Good question. The international smart meter agenda says that all electric utility companies worldwide should remove all customers’ safe, reliable and accurate analog electric meters, which have been the industry standard since the beginning of the electric grid, and replace the analog meters with so called smart electric meters or smart meters. The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 required utilities to consider, and determine whether it was appropriate for them, a “time-based metering and communication standard”. That standard was by its terms an “opt in” policy, whereby each customer requesting a time-based rate would be given a time-based meter, or smart meter. Despite this SMUD and many electric utilities, often in collusion with state regulatory agencies (but not in the case of SMUD) have given every customer a smart meter whether he wants it or not. Some utilities have created “opt out” programs but usually with an initial fee and a monthly fee. (Vermont is the one exception, offering a no-cost opt). These fees are intended to pressure consumers to keep their smart meter, which means continuing to suffer from smart meter radiation, and to punish those customers who choose to protect their health.
The electric utilities have made all sorts of claims about the benefits of smart meters to themselves and to customers. Rarely has a utility backed up these claims with data. In the case of SMUD we have asked SMUD many times verbally at Board of Directors meetings and in writing to quantify the actual benefits to customers of the smart meters, either in terms of money saved, electricity saved, or time saved. SMUD has refused to quantify the benefits. We can only conclude that the benefits are negligible and SMUD would be embarrassed to admit that this $360 smart grid program has been a waste.
The only clear benefit of smart meters is that they remove the need for meter readers. The meters transmit 13,381 times per day, according to SMUD, sending customers’ electric usage data to the meter on the next house and the next, then to a collector meter, and then often to a 3rd party contractor and finally to the utility.
The benefits, whatever they are, are in our opinion far outweighed by the health risks of smart meter radiation. See our related page for those risks.