Yes, smart meters are supposed to be better for the environment because they will be able to provide people with frequent updates about their electricity usage, theoretically enabling them to make better decisions about how to optimize their electricity use and reduce their bills. By extension, if people are able to make better choices about how to decrease their energy consumption, less power plants will need to be built to accommodate only occasional peaks in demand.
Overall, smart meters are supposed to give people more control over how much energy they consume by making more information available to them. Rates will also be time-based, meaning the price will change with the demand over the course of the day, so knowing this information will allow people to adjust their usage accordingly if they so choose.
Traditional Analog Meter
Digital Smart Meter
Images taken from this page.
Also, smart meters allow certain appliances in your home (like your dishwasher, thermostat, lights, HVAC system, etc.) to automatically adjust to lower perfomance/lower energy usage settings in off-peak hours. So, while you’re at work, your smartly equipped house will adjust to lower power settings, and automatically readjust at the times you designate peak performance.
There is some speculation, however, about problems associated with smart meter technology:
“The problem: smart metering will turn every single appliance into the equivalent of a transmitting cell phone, and this at a time when public concern about the safety of exposure to the radiofrequency radiation (RF) of wireless technologies is on the rise. Heads up: that’s every dishwasher, microwave oven, stove, washing machine, clothes dryer, air conditioner, furnace, refrigerator, freezer, coffee maker, TV, computer, printer, and fax machine.”
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