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Green Tip of the Week: Smart meters are problematic
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2015 8:51 am | Updated: 9:04 am, Fri Apr 17, 2015.
Smart meters are a tool to monitor homes’ energy usage and help homeowners make smarter decisions about their electricity consumption, but they have come under scrutiny for posing health and privacy concerns.
Smart meters that are installed outside the building and send data electronically to the energy supplier are replacing the standard analog meters that are checked and repaired manually by technicians.
Remote termination of your electric supply is now possible, and cheaper than paying a worker to come out to your residence. However, there is a risk that new electronic systems could be hacked and pose security threats to entire communities. Privacy concerns are raised when personal electrical consumption information collected by the meters could potentially be sold to third parties for a profit.
Another concern is that smart meters send out bursts of low-level microwave radiation, although some studies suggest the levels greatly exceed standards set by national agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission.
There is also a risk that electro magnetic field pollution could be affecting the health of residents where smart meters have been installed.
Finally, studies have shown that smart meters alone are not affecting consumer usage because most are not paired with In-Home Displays. When devices are installed inside the home, they help change consumer electrical habits by showing real-time data, calculating the daily money spent on energy. Some IHD units may also be paired with smartphones.
So, until studies prove that smart meters are safe for public use and effective at lowering consumer electrical demand, installing solar panels or purchasing green power through your electric supplier are smarter ways to go green that will not impact your health or privacy.
Tips are courtesy of the Task Force for a Sustainable Galloway. Megan Fornuto is outreach correspondent for the Task Force for a Sustainable Galloway, aka Go Green Galloway. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org