Bernie Endorses Smart-Grid Tech…To Brunch at Masonic Sunday Morning

Couple “Bernie” items for you….

1) Today, Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders said he continues to support “smart-grid” technology (read The Associated Press story below). This has been a topic of some concern and controversey with CVPS/Green Mountain Power’s program for wireless meter reading.

2) We’ve been wondering why and how it is has been so quiet on the political scene? Now, we see that, as part of his Senatorial re-election effort, Bernie will be having brunch and making himself available to talk with Woodstock-area folks this coming Sunday at the Masonic Temple.

Poster says 9:30 PM, but we’re pretty sure it means 9:30am for a free brunch (brought to you by local Democrats)  with a 10:00am meeting to follow.

From the Associated Press:

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday joined utility and environmental group leaders to tout the benefits of “smart” meters, the new generation of digital electric measuring devices designed to save energy and lead to better management of the power grid.

“The bottom line is that smart grid offers real benefits for consumers and the environment,” Sanders said.

Vermont got $69 million in federal stimulus funds to modernize its electric transmission system as part of a more than $4 billion national investment in smart grid technology, Sanders said.

The effects already have been seen in Vermont, said David Hallquist, CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, which is headquartered in Johnson.

He said his utility’s smart meters cut the outage response time in half after Tropical Storm Irene struck the state last year.

“We have only begun to scratch the surface of the benefits this technology has to offer,” said Hallquist. “On an individual level, consumers are better able to manage electricity consumption. On a utility level, VEC has significantly reduced its number of outages. And on a broader level, smart grid technology is helping us to integrate more renewable energy.”

Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said Vermonters want clean energy and the smart grid will help to make that possible.

“Going door-to-door throughout the state we’ve found incredible support for wind, solar and other renewable resources,” Burns said. “Smart technology allows those resources to be integrated into the grid while giving consumers the chance to make more responsible energy choices of their own.”

Not everyone is fully on board with the technology, though. Some Vermont consumers have tried to take advantage of a state law allowing them to opt out of having a smart meter installed on their property only to find utility subcontractors have installed them anyway.

Annette Smith, founder of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, said smart meter technology can have some benefits, but that some consumers are concerned about the possible health effects of wireless transmissions that send information about electric usage from a consumer’s property to the utility. Utilities have pushed back against those criticisms, saying that wireless meters use weak signals with radio frequency emissions similar to cellphones and baby monitors.

VEC uses a wired, rather than wireless, smart meter system, though others in the state are using wireless systems.

Smith said there also are privacy concerns with the data about power usage that is collected by smart meters.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Dr. Jennifer R. Morin, B.S, D.V.M. on August 22, 2012 at 12:35

    While our family supports efforts to conserve and reduce energy usage, I feel that we should all be very wary of the wireless Smart Meter technology. Consumers in California and elsewhere have reported increases, sometimes quite large, in their electric bills following Smart Meter installation. Smart Meter installations have been halted in some areas due to fires from faulty installation. People with Smart Meters installed on their homes have experienced a wide array of sometimes disabling health issues that have gone away when they’ve been able to have the Smart Meter removed. Major medical organizations have asked for a moratorium on wireless Smart Meter technology until more research is done, as the research to date would indicate that this technology IS a risk to your health and mine. I also have serious privacy and safety concerns. I’ve called CVPS and asked to opt-out, which was a surprisingly painless process. They had better not try to install a Smart Meter on my property! Please attend this brunch and let Bernie Sanders know how you feel about wireless Smart Meter technology. If you can’t attend the brunch, then please e-mail, write and/or all Bernie Sanders and let him know how you feel. We need elected officials that research these topics on their own, listen to their constituents and then take educated positions on these important issues. We have to speak up and then vote accordingly!


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