Why Refusing a SMART Meter Is the Smart Thing to Do

Imagine living in a social credit system where there was an ability to cut off your energy if you didn’t agree with the government’s narrative.
Why Refusing a SMART Meter Is the Smart Thing to Do
A smart energy meter, used to monitor gas and electricity use, is pictured in a home in Walthamstow, east London, on Feb. 4, 2022. (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicole James
Updated:
0:00
Commentary

What is a SMART meter?

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Intelligence is not part of the acronym.

A SMART meter records a home’s energy use digitally. The meter sends the information back to the retailer, and thus they do not need to send a technician out every three to six months.

This, of course, saves the retailer money.

Smart meters were introduced in the United States in 2007 when President George Bush brought in the Energy Independence and Security Act and allocated $4.5 billion to develop a SMART electricity grid.

In 2009, the European Union mandated that SMART meters needed to be brought in by 2022.

In Australia, the Council of Australian Governments commissioned a review into SMART meters between 2002 and 2006.

On Aug. 30 this year, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recommended that SMART meters be in all households by 2030.

They have stated in a media release that SMART meters will “help customers reduce their household bills in the short-term and provide savings for all energy users in the longer term.”

SMART meters have been mandated for residences in Victoria since 2006.

In New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the Northern Territory, and South Australia, approximately 30 percent of homes have them, according to CHOICE magazine.
Meanwhile, the Western Australian government plans to have all households on SMART meters by 2027.

Can You Refuse a SMART Meter?

In the United Kingdom, SMART meters are not mandatory, but energy companies can make customers install a SMART meter if their old meter is considered to be a safety hazard or is not functioning properly.

In Australia, you can only refuse a SMART meter in NSW, Queensland, ACT, Tasmania, or South Australia if your current meter still works and you haven’t waivered your right to opt out of getting one when you signed your electricity contract. (It may be worthwhile changing suppliers if you can opt out of a SMART meter, ensuring that they have the opt-out option available.)

In Victoria, SMART meters are mandatory, so there is no opportunity to opt-out.

Your retailer needs to give you two written notices detailing your ability to opt out (pdf). You can only opt out if your retailer is rolling out SMART meters as part of a new deployment. It is not the case if your meter is faulty or deemed to be faulty.
If you don’t wish to have a device with remote communication capabilities installed at your home, you can ask for the SMART part of the meter to be turned off. However, there may be ongoing costs associated with this.

Pulses of Up to 192,000 Times a Day

So why would you want to opt-out? Well, SMART meters emit sharp electromagnetic pulses, thus creating electromagnetic radiation (EMR).

While utilities in the U.S. say that usage data is only emitted around four times a day—the actual meter is pulsing around the clock.

According to Bill Bathgate in the Defender, an engineer and certified building biology environmental consultant, it is pulsing every three to seven seconds. An investigation for Pacific Gas and Electric determined that SMART meters can pulse up to 192,000 times a day.
Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is associated with DNA damage and cancer, according to a study done in 2018 by the U.S. National Toxicology Program. There have been studies that show that it can also cause tinnitus, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and disorientation, and nausea and vomiting.

To deal with this, you can install a SMART meter guard, which is a SMART meter cover.

This is made of metal mesh and can block up to 95 percent of radiation emitted from the meter. They are reasonably priced and easy to install.

You can also install a lining or RF-blocking paint inside your home.

Dirty electricity can be eliminated by unplugging any appliances that draw energy from the grid, even when switched off.

Savings Over Liberty?

Meanwhile, another reason is that suppliers have the ability to cut off your energy without any advance warning.

Imagine living in a social credit system where there was an ability to cut off your energy if you didn’t agree with the government’s narrative or if you had a low social credit score. This may not be the situation now, but who knows what the future holds.

Scott McCollough, the lead litigator on behalf of Defence’s EMR-related legal work, told the Defender that SMART meters can “restrict people’s ability to use electricity as they wish by allowing the utility to remotely turn off heating and cooling without user consent—even if the user has medical needs requiring heating or cooling to maintain a prescribed temperature inside the home.”

“SMART meters are yet another invasion of individual liberty, autonomy, and privacy.”

The energy companies will tell you that the meter is a way to save money, but it doesn’t appear to be.

Suppliers can charge variable surge prices every half an hour. Prices can rise at a moment’s notice.

It will be incredibly difficult to understand your energy bill, with prices changing every 30 minutes. Thus you are in the hands of your supplier.

Off-peak and on-peak rates may offer savings. However, these rates may be withdrawn, especially when renewables increase.

Other reasons you may wish to opt-out include the fact that batteries can fail, the meters do not have surge suppression and thus can pose a fire risk, meters malfunction, and meters can turn dumb, meaning your bill could be over or under your actual usage.

You might also be vulnerable to cyber-attacks if burglars hack in and see your electricity use and thus know when to attack your home.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Nicole James is a freelance journalist for The Epoch Times based in Australia. She is an award-winning short story writer, journalist, columnist, and editor. Her work has appeared in newspapers including The Sydney Morning Herald, Sun-Herald, The Australian, the Sunday Times, and the Sunday Telegraph. She holds a BA Communications majoring in journalism and two post graduate degrees, one in creative writing.
Related Topics