The meter reader has gone the way of the milkman and the bread man — in some communities, "smart meters" wirelessly report your energy or water consumption back to the utility company. But fear of electric impulses transmitted by the devices has led to a consumer call for choice.
Digital smart meter technology has been around since the 1990s, but opposition has grown worldwide. Critics of the technology claim the radio emissions cause a variety of human health problems.
A report on the dangers of smart meters prepared for the Vermont Department of Public Service says the radio frequency fields associated with the devices emit only a small fraction of the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission.
The report is based upon laboratory testing and field measurements of some wireless smart meters being used by Green Mountain Power and the Burlington Electric Department.
Worries about health effects, privacy and cost are fueling growing opposition to wireless, digital "smart meters" that utilities around the country are installing on homes and businesses and touting as key energy conservation and grid reliability tools. WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…
Vermont appears poised to take an unusually aggressive stance. While several states have allowed utilities to charge a fee to customers who want to opt out of smart meters, Vermont's governor is expected soon to sign legislation that would allow customers to say no without paying anything extra.