Woman Arrested For Refusing To Allow A Smart Meter To Be Installed

You know, like in her own home. Her domicile. Her property

(The Blaze) Jennifer Stahl has been a strong advocate against the smart meter program in Naperville, Ill., for the last two years. The issue came to a head Wednesday afternoon when she was arrested while refusing to let the utility workers install the controversial device.

“I was protecting my property,” Stahl said in an interview with TheBlaze Thursday afternoon. “I felt my emotion was like a momma bear protecting her babies.”

Stahl was at a friend’s house when she received the call from her husband that the utility workers had arrived. She was home within 15 minutes and saw they were at a neighbor’s house. Her neighbors were not home, but they had signs stating they did not permit the new meter to be installed.

Stahl said she waited on her porch for the workers to arrive at her house. When they did, she refused them access to her backyard through her locked gate. The police — including the police supervisor, a sergeant — were called. Stahl said the sergeant explained the workers had authorization to access the meter, but Stahl stood her ground saying she didn’t approve it. The sergeant continued to try and convince Stahl to comply and said if she didn’t, he’d arrest her.

And how did the city respond? They cut the lock to her fence. And when she wouldn’t move away, they arrested her. For refusing access to her own property. Which they had no warrant for. But, hey, who needs a warrant?

“The city has always had and maintains the right to access our equipment, and today we were simply exercising that right,” City Manager Doug Kreiger told the Chicago Tribune, which reported Wednesday’s events.

So, the city now has a right to come on to a homeowners property at any point, regardless of the wishes of the homeowner, without a warrant, to install something the property owner does not want?

BTW, a second person was arrested for the same thing Wednesday.

You might be saying “what’s the problem with smart meters?” You might want to read this. Though, I will say that the part about health issues might perhaps be a bit overblown, especially considering the post mentions cell phones causing brain tumors, which has not been medically confirmed.

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14 Comments

Comment by Gumball_Brains Subscribed to comments via email
2013-01-25 20:08:50

Well, I agree that the health effects may be overblown considering that we are already SATURATED completely with satellite and cell tower and home radiation emissions.

However, the better defense against these things is the invasion of privacy, the ability of the company now to dictate personal energy usage, and the complete invasion of personal property rights.

And while there are certain access rights granted to by a city, those are usually easily identified easement or right-of-way areas.

Also, in many areas where I have lived, the city\city utilities were responsible for the wiring from the pole to the house. You as the homeowner were responsible from that point on, including the meter and the breaker box inside the house.

While I commend the energy companies attempts to reduce costs and increase meter-reading efficiencies, this is not the way.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-01-25 21:03:09

I’m sorry, but the property in question is not just the yard belonging to the woman, but the meter which belongs to the power providerr (which in this case is the city.)

The woman has no legal right to hold the property of the city hostage saying “you can’t access it.” Not only that, but terms of service between the city and customers specifically grant the city the right to repair and upgrade their equipment.

That is what she ageed to. That is what she has to live with. If she doesn’t want to abide by the agreement she has the option of moving or unplugging from the grid.

The other thing of note is that she believes the city should provide a meter that does not have an RFID chip. The city does provide that, but at a cost to her. She wants the meter free, which means other customers have to pick up the cost of a person coming out and reading her meter.

I realize that arresting this woman seems extreme, but yet I keep wondering how I would feel if someone had something that was clearly mine and labeled as such, but was preventing me from getting it. I’d want the police to intervene as well.

 
Comment by Gumball_Brains Subscribed to comments via email
2013-01-25 21:11:21

Ok. ummm. So, before this smart-meter rollout, people just paid their bill and meter-readers went around and read the meters. But, now, they want to roll out the new more efficient readers that will save the companies money by reducing meter-reader man hours. But, if a person wants a non-smart reader (and what does an RFID chip have to do with it – a chip that is only activated when encountering a transceiver’s power field) the company will charge for it? Wow. what a profit windfall for the company.

So, why arrest the woman if the debate is over whether the utility can charge for a meter that was free before? Why is the DEFAULT action to force a smart-meter installation under threat of arrest? Is the old meter somehow dangerous to public health?

