Implementation of Smart Meters Present Consumers with Several Questions
Digital utility meters have not been met with universal praise. Dozens of activist groups have been outspoken against the use of smart meters for a number of reasons, including privacy and environmental concerns.
Do you need to worry? Overall—no. While we are still in the early stages of smart meter conversion, on the whole, smart meters are a safe alternative and upgrade to analog utility meters.
Are Smart Meters a Health Risk?
No. There is no evidence the electromagnetic radio frequencies emitting from smart utility meters are damaging to your health. We live in a world in which nearly every adult carries and uses a cell phone on a daily basis. Ten minutes talking on a cell phone every day exposes you to more radio frequency radiation (RF radiation) than 250 years of smart meter emissions.
People have so much exposure to RF radiation, smart meters are hardly a blip on the radar. If you have no problem with using a cell phone, a WiFi internet connections, Bluetooth, baby monitors, microwaves or television, you should have no problem with smart meters.
Do Smart Meters Pose a Threat to Privacy?
No. Smart meters only tell you how much power you’re using overall based on the time of day. It doesn’t tell you what is using the power. Unless you install a supplemental power management system, smart meters can’t tell you how much power your oven, TV or computer uses. Smart meters will not store or transmit your name or address. Utility companies provide extensive security measures and encryption technology to protect transmissions, just the same as your credit card or bank.
The end result? The utility company gets the same information if would’ve gotten had your meter been analog—only much more cheaply.
Are Smart Meters Required by Law?
No. You may opt out of replacing your analog meter if you choose, though you may be charged a small fee.
Are Smart Meters Less Accurate than Analog Meters?
No. Smart meters are put through rigorous testing before they ever leave the manufacturer. Meter manufacturers are required to supply third-party verified testing results to prove for certain their smart meters are measuring accurately. Utilities perform additional testing on site, testing the old analog meter alongside the new smart meter to ensure the new device measures accurately.
Let’s not forget correct reading of utility meters requires a meter reader, who is a human being. Humans can occasionally make errors and accidentally record the wrong usage. Multiple errors can result in drastic misrepresentation of actual power consumption.
If anything, smart meters are more accurate than analog meters.
Are Smart Meters Dangerous?
No. When supplied by a reputable manufacturer and installed by an experienced professional, there is no reason for you to worry about the risk of fire or explosion. There are extensive regulations from public service commissions and the National Electric Safety Code (NESC) to ensure smart meters are being deployed safely.
The Bottom Line: Smart Meters Pose No Threat
There is no legitimate evidence to suggest smart meters threaten your health or infringe on your privacy. When you switch to a smart digital meter, you have a better idea of your energy consumption and utility companies more easily interpret your usage into billing information. Less waste from improper reads of analog meters means cost savings passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices.
On all fronts, smart meters are a safe alternative to analog utility meters.