  • Jun 2, 2020

I came across a worthwhile utility-related read during my news scan this morning. It’s an article about the efforts of locals in Fairfield, Iowa, to beat back Alliant’s smart meter push. 

The story is well written and entertaining, so read it if you have time. Otherwise, I’ll give you a brief summary: 

In the 1970’s, Fairfield’s small liberal arts college closed and its facilities were purchased by an Indian guru and his followers. They turned it into a spiritual learning center, and ever since the town has been home to a large community of new-age, silent retreat types. When the local utility started phasing out analog meters in 2017, the enlightened locals revolted, claiming that signals from the meters would make them sick etc. 

The author explains the resistance effort: 

“In the summer after Alliant proposed its opt-out terms, two Fairfield residents — including Lipman — launched their attack. They submitted petitions to the state regulator, the Iowa Utilities Board, to intervene in the process whereby the board reviews Alliant's proposal….In the 50-page ruling, the board rejected Alliant's proposed tariffs, it said Alliant's customers would be able to opt out of smart meters on an ongoing, permanent basis, and that they would be able to hold on to their analog meters until they failed...What's more, the board ruled that Alliant would have to provide another alternative — a low-transmission smart meter that emits a signal once a month.”

Obviously Fairfield is a special town, but the article did get me wondering about the ignorance-fueled hurdles smart meters and other helpful technologies face. Earlier last decade, when smart meters were first breaking onto the scene, there was a lot of news about disgruntled customers. Since then, however, I haven’t seen much resistance to the innovation. For the sake of energy efficiency, load management, financial planning and science, let’s hope that Fairfield is atypical.


Henry Craver's picture
Thank Henry for the Post!
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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 2, 2020

Though religious disciples initiated resistance to the meters, Henry, even if for kooky reasons - it's possible many less-enlightened citizens rejected them for reasons of privacy.

In 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark opinion: that the Fourth Amendment protects energy-consumption data collected by smart meters. In some cases, they said, smart meters constitute an "illegal search". So the citizens might have had not ignorance, but judicial precedent on their side.



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