And I guess it does depend upon the city’s charter with the utility, but many homeowners in various areas are locking up their meters to prevent utilities from switching them out while the homeowner is not present.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-01-25 23:23:18

GB,

I think that you are making some assumptions that are a bit of a stretch. The woman was not threatened with arrest because of a smart meter, she was arrested for violating a city ordinance that requires access to the power company’s equipment. Imagine if the meter was defective and the woman decided not to allow the city to change the meter. Would you support her then?

The RFID tags are how the meters are read. A vehicle from the power company drives down the street and collects the data. It is fast, efficient, and doesn’t put readers at risk going though people’s yard.

The meters themselves are digital – not analog – which means the readings are more accurate even when read by a person and not thriugh the chip. That is why the meters are changed out.

The bottom line is that in this case the woman agreed the city has access to the equipment and didn’t want to abide by that agreement. She is certainly free to make that decision, but she is not free to do so without consequence or demand that others pick up the tab for her decudion.

 
Comment by Gumball_Brains Subscribed to comments via email
2013-01-25 23:48:08

Imagine if the meter was defective and the woman decided not to allow the city to change the meter. Would you support her then?

Yes. That’s the choice and repercussion of free choice and personal property rights.

I know RFID. I’ve worked with them for years. Question is, are these smart-meters Wifi based or RFID. If wifi, then there is a central-receiving station for a number of houses and that information is collected and sent to the utility company for data logging and storage.

RFID’s are unpowered until they encounter a powered electric field that operates at a certain frequency. The power field energizes the RFID chip which then sends out a signal based on a pre-programmed implanted data. These RFID chips, depending upon its size, require the field to be within an arms length distance from the chip.

The meters themselves are digital – not analog – which means the readings are more accurate even when read by a person and not thriugh the chip. That is why the meters are changed out.

So? Shouldn’t that be the choice of the PAYER?

The woman was not threatened with arrest because of a smart meter,

Ummmm.. Yes she was. She was told the installers were coming. She stopped their access. The installers called the cops who then threatened her with arrest if she would not open the gates. She refused. They CUT and broke through her gate and then threatened her with arrest again if she did not move away from the meter. Again she refused citing health concerns and personal property rights. They then arrested her and another who also refused to submit.

Again, Why? Why are they being arrested and FORCED to take on a meter that provides debatable benefit for the user? Why are they now being charged for something that was free before? Can the not just be allowed to keep their meters? How would a couple of analog meters in the realm of thousands make a difference? Heck, they could even not charge for it as a measure of good will and not miss it.

My point is, … why strong arm a populace, a few women?

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-01-26 00:12:44

The RFID chips used in the meters have a range of about 100 yards. The meters are not part of a wifi network.

Why would the choice of meters be that of the payer? Aren’t you really demanding that a company does not have the right to lower costs and improve efficiency? The customer is free to walk away or pay the additional costs.

As for your last comment, she was arrested for denying access to power equipment. It doesn’t matter what that equipment is. It is not her equipment. You postulate that the company would not miss the additional revenue, but once again I ask what right does the woman have to demand the rest of us pay for her choice? (And the meter reading service still had a cost even before the installation of the smart meters. She is making a choice to increase costs now because of her choice.)

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-01-26 00:19:10

One last thing, she isn’t being “strong armed.”

She made a choice to violate a contract and to break the law. It is not her gear and she has no right to demand the city not have access to their equipment. If she wants to do so, there are consequences to her actions.

BTW – if she had walked into McDonalds, created a scene, and prevented employees from doing their job because they would not prepare her a Whopper, would you feel the same way?

The same principle applies her.

 
Comment by Brian
2013-01-26 07:26:43

Personally, I enjoy vigorous one-sided debates.

 
Comment by Gumball_Brains Subscribed to comments via email
2013-01-26 12:52:04

John, is that you pretending to be GC?

How in the world can you compare a woman protecting her property and her rights to that of a woman making a scene in a public business? That’s ludicrous.

Aren’t you really demanding that a company does not have the right to lower costs and improve efficiency?

