Elster_Type_R15_electricity_meter

On the community site that active near me — Nextdoor — there was a big debate about the smart meters that will soon be rolled out by Seattle City Light (SCL).

There are two main arguments against them:

  • OH MY GOD THE RADIO WAVES ARE FRYING MY BRAIN
  • Privacy

(all-caps on the first one because the people are legitimately lunatics in my not so humble opinion)

The radio wave thing is a big enough concern for so many people that SCL devoted around half of their white paper going to great lengths to debunk the idiocy. Of course all of this debate is happening online with people who are using the same wireless technology that they are so up in arms about — WiFi. (Well, a very similar technology in the same part of the radio spectrum)

The second reason is that people are worried about monitoring. Unless you cover your windows, anyone can see in your house anyway. You get at most one data feed about how much power is being used. You can’t do an awful lot with that. Besides, the only thing that people were really getting antsy about was weed growing… and now that’s legal anyway.

In return though you get a host of benefits:

  • Better data about your energy use — hourly instead of every two months.
  • You can start to factor in smarter demand-based pricing.
  • You no longer need to send people around to read meters.
  • The utility gets better pinpointing on outages.

In the short term the city is spending a lot of money to install meters, but the payback period is well less than a decade for these things. Then we’ll just be saving over 10 million dollars a year after a few years.

This seems like a no brainer.

Unless you’re convinced (idiotically) that it’ll fry your brain or such nonsense.