Going on the defensive, a smart grid advocacy group is rebutting some criticism of smart meters.
While some people claim smart meters may cause health problems and may invade privacy, including a filmmaker who created an online documentary Take Back Your Power, the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) has released its own video to counter “efforts to spread misinformation about the devices’ safety and privacy,” says SGCC.
The group sets out its case for the benefits of the smart grid in a video with the following points:
- Radio frequency exposure: It would take 375 years of direct contact with a smart meter to equal the same amount of radio frequency exposure from a daily, 15-minute cell phone call during the course of one year.
- Privacy infringement: Smart meters only know how much power is being used – not specifically how it’s being used – and utilities will continue to keep that data private as they’ve done for decades.
- Economic benefits: Smart meters could reduce the cost of power interruptions by more than 75 percent, reducing frustration and saving the American economy more than $150 billion a year.
SGCC also created a fact sheet about smart meters, which addresses the concerns that the devices cause fires. SGCC says smart meters must meet safety requirements and standards spelled out in the National Electric Safety Code and that public service commissions require independent certification proving that smart meters are safe and show resistance to heat, fire, voltages, surges, and self-heating.
However, Philadelphia utility PECO did have some issues with smart meters catching fire, although the fires seemed to stem from other problems with wiring infrastructure on the premises.
The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative is a nonprofit whose members include advocacy groups, technology vendors, research laboratories and electric utilities. “We are funded through membership dues,” says a spokeswoman.
Photo credit: screenshot from SGCC video