Nope. I’m saying that they don’t have the right to come in to your home and force you to do so. Should the water company come in and change out your faucet or water pipes? Should the electric company have the overbearing right to come in whenever they want and change out your lightbulbs? Should the electric company have the right to force you to switch out your thermostat? And then control your heating and cooling? Insanity.

It doesn’t matter what that equipment is.

Again, you seem to be ok with government overriding personal rights. In a movie, you would be the perfect human overseer appointed by the invading aliens to herd us other humans into the bleeding facility.

The customer is free to walk away or pay the additional costs.

Think about that? Why should there be additional costs for a cost saving device? WHy should there be a charge to KEEP what she has? If she wants to pay a bit more per month, isnt that her right?

I ask what right does the woman have to demand the rest of us pay for her choice? (And the meter reading service still had a cost even before the installation of the smart meters. She is making a choice to increase costs now because of her choice.)

That does not even make sense. You claim increased efficiency and lower costs on one hand, then state that her not switching out her meter creates an increased cost. Yet, does not the cost of creating and installing the new meters create a cost? How does not doing anything increase the cost of electricity upon others?

This isn’t like you GC.

 
Comment by john
2013-01-26 16:13:51

I am afraid that I may have been a bad influence on GC. I think in addition to arresting her they should have cut her power off and taken their meter back with them. and then charged her for putting it back on when they got around to doing so. That woman sounds like a wing nut, and certainly she seems to be getting support from that spectrum, the right wing IS the anti science party from evolution to climate change.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-01-26 18:16:49

Gumball,

Once again, she was not protecting her property. She was preventing the legal owner of property access to their property. The meter is not in the house. It is on the back porch. She had agreed to allow the city access to the meter in order to read it as well as perform upgrades to the equipment.

Your analogy to water companies and faucets is flawed because, once agin, the meter is owned by the city – not the woman.

What right does the woman have to agree to give the power company access to their property and then deny that access to the CITY’S PROPERTY?

You are basically taking the liberal position that the owner of a property has to justify changing or using a specific type of equipment. Your position of “why can’t the woman keep the meter she has?” is akin to “why does anyone need a gun?” The owner of the meter has the right to change the meter to whatever model they want. Period. End if story.

If you don’t understand the cost differences, I am not sure that I can explain it to you other than the new system is more efficient and cost effective by not having readers on foot traipse through yards. If the woman wants the meter read by a reader, that is an additional cost to the company to put someone in a vehicle and send them out to read her meter and just her meter. If the company wants to set the cost to do that at a certain price, that is their call – not the woman.

That is wht the McDonald’s analogy is accurate. You not only want the customer to throw a hissy fit for not supplying a Whopper, you want the customer to say what the company can charge for their products.

The only thing I can think is that you have misunderstood the sityation and the technology as you are not this anti capitalism and against proprty rights as you are advocating here.

 
Comment by Gumball_Brains Subscribed to comments via email
2013-01-26 20:15:28

Your position of “why can’t the woman keep the meter she has?” is akin to “why does anyone need a gun?”

I have no idea what in the world you are talking about. How is this an analogy?

However, when it comes to defending my property, yes, people will have to go through my gun: a right I have given to me by birth.

The only thing I can think is that you have misunderstood the sityation and the technology as you are not this anti capitalism and against proprty rights as you are advocating here.

Ummmm… I have never claimed to be anti-property and anti-capitalist. In fact, I’ve always claimed and proclaimed the opposite. Unlike you, I’ve always been for the little guys, against heavy-handedness, against government tyranny. But, it would seem that based on your comments here and on other posts about overbearing government regulations, you seem to have a preference for dictatorial powers.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-01-26 20:51:10

Gumball,

I don’t doubt that you don’t understsnd the analogy because it shows that you are demanding the property owner – the city – has no right to do with the property as they wish. You keep asking why the city has to change the meter or can’t allow the woman to kerp the meter like she wants.

In case you still don’t understand, the meter belongs to the city – not the woman. Your continued insistance

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-01-26 20:56:19

(Sorry…. posting from a tablet and hit the wrong button.)

Your continued insistance that the owner of the property (the city) has to do what the non-property owner (the woman) demands doesn’t make sense.

This is not about the city running roughshod over anything. This is about a woman throwing a tantrum like a whiny liberal.

 

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