A smart meter is a smart home device that measures how much gas and electricity you’re using and sends that information on an hourly basis to your supplier via a mobile communications network. If you are comtemplating getting a smart meter, here are 10 things you should know.
1. Smart meters can help you become more energy efficient.
Smart meters allow you track your energy use on an hourly basis online or through the devices’s digital display. This information is provided in near real time, and can let you know when you use the most energy, and whether you use a lot of energy at peak times when electricity tends to be more expensive. This puts you in full control of how much electricity you use, and allow you to make more informed decisions about your energy use.
2. No need for estimated monthly bills.
Estimated billings can be a real pain. They occur when your supplier doesn’t read your meter for the month in question and ventures its best guess based on how much electricity you used for the same month a year ago. Even though the company typically corrects any inaccuracies the following month, you may be charged a lot more for electricity than you actually used in that month.
Smart meters solves the problem of estimated billing. This means there will be no need for manual readings, estimated billing or home visits from meter readers.
3. You can immediately see the impact of changing the way you use electricity.
Your smart energy monitor lets you see the effects of altering your energy consumption habits immediately, which can encourage you to make better choices about how you manage your electricity use.
4. Lower bills are not guaranteed.
Installing a smart meter doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to receive lower bills. If you don’t change the way you use electricity, your bills will remain exactly same. The only difference with smart meters is that they allow you to micro-manage your electricity use by being able to see what you are doing at any particular point in time that might be affecting what you are paying. For example, monitoring your usage on an hourly basis may reveal that you tend to use a lot of energy during a peak period which happens to be the time you charge your laptop when you return from work. This revelation may make you charge your laptop at a different time, leading to lower bills for that time period.
5. Considerable risks to privacy.
Installing a smart meter means the device can track your energy use multiple times a day, and your energy supplier will be able to collect detailed information about your daily activities. The device will be able to get all kinds of private information such as whether you’re at home or not, how many showers you take, what time you cook or watch TV and other details. Energy companies will also be able to personalize your data and market to you based on that personalization. Furthermore, there’s no way to protect the privacy of your personal data.
6. Energy-saving lightbulbs can distort readings.
A university study by scientists from the University of Twente Enschede in the Netherlands discovered inaccurate readings up to five times higher than the actual energy used in five different types of smart meters. The cause of the inaccuracies was a clash with energy efficient LED lightbulbs, dimmers and heaters that altered the shape of electric currents.
7. Security and other risks.
Many security experts have expressed concern about the vulnerability of smart meters to cyber attacks. Because smart meters transmit data 24/7, experts believe that fraudsters can hack into the system and adjust bills, take payment information and more. Furthermore, because smart meters can communicate with all of the smart devices in the consumer’s home, a hacker could hijack the entire system. Security company Kaspersky Labs has also warned that many smart meters contain weak security settings which are easy for hackers to bypass.
8. Health concerns.
Smart meters use radio waves to allow remote readings to be taken from gas and electricity meters. According to some public health officials, the exposure to the radio waves produced by smart meters does not pose a risk to health. Yet, there have been health complaints from smart meter owners around the world blaming their sickness on smart meters. Read about customers smart meter health complaints, which include sleep problems, headaches, nausea, anxiety, heart palpitations, etc.