Armed Texan residents are protecting their homes against what they view as the intrusive policies of utility companies that are trying to install smart meters in their homes.
According to Associated Press, one resident has even put up a sign on her property that reads “No trespassing” and “No smart meters”. Thelma Taormina said, although she keeps a gun on her property to protect herself against intruders, the last time she had to use it was to scare off a persistent utility worker. “We have rights to choose what appliances we want in our home,” she said.
Others, AP reports, are building steel cages around their traditional electric meters and refusing to let the utility companies bring in the new technology. One public utility commission meeting attendee compared the policy of the power companies to the Gestapo.
Although smart meters are, according to the utility companies, designed to make our homes more efficient by relaying data back from the grid and allocating the appropriate resources – along with a dearth of other data – residents believe the systems could be utilised to spy on them.
The presence of an electronic device that they do not own in their homes has raised fears that they could allow the authorities to spy on them, even going so far as to let them know when residents were awake. One said he would not “let somebody else control what I do in my house”.
Others still are concerned – with no thanks to the government-sponsored scare-mongering about hacking – that malicious cyber attacks could take control of their homes or steal very personal data. There are also concerns about adverse health effects, specifically dangerous radio waves.
For now, AP reports, the residents are winning: utility company CenterPoint has told workers they must leave the premises immediately if smart meters are rejected, citing “tough resistance” as a safety worry for its employees.