Smart meters and public acceptance: comparative analysis and governance implications

Health, Risk & Society

Volume 16, Issue 3, 2014

Smart meters and public acceptance: comparative analysis and governance implications

Smart meters and public acceptance: comparative analysis and governance implications

DOI:
10.1080/13698575.2014.911821

David J. Hessa*

pages 243-258

Article Views: 138

Article usage statistics combine cumulative total PDF downloads and full-text HTML views from publication date (but no earlier than 25 Jun 2011, launch date of this website) to 15 Mar 2015. Article views are only counted from this site. Although these data are updated every 24 hours, there may be a 48-hour delay before the most recent numbers are available.

<br/><div class=”articleUsage”>Article usage statistics combine cumulative total PDF downloads and full-text HTML views from publication date (but no earlier than 25 Jun 2011, launch date of this website) to 15 Mar 2015. Article views are only counted from this site. Although these data are updated every 24 hours, there may be a 48-hour delay before the most recent numbers are available.</div>

<div class=”alertDiv”><a href=”/action/doUpdateAlertSettings?action=addJournal&journalCode=chrs20″>TOC email alert</a> | <a href=”/action/addCitationAlert?doi=10.1080%2F13698575.2014.911821″>Citation email alert</a></div>

Although smart meters for electricity have received widespread acclaim as a means to achieve more resilient and sustainable electricity consumption, public opposition has emerged in several countries. In this article, I examine the reasons for public opposition in North America and the role of concern with health risks. The article provides an analysis of reasons given for opposing smart meters by 75 US and Canadian organisations listed in the 2013 EMF (electromagnetic field) Safety Network, a review of all news reports (499) in the Lexis-Nexis database relating to smart meters in seven US states and one Canadian province from 2010 to 2013 and case studies of policy responses in the same seven states and province. Thirty-one of the organisations in the EMF network focused mainly on health concerns about EMFs, and 44 organisations identified broader concerns as well as health risks. The more politically conservative groups focused on issues relating to privacy and government intrusion. Newspaper reports also identified health risks, although they also identified issues relating to cost overruns and privacy. The study of newspaper reporting in the seven US states and one Canadian province indicated that relevant agencies had responded to public concerns by developing opt-out provisions for meter installation, in some cases after protracted public campaigns. I consider possible patterns of opposition for future investigation: opposition may be higher where the roll-out of smart meters is rapid and without an opt-out provision; technological differences (for example, wired versus wireless) may contribute to levels of public opposition; and challengers to incumbent parties of either the right or left may also contribute to public opposition. In the ‘Conclusion’ section, I compare two policy strategies, one of which views public opposition as a lack of good communication from utilities, and the other which views it as an opportunity for innovation in systems design and improvements in governance policies.

Download full paper at:  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13698575.2014.911821#preview

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.