General Question

flo's avatar

What is the verdict about smart meters?

Asked by flo (13313points) September 19th, 2013

What is the latest most reliable news about it?
Here is one article
I wish I had details but I don’t.

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11 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

I assume you mean the digital electric meters.

NO difference. They installed a new one here at my house about a year ago. Year to year readings are just about the same. No appreciable change, accounting for weather and such.

The one disappointment is that my power company hasn’t made available the cool stuff they promised—time of day measurements, for example.

drhat77's avatar

I can’t imagine the amount of EM radiation sent out is more than the WiFi and cell signals we’ve allowed in our lives. I hope someone who knows more about this weighs in

snowberry's avatar

I had a client who was allergic to all sorts of things, including electrical fields. Her symptoms were severe enough that she couldn’t be in a room with a running microwave. Her telephone was at an end of the house she did not spend a lot of time in, and she used the speaker function a lot when she did. She only used lights when absolutely necessary, and she only used a cell phone for emergencies, etc. This device wouldn’t fly at her house.

jerv's avatar

My take is that many of the people who have health concerns about them are unfit for life in 21st-century America in much the same way that fish are unfit to live outside of water. I wouldn’t euthanize them, but for the sake of our species, I wouldn’t want them passing on their genes either.

As for the privacy concerns, it’d be easier to be a stalker to determine your daily schedule than to hack your power meter.

The increased vulnerability to cyber-attack shutting down our power… well, some truth there, but it’s still easier to blow up a substation.

Pooh54's avatar

I really don’t know anything about them but if they can save me money and maybe help my health, I am all for them.

bolwerk's avatar

Barring really outlandish exceptions like @snowberry mentions, this is controversial? Yes, the meters probably might allow some really vague inferences about your habits. It’s a safe bet you’re neither interesting enough nor important enough to be the victim of a hax0r wanting to know what time you turn on your TV.

jerv's avatar

Correct. It’s no more information and probably less than could be gathered by a cheap surveillance cam or just sitting near your house for a while.

dabbler's avatar

Unless you’re trying to figure out if someone’s running a grow-op, knowing their power consumption is plenty boring. Not sure why anyone would bother to snoop power meters.

One thing for sure is that they are putting meter readers out of work.
In some cases that means the meter readers are out of danger (dog bites).

dabbler's avatar

Also I’d have to insist that the new meter allows the customer to get a raw reading off it just as you can off the old-fashioned spinning-wheel/turning-number-dials meter.
Or at least some local digital access… bluetooth or wifi.

AlsoWeirdedOut's avatar

@ jerv

”...but, I wouldn’t want them passing on their genes either.”
Umm…why not? If a person is so sensitive to EMFs that it is not only a problem mentally but causes physical symptoms, this indicates a sensitivity that should be studied…think about it…we build phones and satellites and various devices to detect frequencies for communications, we’re even implanting Near Field comms devices to enable some security and ID functions inside some organizations, but these people have the ability to detect these fields without any implant or outside manipulation. This type of sensitivity if it could be trained and/or focused, or repeated in other humans, would solve the “implant dilemma”.
What you’re suggesting is getting rid of the people who have evolved farther than the rest of us because we…what? Don’t like superior forms of life making us look primitive?

As for the security of smart meters, it’s far easier now with the advent of smart meters for a hacker to remotely access, and therefore damage or possibly disable security of, a transformer complex or sub-station. Access which they’d presumably use to do as you said. This makes it even easier, and the customer doesnt even get better tracking or usage info from the meter, just the security failure and the “many portals of possible breach” for some bad actor. It’s “tech just for tech’s sake”, serves no improved functionality and creates multiple failure points, where before there were far fewer hack possibilities.

AlsoWeirdedOut's avatar


” It’s a safe bet you’re neither interesting enough nor important enough to be the victim of a hax0r wanting to know what time you turn on your TV.”

Every single person in this country and on this earth, with very few exceptions like the very socioeconomically poor demographic countries, ARE “interesting and important enough for a hax0r wanting to know what time you turn on your TV”: those “hax0rs” aren’t hax0rs though, they’re companies and corporations who need marketing information about whom to market to.
Information into absolutely every aspect of your habits and life is more valuable than gold, and if the company that gets this info can’t use it themselves they can sell it to someone who can for BIG bucks.
This attitude is the mental equivalent of sticking your head in the sand and refusing to remove it. It’s beyond naive, it’s as luddite as people who refuse smart meters or vaccines.

If you find people who talk of privacy to be irritating, just say that, but to pretend “nobody wants” a thing that literally every company on earth desperately wants, clamors and pays money for every day? That’s simply refusing to accept reality.

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