Smart Meters are safe and give you more control over your energy usage
Published 3:34 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2017
In response to Erin Miller’s letter to the editor – Potential dangers of Smart Meters – published on July 6:
Smart meter technology is not new. In fact, the meter that’s currently on the homes and businesses across North Carolina were installed nearly two decades ago, and they operate on the same 900 megahertz radio signal as our new smart meters. The only difference is how the information is gathered. With our older “drive-by” meters, someone has to physically drive by your location so the meter can transmit data to a computer in a car. This currently happens once a month.
Smart meters transmit data to a computer in an office on a daily basis, so instead of getting one piece of data per month (the bill), you will have access to daily usage data so you can monitor it and make changes – if you want – to better control how much you’re spending. We can also send you usage alerts to let you know when your bill is tracking higher than normal… much like your cell phone company does now with data alerts. You can even pick your own due date – a service we’re not able to offer with our current technology.
We know there are some customers who believe the meters and the radio frequency on which they operate pose a health hazard. There’s a lot of information and misinformation on the Web about it, so it’s understandable why there may be some reluctance to embrace the technology. The fact is smart meters emit such a low level of radio frequency that having one on your home for 20 years is the equivalent of talking on your cell phone for 30 minutes.
There have been many reputable studies on the health risks and smart meters, including one conducted by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in 2015. In that study, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services concluded there was insufficient evidence linking radio frequency exposure to adverse health – findings that are consistent with the conclusions of other organizations including the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
Our job is to enable the best possible experience for our customers and that’s what the technology allows us to do. The meters are safe. We operate them just like our current drive-by meters – well below the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission for safe operation.
And while the benefits are numerous, we do recognize that some customers would prefer not to have meters, so we are working with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to offer customers the option to have the radio frequency on their smart meter disabled and the meter read manually once a month.
Duke Energy Project
Carolinas Smart Meter