20 Aug 2012

FAST FIX: debunking 6 myths about smart meters

Written by Jim Pierobon

Courtesy of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, here are facts about smart/digital meters and six commonly circulated myths — debunked.

1. Smart meters are less accurate than analog meters.

Public service commissions require meter manufacturers to supply independently certified testing results to prove that their smart meters provide accurate measurements.

A smart / digital meter installed by Pepco on the author’s home in Maryland. CREDIT: The Energy Fix

2. Smart meters are a health threat because they communicate using wireless signals.

There is no credible evidence of any threat to human health from the radio frequency emissions at or below limits developed by the Federal Communications Commission. You get more exposure to radio frequency (RF) emissions from 15 minutes of cell phone use per day for a year than RFs from 375 years from a smart meter.  Source: Peter A. Valberg, Ph.D, testimony April 6, 2012 before the Maryland Public Service Commission on Baltimore Gas & Electric’s deployment of smart meters. You can find it starting at http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/Intranet/home.cfm using Case No. 9208.

 3. Smart meters will not keep my data secure.

Consumption data is protected now and utilities are working with nation cyber-security experts to audit their systems.

4. Smart meters are hazardous, increasing the risk of fire and explosion.

Provided they are installed by trained professionals, smart meters meet requirements and standards spelled out in the National Electric Safety Code.

5. Smart meters are an invasion of privacy.

Unless you install a home energy management system, smart meters cannot tell how homeowners use energy. There are laws regulating the use of personal information for business functions.

6. Smart meters do no provide any consumer benefits.

This is perhaps the biggest myth. Once activated, smart meters improve power outage detection and recovery. They also provide near real-time energy usage information, including how you can manage the real-time pricing of power.

Read more facts debunking each of these myths here. And  watch this 3+ minute video by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative.

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