on this thread is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.
These are monitors of electrical power usage. That's all. They measure exactly what a private company is selling to their customer and can graphically weight that purchase against time (loaded level of the local grid).
These meters CANNOT ever ever ever turn off your devices unless you purchase a device which is fully compliant with their communication system AND you sign a contract saying they'll give you a discount "on your dryer load for signing up".
These communicate (99% of the time) via standard radio technology such as WiFi, Zigbee or a few other. This transmission is less powerful than the average cell phone or wireless phone looking for a signal.
The data collected is only valuable if it is accumulated over long periods to track trends and in no way can be used to tell what channel the resident is watching (OMG, LOL!) Why would anyone care about power trends aside from those whose very business relies on matching their output to your input exactly and across every second of the year? If you want to know if someone is home, it's much faster to watch them.
Why the new push for them? Because forecasting power needs is becoming a multi-billion dollar industry. Being able to predict the power needed at a given second tomorrow by 1% more accuracy is saving up to 3% on fuel costs. Add in wind/solar and other renewable variability and that cost margin rises into double digits. Why worry that they are monitoring your TOTAL power usage when you've already given them full, time-stamped logs of all your INDIVIDUAL money transfer?
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