Data from Smart Meter

When local utilities started installing smart meters, many people got upset. I don’t really buy the health concerns while every other house in my neighborhood has a wifi network. And if you ever go to a coffee shop, you are most likely getting a blast of radiation from their wifi with that cup of joe. I would rather have a say on the reach of my neighbors’ wifi signal than on smart meters.

And then, there is the privacy issue. Does smart meter provide that much more advantage than a human meter reader? Manual reading of meters can be taken as frequently as smart meters if there is a video camera aiming at the meter all the time. Well, that would be a rather boring video and the YouTube hits would go nowhere. Another argument is related to the tracking of the residents’ activities. Aren’t we sharing all that on Twitter and Facebook? The utilities might know when I am not home but they won’t know what I had for lunch yesterday while a ton of people are sharing their lunches online. I suppose opting in to share is not the same as having the data to find out without you knowing. But smart meters are the small potatoes. Our emails and text messages are already being tracked by the giant data center in Utah. Wouldn’t you rather be protesting against the large scale data scooping than the small ones that track when we suck too much electricity?

When my local electric company started offering usage data, I jumped right into it. I am already tracking all the energy usage of my house in order to determine the effectiveness of the various home improvements that were applied to the house. But since my husband and I owned the house before smart meters were available, I had to dig up old bills to go back in time. I can’t get the data that is missing (although I used some math to create some wild guesses) but I can get a hold of the data that is available to me now. And I want it all. If we can’t control the vampire sucking of our data, we might as well take a hold of all the blood being offered.

Anyhow, I’ve been downloading the daily electricity usage and average temperatures. I plopped the data into a Google spreadsheet, applied a timeline chart to all the numbers and voila! This is more entertaining than the Dow Jones! By the way, can you tell what time I took a shower on August 15?


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