Energy conservation has hit another hurdle: opponents of smart grid technology are using privacy concerns to justify their fears.

The New York Times published a fascinating story on community members in northern California who aren’t comfortable with the energy company putting monitoring meters on their houses. The meters, which were first installed in houses by Pacific Gas and Electric in 2006, were designed to monitor energy usage so a sensible system for allocating energy could be put in place.

The issue is that Big Brother is the one keeping tabs on their energy usage, and so their logical conclusion is that Big Brother will be using that information to control them, manipulate them, harm them and steal their way of life.

Of course this is exactly the type of privacy infringement we need the Tea Party to protect us from. Right on point, the Times article notes that the North Bay Patriots — a local Tea Party affiliate group — is fighting the power of Pacific Gas and Electric, a company clearly trying to monitor what homeowners are doing under the guise of energy efficiency and crazy smart grids.

Perhaps I should become a member of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Tea Party. Recently the heavy hand of the district began to regulate where I can park my car — on the same streets paved with my tax dollars. The district figured out a way to track my car based on the pinko license plate number it issued me and mailed a ticket to my address, which apparently they could find through some other Orwellian system. The result, beyond my being out $100, is that my freedom has been taken — and may never be given back.

This was all done in the name of keeping our streets smart and safe. Thank God the D.C. city government is only issuing tickets. If city officials were actually taking the time to monitor where cars were and devise a better parking system for such a congested city, that would be down-right communist. (Luckily, I know they are too incompetent to be communists.)

But in places like northern California, where competence and being smart are valued, its good to know that true patriots are standing up for their freedom to say no to being smart.

So here’s to keeping the electricity monitors off houses. It’s much smarter to just let the utility companies monitor your usage and just send you a bill. One could even cut out the middleman and just give the utility company your checking account number so they could deduct your bill directly from the bank. That’s fine. That’s freedom.

Just don’t try to improve the system. Don’t make it smarter. Don’t think. Just be free.

Related on MNN: Our business blogger gets a smart meter installed at her home

Smart grids get dumb reaction
The Tea Party and a few others don't like the idea of 'Big Brother' monitoring our electricity usage.