There are many strong opinions, pro and con, on this issue. Some are factual, some are emotional, some are scientific and some are — just personal opinion.
Just what is
a “smart” meter?
This replacement for the previously used analog meter is a wireless unit that receives and transmits information to the utility provider, using low range radio frequencies, similar to cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs, microwaves, etc.
How do they work?
One radio transmitter operates on a Wide Area Network, WAN, which can link individual properties to each other and to the base station through mobile phone networks. Some concerns regarding WAN come with the potentially long wavelengths used to penetrate into structures, and the effects on those living nearby to the radiation source. Also, as I understand it, the RF pulses from these meters, though low range, are many per second and constant. Cell phones, with their health concerns, may emit a greater amount of radiation, but it is localized and not a continuous pulse.
A second radio transmitter operates on the Home Area Network, HAN, which links the meter to appliances within the property, using systems such as Wi-Fi, which also has stimulated some safety concerns. It is anticipated that new “smart” appliances coming on the market will be able to communicate with the meter in this network. A consumer might be able to monitor and control when certain appliances turn on and off and thereby consume power more efficiently.
How are they used?
Even though these units are being installed internationally, for use by water, gas and electric utilities, the greater use at this time seems to be in monitoring the use of electrical power. They are installed in our area, which means that no one has to read each meter on each property and each month’s bill will be for the actual amount of power used, with never a need for estimated calculations. Other positives would be less intrusion on private property and savings to the power company. For instance, Georgia Power has all 2.4 million customers upgraded, which takes nearly 300 vehicles off the road and eliminates 14 million miles of travel.
According to the industry, the amount of radiation emitted by these meters is a lot less than any of the other sources mentioned above. However, it is my understanding that these meters could be considered the source of “full-body zapping,” continuously bombarding a home/building 24 hours a day, with the distance from the meter determining the amount of radiation to which the body is exposed.
Electromagnetic pollution is now a fact of life for us. The quest for energy efficiency even adds to this condition. Do your own research and help answer the question: ARE WE DUMB FOR HAVING SMART METERS?
Hear the pros presented by a Tri County Electric representative on May 12.