A new product to meter our power usage is becoming a common addition to households in Australia but some people believe ‘smart meters’ are unsafe.
Energy Made Easy, which is part of a government information service to help us save money on our power bills, has recently introduced a new Smart Meter.
Smart meters, sometimes called interval meters, are a special type of electricity meter that are different from the analogue meters we have now, which are read at regular intervals by a human. Smart meters record how much electricity a house or business is using at regular times during a day and send the readings directly to your energy distributor electronically.
To date about 10 countries world wide are already using smart meters – Australia, Canada, parts of Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, some Nordic countries, Spain and parts of the UK and the US using the meter with the technology set to go in about seven more countries that are getting ready to switch.
A smart meter is automatically installed with new solar panels in Australia unless the customer requests an analogue meter instead.
Some believe that smart meters emit dangerous levels of radiation.
According to the anti-smart meters website, Stop Smart Meters Australia, the appliance is not safe for household use.
‘If you live in NSW, QLD, SA, Tas or the ACT, don’t be lulled into complacency by the opt-out provisions of the new national electricity rule starting 1 December,’ says a post on their website. ‘The right to opt-out and keep your existing meter only applies to “working” meters.
‘If your retailer decides to do a “maintenance replacement” deployment (because sample testing has shown a likelihood of meters becoming faulty) instead of a “new meter deployment”, there is no requirement for your retailer to forewarn you, other than to notify you of a power interruption.
‘This means that you must convey your refusal in advance. If you have taken this step, the new rule provides for you to be given a smart meter if your meter is subject to a maintenance replacement – but it will be one that does not have its wireless communications enabled. A meter reader will continue to read your meter, and you and your family will not be bathed 24/7 in microwave radiation from your own meter.’
It looks like the rollout is well underway so the choices for consumers now are to either ‘opt out’ or not worry about it.
Another option is to radiation proof your home or at least your meter box.
If you would like information about refusing the Smart Meter, visit the Stop Smart Meters website: www.stopsmartmeters.com.au.
If you want to find out what the government has to say, visit: www.energymadeeasy.gov.au.