Smart Meters? What?

The Naperville Sun posted a letter to the editor that I wrote about a topic that no one cares about. They edited it somewhat… so you can read the original here.

[For background info on what the hell I’m talking about, check this site out first. This whole situation is really frustrating.]

This whole Smart Meter situation makes me so sad. Our city is trying to update its power grid so that power can be used more efficiently. It will save everyone money, and amount to less wasted electricity (which means less power outages). This should be a slam dunk, except for the fact that some people are just crazy. There seems to be two main arguments that people are using against this Smart Meter installation: “I don’t want the government tracking my power usage” and “Smart Meters communicate with radio waves and I’ll get cancer!”. As a physics student, I want to talk about the second one.

Radiation is everywhere. Stop being afraid of it. That’s what light is. That’s how your cell phone works. That’s why you can use the internet without cords. That’s how your radio works. But some people are freaking out that the wireless Smart Meter system will give them bad vibes or cancer or cluster headaches or autism or whatever. I’m pretty sure that this just stems from not understanding how radiation works (just open up the wikipedia page and give it a quick skim. It’s not too hard.) And as Batman said, “You always fear what you can’t understand”.


But in short, higher frequencies aren’t great for our bodies. That’s why it’s bad to take a bunch of x-rays of a pregnant woman or to stick your head in a microwave. And guess what? Smart Meters don’t release that band of radiation. Smart meters use radiation around the same frequency as 4g cellphones and satellite radio. And guess what? That band of radiation has been proved to be safe (thanks, science). There is no discussion as to if Smart Meters can have harmful health effects.

Oh, you have a personal story of your aunt’s friend’s son who has headaches because the government installed a Smart Meter in the house. Do you know what causes headaches? Your anecdotal stories instead of science (also, seriously, anything can cause a headache).

So please stop talking about the Smart Meter thing. It’s the future, get on board with being able to pay for electricity based on what time of the day we use it.


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