Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), or also known as smart meters, are one of the most revolutionary technologies to hit the smart grid industry in decades. A crucial technology to pave the way towards a 24/7 clean power grid, smart meters provides all parties with real-time energy usage information. The EIA estimates in 2018, there were 86.8 million installations of smart meters in the U.S. Turns out, more than half of all U.S. residential customers already have smart meters. However, over the years, various advocacy groups, websites (e.g., this one), and individuals have tried to shine a negative light towards smart meters.
Benefits of Smart Meters
The benefits are plentiful:
- Granular hourly data to inform utilities on how to improve operations of the grid
- Granular hourly data to inform you on how to improve your behavior
- Granular hourly data to improve matchmaking of power demand to supply in real-time
- Potential reduction in your electricity bill (depends on your region and the power utility company)
- Easier to catch “energy leaks“
- Access to install more smart grid technologies (e.g., residential energy storage)
Let’s review the top myths about smart meters and debunk them.
Top 6 Myths About Smart Meters Debunked
1. Smart meters are less accurate than analog meters
A smart meter collects more data points than analog meters. Smart meters track each and every hour’s consumption, as opposed to analog meters that increase its counter as more energy is consumed. With analog meters, it’s impossible to tell exactly how much energy was consumed at a specific hour in a day.
Also, note that public service commissions (PSCs) require meter manufacturers (e.g., Itron) to provide independently certified testing results to prove that their smart meters provide accurate measurements.
2. Smart meters communicate using wireless signals and thus are a health threat
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. The World Heath Organization (WHO) has concluded that radiofrequency waves from your phone, which is much more powerful than smart meters, does not cause any harm to your body.
3. Smart meters do not keep my data secure
The National Electric Reliability Council (NERC) has developed the Critical Infrasture Protection (CIP) standards. The CIP standards cover all things related to power utilities and data security including smart meters. The power utilities, FERC, NERC, and the U.S. government have strict standards on how data is handled. Also, note that power utilities get randomly audited to ensure their systems are secure.
4. Smart meters increase the risk of fire and explosion
If installed by trained contractors, smart meters are not any different than any other appliance in the home. They follow the National Electric Safety Code and all UL standards for electrical appliances.
5. Smart meters are an invasion of my privacy
Unless you personally install a home energy management system (e.g., smart thermostat), smart meters cannot tell how homeowners use energy. There are many laws out there on using personal data for business purposes and power utilities abide by those laws.
6. Smart meters do not provide any consumer benefits
One of the biggest myths. We cover the major benefits above. To recap, they provide real-time energy data that can then be used to reduce your electricity bills.
7. Smart meters make my energy bill more expensive
You pay for exactly what you consume once you have a smart meter. For example, in Texas, having a smart meter is extremely beneficial. There are many Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) that pass on real-time pricing of electricity. For example, at nighttime, when everyone is sleeping and offices are closed, the price of electricity is lowest, and if you decide to do all of your chores at this time, you will save money. These are benefits you would never get with traditional analog meters.
Smart meters are here to stay. TheEnergyFix stands behind smart meters being the revolutionary technology to bridge the gap towards a clean power grid that operates on renewable energy all the time. Without real-time data, it’s impossible for you and the utility to understand how carbon-free you are, or how to bill you for what you really use accurately.