Smart Meters: Creating New Vulnerabilities?
RICHMOND, Va. - Over the past few years, tens of thousands of Virginians have received new wireless, digital devices from their power companies. Known as "smart meters," they transmit information about energy use to the utility.
They are delivered with the promise of improving efficiency and reliability. However, according to some consumer advocates, government studies and cyber-security experts, they also bring an increased risk of cyber-attacks and surveillance.
Movie producer Josh del Sol debuted a film online this week, "Take Back Your Power," that asks serious questions about smart-grid technology.
"Why are we creating new vulnerabilities in the grid, and then being sold the idea that this is somehow going to make the grid more stable and reliable?" del Sol asked.
Utilities insist there are firewalls against cyber-attacks, but Virginians have launched a petition opposing the mandatory installation of wireless smart meters in the state.
Some people who have had smart meters installed have also experienced health problems and fires, del Sol added.
"What we're really hoping for 'Take Back Your Power' is that it would bring attention to these issues of privacy and rights - and even the other issues of health and fires - that have to do with smart meters and the smart grid," he explained. "It would help elevate the conversation to the national level."
On its website, Dominion Virginia Power touts the benefits of smart meters, saying they allow the company to turn power on and off without sending someone out to a home, and they can automatically notify the company in case of a power outage.
More information about the film is available at www.takebackyourpower.net.