From Consumers Digest, http://www.consumersdigest.com:
Why Smart Meters Might Be a Dumb Idea
Smart meters are supposed to help to give you more control over your energy use. But many experts doubt that you”™ll ever see the electricity and cost savings that electric companies and smart-meter manufacturers tout.
If your house doesn”™t have a smart meter that measures the amount of electricity that you use, there”™s a good chance that your electric company will install one in the years ahead.
Although it might sound appealing to have a “smart” digital device instead of your old analog meter, you”™d better curb your enthusiasm and get a firm grip on your wallet. More than half of all homes in the United States will have smart meters within the next 10 years, experts say.
Smart meters are designed to give consumers and electric companies more-accurate and immediate information about your electricity use. Think of a smart meter as a communications link between your home and the electric company. That two-way link will give you and the electric company the ability to share real-time data about the amount of electricity that you use and when you use it. Knowing this allows you to better control your power use and save money on your monthly electric bill. But based on our investigation, it”™s clear that smart meters won”™t soon deliver the promised benefits, particularly the energy and pocketbook savings that are being touted by practically everyone who”™s connected to smart meters.
We interviewed 35 experts, including smart-grid- and utility-industry executives, government regulators and consumer advocates. We also reviewed thousands of pages of government documents, filings with state utility commissions, materials from smart-meter-makers, and reports that were produced by the emerging smart-grid industry. A few experts suggest that smart-meter conversion represents little more than a boondoggle that is being foisted on consumers by the politically influential companies that make the hardware and software that are required for the smart-meter conversion. And based on our investigation, it”™s difficult to disagree. From a consumer”™s perspective, the potential negative consequences outweigh the benefits in three critical areas:
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