Before you head off to search for what smart meters are, you need to hear something very important: Smart meters, like any other device that emits radio frequency radiation, do not pose any risk to your health.
Right now, there’s a lot of buzz on the internet about the dangers of smart meters. People claim that, because smart meters utilize radio frequencies, they can cause cancer, anxiety, insomnia, and other complications. These aren’t just harmless internet conspiracies; there are actual protests against the statewide adoption of smart meters, and protesters cite their health as their main concern. But what are smart meters, how do they work, and why is radio frequency radiation harmless?
Smart Meters Are Walkie-Talkies that Measure Energy Consumption
Smart meters are digital devices used to gauge the energy consumption of your home. They accurately measure your kilowatt hour consumption of electricity and use wireless radio frequency (RF) technology to communicate your energy consumption to the utility company in real-time. That’s the part that people think is dangerous—the radio frequencies. But we’ll get to that in a second.
Electrical meters, both smart and dumb, measure the amount of electricity that you use in terms of kilowatt hours. They’re usually installed outside of your home, but as you can probably guess, they’re wired to your building’s circuit.
Old mechanical meters measure your energy consumption using two metal conductors and an aluminum plate. The two conductors use the electricity that’s circuiting through your home to form an electromagnetic field (a form of radiation), which causes the aluminum plate to spin. The plate spins faster as you use more electricity, and slower as you use less electricity. As the plate spins, it turns the gears on a five-panel display called an indicator, which tells you your energy consumption in kilowatt hours.
Smart meters use AC sensors to measure voltage and amperage in your home’s circuit. They’re accurate digital sensors with no moving parts, and they don’t run a risk of failing due to mechanical flaws or wear and tear. Unlike mechanical meters, smart meters communicate energy consumption with the utility company via radio frequency, which cuts out the need for meter-checking agents and allows the utility company to view your energy usage in real-time.
Don’t confuse smart meters with energy monitoring products like the Sense or the Smappee. These are devices that attach to your electric panel and allow you to monitor your energy consumption on your phone or tablet, and they tell you how you can save money on your electric bill.
What’s The Big Deal?
A lot of people are spreading the myth that RF radiation from smart meters causes cancer, insomnia, anxiety, and a host of other health problems. But smart meters have been installed in US homes since 2006, and according to the US Energy Information Administration, nearly half of all American homes have a smart meter. Where is this misinformation coming from, and why is it so sudden?
Well, some Americans were concerned about smart meters when they were first introduced in 2006, but as time went on, those concerns started to fade away. But the UK recently began a nationwide transition from mechanical meters to smart meters (that are pre-packaged with energy monitors, lucky Brits), and it’s caused a bit of a controversy.
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman