Smart meters may be the way of the future, but they certainly have a lot of people stirred up in the present. The meters, which are online-enabled, would be able to give companies and consumers a more accurate and detailed feedback about their energy use. But many people are staunchly against the implementation of these devices.
Their concern stems from numerous issues, but many believe that the change to smart meters is inevitable anyway. The general concerns fall under two categories: misuse and EMF dangers.
Firstly, many people are worried that the new technology will misread their energy use, and that the devices are simply insecure.
Yet another aspect coming into play here is that many feel it will lead to government overreach. The thing with these objections, however, is that their solutions are easily explained. No energy company is going to want to end up in a lawsuit, so clearly they wouldn’t be using them if they thought they were insecure.
Moving on to the second argument concerning EMF dangers, opponents may or may not have a point here. Many now believe that being around technology that emits low-level radiation can cause headaches, weakness, nausea, and other symptoms and that those who suffer from these conditions have “electromagnetic hypersensitivity.”
Earlier this year, 190 scientists from 39 different nations called upon the United Nations, its member-states, and the World Health Organization to come up with better guidelines for EMF dangers. They said that exposure to electromagnetic fields and wireless technology was a risk for public health, and that it needed to be addressed on a global scale.
While various tests have still not proven the condition to be “real,” and the WHO refuses to classify it as a health condition, the people suffering from electromagnetic sensitivity likely aren’t lying about their sickness.
Most people, whether you know much about medicine or not, are aware that the placebo effect exists and know how it works. Yet cientists who have tried to study electromagnetic sensitivity have found that those suffering may be feeling reverse effects: a nocebo effect.
In this situation, people believe that something is making them sick, and therefore, it does make them sick. They aren’t lying about the headaches and nausea, but it isn’t actually induced by EMF dangers themselves.
Others still believe that it is an issue that needs more research.
“Yesterday yet another person called our offices to inquire what kind of EMF protection they could purchase immediately,” says Virginia Bonta Brown, M.S. Occupational Therapist/President, BioElectric Shield Co. “Why? Because 24 hours after a Smart Meter was installed in her home, her blood pressure, normally controlled by medication, skyrocketed to 198 over 97, a dangerously high, pre-stroke condition. This woman had not given a second thought when the meter was installed; she was NOT expecting a problem. After being out of her home for several hours, her blood pressure returned to normal. I would not call this a nocebo effect. I would call it a direct link between too much EMF exposure and a clear stress reaction from her body.”
The concerns, whether legitimate or not, likely will not make a difference in the long run, unfortunately. Everything around us is only getting more and more connected. We have smart systems that connect home security to a smartphone, TVs, music systems, laptops — even things like refrigerators and ovens “pose a threat.”
Wi-Fi has spread from our phones and laptops into our cars, cameras, and police vehicles as well. Technology is constantly expanding, getting smaller, getting faster — and it shows no signs of stopping.
Smart meters are just another connection in the ever-growing web of technology surrounding us, and though many may still not trust technology, the fact is that it’s there. It’s not going anywhere. Perhaps instead of spending energy fighting it and allowing it to make us sick, we should embrace the benefits that have come with it.