Smart meters: ideal and convenient? Or unsafe and unnecessary?

House & Garden svlim3 December 9, 2016 0 30
The smart meters have been in recent years a number of occasions made the news. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative. It is mainly discussed the threat which would form the meters for our privacy. However, there is also some confusion about exactly what is and is not possible. This has already led a number of times to misunderstandings. How about right now with these smart meters? The technology stands for nothing and we are seeing an ever-increasing automation in the life around us. Not only in the form of tablets, phones, other equipment or cars, but also in less obvious cases. The smart meter is a good example. Actually, the basic idea is very simple and obvious. Instead of manually each year should give your meter readings, which automatically with smart meters. You have no need to worry about and it always true.

How smart is the meter?

Called smart meter is actually not so well chosen. It gives the idea that the energy meter anything can and does, as if some form of intelligent behavior or some sophisticated algorithm inside. It is basically just a normal energy meter that keeps track of the meter. In addition, a communication module is provided, which allows the operator remote automatic meter reading from you.

How does the communication?

The smart meter does not work over the Internet, but can be contacted directly by the operator. This is done through the GPRS technology, not through your own Internet connection or WiFi. The GPRS technology is also present in our phones to allow mobile Internet. The maximum speed at which data can be transferred is limited. Therefore, the mobile world is now largely switched to the faster UMTS. But for the little data that the energy meters transfer, GPRS is more than adequate. An important benefit of GPRS is that the cover of it is good in all of the Netherlands, and that the technique is relatively inexpensive.

Smart meter for electric or gas?

Normally you always switch simultaneously smart meters for both gas and electric. Usually, the electricity meter is actually the smart meter with the communication module. Also, the gas meter is then replaced, and it is connected with the electricity meter. So all data are transmitted together. Depending on your situation and your provider can also just a smart meter for gas or go electric. But in most cases is not a good reason. The water meter can be linked in some cases, so you no longer have to worry about that.

Switching to smart meters?

In many areas, energy suppliers and network operators take the initiative to transfer the homes in a neighborhood to a smart meter. It costs you nothing further at that time. If you like want to switch, while you are still not on the roll for the move, then you can. In many cases, you'll pay a fee. However, this varies from power, so just remember that. Incidentally, the government is committed to it throughout the Netherlands to have smart meters by the year 2020.
Large consumers detect?

What are the benefits of the smart meter?

This new energy meters offer several benefits. To what extent this really is an important difference to you as a consumer is very different. For many people these benefits in practice will hardly make a difference. That is also the reason that many people are not clamoring to smart meters. The main advantages:
  • You never need to write more on your meter readings and transmit. It saves you therefore an act and you can not forget it. For some people an extra advantage when the meter hangs on a hard to reach place.
  • You bimonthly get an overview of your energy from your energy supplier.
  • Your actual energy consumption is more commonly used to determine your energy bill. Big surprises in your annual statement will therefore no longer occur.
  • You can get an accurate picture of your energy consumption. This can help you save energy.

Benefits are mainly for the power company?
One of the main reasons for wanting to use smart meters, are the benefits that it offers for the energy suppliers themselves. It cost them much less effort to get the correct readings of their customers. They no longer need to send letters to the people. And especially no memories, but if there is no meter reading is passed. In some cases, they send even one male along to anyway to get a correct position. All costs that go there involved, they lose. No wonder they like to install the meters and migrate to this new system.

What disadvantages entailed in the smart meters

There are some drawbacks to the smart meters. The most common objection is that of privacy. After all, the energy supplier will have more control over the meter readings and thereby better understand your usage. There is however some confusion on this point. The meters can accurately track namely how high your energy consumption at any time of the day. This allows you to build a personal profile. However, there is legislation on how often the meters can be read. The following rules apply:
  • Once a year for your annual statement.
  • Six times a year for bimonthly survey.
  • When it is necessary for the management or maintenance of the meters or from the grid.
  • When you switch to another provider or if you move.
This actually can not really be drawn profile and your privacy is not compromised. Assuming of course that these rules are strictly observed. Because the extent to which energy companies are controlled by these rules is not entirely clear. Still, you may wonder what a network operator can precisely define all based on that data and what further evils it could be done.
Abuse of information
Another potential danger lies in the abuse by third parties. It is in principle possible to look at you distance along on energy consumption. This can be fixed fairly easily in many cases whether or not someone is home. Ideal information for malicious intent. How real this danger is real, it is hard to say. And it is of course whether these possibilities actually increases the likelihood that there get burgled. On the other hand, prevention is better than cure.
Radiation from the smart meter?
Another point that is mentioned sometimes that the meters all day would be to transmit data and thus generate a large dose of radiation. This is a somewhat extreme view of reality. In the first place, does the communication module based on GPRS. So like many cell phones did before, and quite a few still. In addition, the meter does not continuously transmit all data. However, there is a continuous active connection with the GPRS network, as well as with the mobile phones. In other words, in a modern home, with microwave ovens, several mobile phones, tablets, WiFi and what is not even more, the smart meter will contribute little to a higher radiation.

Can you refuse the smart meter?

You may refuse the smart meter when it is offered. It is also possible to disable the automatic transmission and use of the meter. However, it does not always mean that your data is then not forwarded. Or that the data may be used. You will be required just once a year itself by giving your meter readings.