is that dumb meters are just another way that your are being chained to big energy companies. Hear me out...
By having smart meters, we can directly compete with the utility companies (yes they are fighting that battle and losing) by installing our own renewables.
Depending on your local resources, solar or wind can be much cheaper ways to power your house. The trouble arises when you try to net-meter that power to provide yourself with a form of backup. So far, most rates only pay about 10% of the going rate for supplied power that they charge for it. With smart meters and time-of-use metering, this could easily be changed so that you can earn money for your power (not just a tiny credit).
For example, many areas pay 1.2 cents/kWh for PV power sent back to the grid. In these areas, they charge 12-15 cents/kWh for purchased power. They argue that they only need to pay the avoided cost (the fuel saved at that moment) because renewables aren't significant enough to supply mass amounts. So, according to them, they can't reduce their work force or transmission lines or anything else. Fair point, but things would change with fair metering.
If a smart meter was installed and TOU rates were charged, the price at night would be 2-4 cents/kWh and the afternoon rates would be close to 50 cents/kWh. (It's 56 cents in So.Cal.) So, under such a system, you could install PV and pay 2 cents for the 10 kWh you use each night (totaling 20 cents) and get paid 20-50 cents for the 15 kWh excess you make during the day (totaling $5). This means that instead of paying $100, you could earn $140/month.
Because this isn't possible or allowed yet, is the sole reason that home renewables haven't taken off yet. On an even comparison, they are already cheaper than grid power. The ironic part is that people fighting for lower prices are fighting TO KEEP this monopolistic system in place. One would think people could see the free market as a better alternative.
Why isn't this being done and what could it lower our prices to? The power market makes money on the margin of the highest rates (due to bidding/forecasting) charged in that region. Keeping peakers on spinning reserve keeps those rates high and x% of that higher number is a higher profit. Without this great fear of not keeping up with our demand at some odd time, the rates could immediately drop by 20%, with longterm (planned) equipment organized around it, those rates could drop another 20-30%. Coincidentally, this is about the same price to the customer that a 'fair metered' PV system would cost a customer to run now. And one last note on efficiency... This would also allow us to more than eliminate all foreign oil.