To Facilitate Demand Response, Assuage Concerns Over Smart Meters
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Scrolling through my utility newsfeed this morning, I came across this article out of Wales investigating the benefits and disadvantages of smart meters. The writer and his wife had reservations about switching over, mostly because of privacy concerns. However, their research, which included a conversation with the head of their utility’s public affairs department, left them convinced that smart meters are safe and useful.
Although smart meter rollouts usually go smoothly in North America, there are expectations. A couple months ago I did a post on the case of Fairfield, Iowa, where a community of new-age silent retreat types sought to stop Alliant’s rollout and was largely successful.
While Fairfield is an atypical American town with atypical concerns, I do wonder if we won’t see more pushback as the country becomes more aware and suspicious of the ways corporations take and use their data.
I hope we don’t see such pushback, because smart meters and the residential demand response programs they facilitate are becoming all the more important. Just look at what happened in California this summer.
To assure customers about the utility of smart meters, utilities should try to bring them the same message that the Welsh journalist got: Address concerns explicitly and, if possible, try to talk to people one on one.