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Unclassified Info: Covert meter installation really smarts

July 18, 2011|By Gary Huerta

On July 8 in this paper, Glenn Steiger, general manager of Glendale Water & Power said, “If customers would like to have direct dialogue with us, they can attend one of our ‘Coffees in the Park’ so that we may address any questions or concerns.”

Well it just so happens I did not need to go to a park to have a direct dialogue with an employee working on behalf of Glendale Water & Power. I did it in my backyard as he tried to install a smart meter for the house where I live.

Let me set the scene: I was at home working when my two dogs began barking wildly. Thinking it was a solicitor, I did not feel any need to hobble to the door. A short time later, I went to the kitchen and saw the utility technician in my backyard. Curious, I opened the back door and asked what he was doing.

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“I’m here to install your smart meter,” he said.

“But I don’t want one and I didn’t ask for one,” I replied.

“We gave you notice.”

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FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated Gary Huerta is a Glendale Water & Power customer. He lives at the residence, but is not the billing customer. Glendale Water & Power verified sending a notice of the meter installation to that customer.

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The worker said that he had already removed the seal from the old meter, and that he would have to leave my house and get a new seal if I refused the smart meter.

“Better get moving then, because I’m just fine with the old meter,” I told him.

The worker complied and left my old meter intact. I felt relieved no resistance was offered.

The next day I went to work. And when I came back, there was a smart meter installed on the house. Maybe it’s simply a matter of Glendale Water & Power knowing how much abuse it can dole out without fear of recrimination.

When it comes down to it, who can we really turn to when big business decides to impose its will? I am beginning to wonder if John Q. Public has a voice anymore. It doesn’t feel like it.

Clearly, there was nothing wrong with the old meter. So what is the point of this expensive meter-switching project?

In my opinion, the exercise of installing smart meters is one of profit. Think about it. When was the last time you heard about any large business investing a large sum of money without expecting a return on investment?

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