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Smart Water Meters

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby ArturoBandini » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:49 pm

snoqueen wrote:You need to be over in the Gun Thread for that.
Fair enough, let me try again:
Dairylander wrote:but I hope to retain the right to what is or isn't installed in my own home.
Deck/roof/window/circuit/bathroom fixture/furnace/water heater that fails to meet municipal/county/state/federal building codes?
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Dairylander » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:25 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Deck/roof/window/circuit/bathroom fixture/furnace/water heater that fails to meet municipal/county/state/federal building codes?

Most of those codes exist to enhance safety and health.
I agreed with those codes, so I chose to buy a house in the city of Madison.
Now they want to install a device that may have adverse health effects, so I would like the freedom to opt out.
Why do you hate freedom, Arturo?
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:29 pm

Dairylander wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:Deck/roof/window/circuit/bathroom fixture/furnace/water heater that fails to meet municipal/county/state/federal building codes?

Most of those codes exist to enhance safety and health.
I agreed with those codes, so I chose to buy a house in the city of Madison.
Now they want to install a device that may have adverse health effects, so I would like the freedom to opt out.
Why do you hate freedom, Arturo?

Arturo is just playing devil's advocate. He is a libertarian who opposes almost all government laws and regulations.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby fennel » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:04 pm

I think a major drawback to microwaves – aside from the fact that they seem to magically remove all flavor from foods and stink up the household (not typically vented to the outdoors) – is that they encourage the use of plastics in contact with heated foods.

But the real question, for me, is: What's the stinkin' hurry? Can you really not brook the notion of preparing a meal until that very moment when you fall into a hunger-induced panic?? Just take a breath and plan more than 10 minutes in advance. Most folks should know several hours in advance when they should be eating a meal. If you have a really tight schedule, think about it the day before. Above all, don't let it be an afterthought – at least, not any more than for breathing.

Cooking is not a process that needs to be done all at once. Feel the hunger curve rising? Start some rice. Once it's boiling, drop the heat to low. Now you've got at least 40 minutes to come up with something to go with. Meanwhile you can check e-mail, get the laundry started, etc. Watching the radio? Rinse some greens in the meantime. Etc, and so on.

Food is not merely a means to an end, for crying out loud. Liberate your countertops.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:09 pm

Are you going to be sleeping with a head on your water meter? If you don't have one, won't you still get "bombarded" with radio waves from your neighbors all around you?

There is one easy solution to getting away from the vast majority of radio waves, chlorinated water and street musicians and that's to not live in a city.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby fennel » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:03 am

Has anyone heard whether the other utilities have similar plans?
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby narcoleptish » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:20 am

Probably. Lord knows we can't waste money on the inefficiency of an employee actually walking around and getting some exercise while they work. Better to sit them in front of a monitor with a bag of chips and a soda, mount a defibrillator on the wall nearby and watch em grow. Meanwhile they can use the money saved to hire a more expensive employee to troubleshoot faulty chinese-made smart meters all day.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:49 pm

I think we should scrap technology altogether.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Dairylander » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:02 pm

Shorty wrote:An Isthmus editorial about Smart Water Meters says you can opt out by calling the city at 264-5323.

I called that number and it was disconnected.
So then I called this number:
Shorty wrote: the phone to call is 266-4641.

...and they picked up. She was surprised I couldn't get through with that first number, so she called it for me on conference call and it went right through.
In the end, I was able to leave my contact info on voicemail.
They said that they are still debating the issue and will contact people when things are finalized.

Here's the city's webpage on the new meter program:
http://www.cityofmadison.com/water/programs/projectH2O/
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby donges » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:11 pm

I am part in the area for the pilot program for this and had the meter installed a couple weeks ago. So far I am not glowing.
But the way I am surrounded by technology that all emit some sort of radio wave, I assume I am now protected and cocooned by a personal shield.
Tinfoil hats are so analog.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:17 pm

Don't gas meters in Madison homes already have this technology?
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby snoqueen » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:09 pm

Our gas meters can be read from the street by the meter-reading car, but I do not believe they report individual gas usage in real time to the utility, which is what's ultimately possible with the new water metering system. Both the homeowner and the utility will be able to read and use the water-usage information being gathered.

For the individual household, knowing how much water is used by a dishwasher versus hand washing, or how much your old clothes washer uses so you can decide whether a new one makes sense, or how much you're spending watering the lawn, or how much water your kid uses taking half-hour showers is all real-world useful information.

If you wanted to, you could try isolating one form of gas usage after another (one furnace cycle, one water heater cycle, etc) and read your own meter before and after to figure how much gas you consumed. (At least this was possible with the old meters -- I haven't looked hard enough at the new one to tell if it'd still work.) Maybe you could do the same with your present water meter. But hardly anybody does, and it doesn't record usage patterns so you can graph and analyze them later on which I assume the new water meters would do.

Don't our present electric meters collect usage information continuously? Or is that just for industries which are trying to use off-peak rates? And who's offended by that? It's a good idea.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby fennel » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:14 pm

I think the City wants to move to a monthly billing cycle, and that they would never otherwise pursue installing the new meters. Anyone can have a look at their own meter if they're really that curious about day-to-day fluctuations.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby WestSideYuppie » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:41 pm

Well, I'm somewhat of a curious character, with a science background and a day gig in engineering. I was compelled to look into the technology.

From what I can tell, the smart meters are battery powered, with some sort of lithium technology that gives them a long battery lifetime -- upwards of 20 years. If that's the case, then the total amount of energy that can be given off by the meter, over the lifetime of the battery, has to be less than the amount of energy in the battery.

Same with a cellphone, but a cellphone battery gets charged every few days. So it's capable of radiating considerably more power than a smart meter. What's more, it's on your person, so you receive the full brunt of the radiation.

I think if you take into account the relative amount of microwave power allowed by the the batteries, and the inverse-square law reduction in power from the smart meter in your basement compared to a cellphone on your person, the amount of radiation exposure from the smart meter is lower by several orders of magnitude.

So I'm not worried.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby snoqueen » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:22 am

I love people who think like that.
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