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What Are Smart Meters?

Power meters track the amount of power you are consuming. There are numerous models available on the market, however, they are all of two types: analogue or smart meters. If you’re unsure as to what type of electricity meter you have installed at your house, check with your power provider.

Analogue Meters

A traditional, or analogue meter requires a meter reader to come to your house. It then records the amount of electricity you have consumed since the previous time it was read.

Smart Meters

A smart meter, on the other hand, keeps a record of the amount of electricity that is actually being used every half an hour. It, then, sends the collected data to your power provider every day using technology similar to text messaging or radio networking.

What are the benefits of using smart meters?

Your power provider charges you for the amount of electricity you’ve used, as opposed to a monthly estimate that is based on your consumption history. Additionally, some providers have online tools available that will help you track the energy consumption while using it.

Is it safe to share my smart meter data?

All power company providers are bound to abide 1993 Privacy Act and will securely keep your personal data. Companies are only allowed to use the smart meter data with your account’s name. Your smart meter’s data that is travelling to your power provider is securely encrypted.

Companies that own meters must make sure that they disclose meter information only to the direct holder of the account, or people who are authorised by the account holder.

All of the purposes for your smart meter data must be clearly stated by power companies in their privacy policy. It must be easily accessible to you through their website. Alternatively, it can be requested by you by contacting your energy provider.

Can smart meters negatively affect my health?

Networks that are used by smart meters for transmitting data are similar to those, that cellphones use. However, smart meters use such networks a lot less frequently than cellphones.

Smart meters can use two types of networks:

  1. Standard mobile phone network. They operate once a day
  2. Mesh network. They use other smart meters to transmit data from one another until a control point is reached.

Nevertheless, despite the type of network that smart meters use, they operate intermittently, and their frequency is very low. So, there is no harm in using them in your household.

Am I required to install a smart meter?

No, there is no requirement for power providers to install smart meters. However, many energy companies advise their clients to install smart meters. That way, retailers can regularly provide customers with power consumption data, and more accurately bill them.

All in all, you always have a chance to consult with your power provider about what meter is most suitable for you.