Smart meters are a good idea and you should welcome them.
There are two main Pro's
1) Time of Use billing You are currently paying one rate for your first 710/KWh of electricity usage and a higher rate for anything over that. Part of the money you pay goes into a capital fund that will be used to finance the next electricity generating facility. BC Hydro needs to be able to generate enough electricity to meet PEAK demand. So using less electricity in a month is good, using less at PEAK hours is even better. If we spread our usage out and avoid peaks it means we don't need to build a new generator as soon. This is a very good thing and saves money overall. With a smart meter you can save money twice, once by shifting your use off peak hours, and a second time by helping to delay a new expensive generating facility such as a new dam.
2) Smart Grid If we are going to survive peak oil and climate change we need our buildings to incorporate solar, wind, and geothermal and more efficient design in order to become Power Positive. We need our buildings to become net providers of electricity rather then net users of electricity. In order to transmit that power to where it is needed requires a smart grid and the smart grid starts at your meter. Want to put solar panels on your roof and sell electricity back to the grid? Then you will need a smart meter.
Think this is science fiction? Think again. Just google "Elithis tower". Buildings like this are starting to pop up all over Europe. Google "energy positive buildings inch closer to mainstream markets" for even more info.
What are the cons?
1) The claim that "Wifi is bad for you" This is a myth and should be discredited. Just like the myth that "Vaccines cause autism" this is just junk science pure and simple.
2) The claim that "Hydro will jack my rates" False. BC Hydro is a regulated monopoly and all rate increases have to be approved by the BC Utilities Commission. Heavy users and peak users should pay more, that is what is just and fair. So insulate your house and once you have a smart meter check your hourly usage graphs so that you can see how much your paying while your away at work or asleep at night.
With or without smart meters your going to pay more for your energy. In their 2010 Report the International Energy Agency stated that we hit peak oil in 2006. When you factor in the rapidly increasing demand from the developing world it means that ALL energy prices are going up EVERYWHERE. Smart meters at least give you more information so that you can manage your consumption.
3) Smart Meters eliminate jobs. Yes. Smart Meters eliminate expensive and unnecessary jobs. Want to create jobs? Get rid of your refrigerator and hire an ice man to bring you ice for your ice box. That would be silly wouldn't it? I don't wish anyone to lose their job, but hiring people to drive around our neighborhoods all day to read a meter is expensive and unnecessary. The money saved on those salaries will pay for the meters in no time. I am sure our economy can find more useful and fulfilling work the 400 meter readers I keep hearing about.
4) Privacy Violations Each day we all use our bank cards and credit cards. In the process we are telling our financial institutions where we shop and what we are buying. Many of us join websites such as Facebook who's whole business model is about selling your personal information. We send unencrypted email across the internet where thousands of people could simply dip in an read each one if they wanted to. And there are countless other ways that we voluntarily or involuntarily sacrifice our privacy. Why are you suddenly going to draw and line in the sand and say that you don't want hydro to know that your doing your laundry at 9pm instead of 4pm? Or that you might be watching TV at 1pm. I am very concered about privacy issues but in this context it is just a red herring. There are so many other area we should strengthen our privacy practices and lose no benefits. Smart Meters provide so many benefits and the privacy loss is so minimal. It's just a non-issue.
Summary Smart Meters are a good idea and are one step in our long journey to carbon free economies.
The arguments against smart meters are unfounded and misguided.
Here are some links for more information and opinion on the subject:
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Thanks for the thumbs up people. When the whole vaccines cause autism myth was circulating I didn't bother arguing the facts with people or trying to counter all the disinformation.
I think that sort of "silent majority" attitude is to blame for that myth still surviving despite begin entirely debunked.
Cancer agencies around the world report the number of incidents of various types of cancer. Since 1975 the number of incidents have brain cancers per 1,000 people have stayed flat. There has been no increase over the last 40 years while cell phone subscriptions and wifi installations have gone from nothing to hundreds of millions.
These agencies have no vested interest in the matter. Or rather, their vested interest is in collecting the best epidemiology information possible.
So the next time someone tells you about "all the new brain tumors" you ask them to show you the stats.
Yea!! I got my smart meter today! Still have to wait awhile to be able to view my hourly or even real time usage data.
I am in an old house and I expect to rebuild it at some point. When I do I am going to try to make it a power positive building and I want to get a "smart panel" so that I can query each circuit in my house and see whats going on.
Information is power, and information about power even more so. — Dave Friday, November 18, 2011