These days, more and more people are getting smart meters installed in their homes. As the meters are installed we’ve noticed that there is actually a great deal of fear surrounding these meters.
There’s even a website devoted to telling people that they should refuse smart meters. The people who oppose them usually feel like they are there to spy on homes and families, or that there will be any number of other negative consequences for having them.
So will smart meters help you or hurt you?
Understanding Smart Meters
A smart meter measures the amount of energy your home uses, just like a regular meter does. It then transmits this data back to the utility company.
The electric company can then use these meters to offer you suggestions on how to use less energy and how to save more money. This also eliminates the need for a meter reader to come out in person to find out how high your bill should be.
Are Smart Meters Safe?
You’ll hear opponents of smart meter technology talk a lot about “radiation.” But smart meters aren’t emitting “radiation” the way that they mean it.
Smart meters emit about 5 seconds worth of RF waves about 50 times a day. This is exactly the same kind of frequency that’s being emitted by your wireless router or that’s used by your smart phone.
In other words, you’ll probably absorbing more of this so-called “radiation” by reading this blog post then you’d absorb from a single day of having a smart meter sitting on the exterior of your home.
Do Smart Meters Violate my Privacy?
No more than using the Internet does, and no more than using your credit card does.
The meter measures home energy use.
That’s it. That’s all it measures.
Now, it’s true that data scientists or business intelligence analysts may mine this data for insights. If they do, they’re looking for broader consumption patterns. They don’t care what you, personally, turn off and on all day.
That’s not to say they couldn’t drill down to your home’s energy use. Of course they can. They’re going to. Because that’s how they calculate your bill. They can’t really use that data for anything else.
A smart meter is not some kind of super-spy technology that records and transmits your every move to “Big Brother.”
Will Smart Meters Shut Down My Appliances without my Permission?
No. In fact, the electric company will probably be very happy to take your money if you want to indulge in a little excessive energy use. 🙂
However, a smart meter can help the electric company make better decisions about managing the power grid as a whole, reducing the incidences of brown-out that can be generated by grid overload.
Even if the power company wanted to selectively shut off your heater or your computer, they couldn’t. These things just aren’t that advanced.
Will Smart Meters Raise my Electric Rates?
No. If anything, they’ll lower your electric rates by providing you with some actionable energy-saving insights. You also won’t be helping to cover the cost of paying meter readers.
In addition, smart meters can help prevent energy theft. Electricity theft costs millions of dollars every year, and the electric company has to raise your rates to compensate. Preventing this theft will eliminate this expense.
Smart Meters are Nothing to Get Excited About
It just doesn’t make much sense to worry about smart meters. This is just a small-scale meter upgrade that will help you get slightly better service.
We are licensed electrical contractors working in Pittsboro, Hillsborough, Carrboro and the rest of the Raleigh-Durham area. Contact us for a free estimate on electrical work.