Utility companies around the globe are installing smart meters that will allow the companies to automatically measure how much electricity people consume, thus eliminating the need for meter readers to manually take the measurements. The utilities state the meters will also provide consumers better information about their usage and will automatically generate outage notifications, resulting in more efficient services. However, they must face a backlash from those with concerns about the supposed health risks of the smart meters.
Like all wireless devices, smart meters emit radio frequency (RF). Anti-smart meter advocates claim the RF energy emitted by the devices can cause a host of health conditions, like cancer, autism, and Parkinson’s disease.
“The amount of energy absorbed depends largely on how close your body is to a smart meter,” reads Health Canada’s website. “Unlike cellular phones, where the transmitter is held close to the head and much of the RF energy that is absorbed is localized to one specific area, RF energy from smart meters is typically transmitted at a much greater distance from the human body. This results in very low RF exposure levels across the entire body, much like exposure to AM or FM radio broadcast signals.”
Groups such as Stop Smart Meters! also claim that utility customers have noticed huge increases in their bill after a smart meter is installed, that the meters allow your utility company to have access to information about your electricity usage, thus compromising privacy, that RF emissions harms wildlife and damages trees, that thousands of meter readers have been laid off, and that hundreds of electrical fires, explosions, and other electrical hazards have been caused by smart meters.
With good and bad information readily available on the internet, a roll-out of smart meters in a community will require careful promotion and consumer education.