Our electric company is installing new digital "smart meters", which collect and send the signals back to the main office electronically. Sounds fairly slick, and since we don't have a lot of say in it, I'm fully prepared to love them. However. In reading over the literature that they sent out this month (installation of the meters, town by town, has begun) it seems that the signals do not go whizzing back to the main office directly, but are sent along a chain, meter to meter, and every so often one of THEM is used as the delivery wagon. Which means that anywhere along the chain, if one of these new meters develops a problem, or gets chopped up by an irate owner, or is hit by lightning, the whole chain ends, right there.
The only bright point is that no one will be able to do the old "penny under the contact" trick to lower their own bill, as one of our neighbors used to do. I take comfort in that one, at least. *g*