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Pennsylvanians, thanks to a 2008 law are forced to accept Smart Meters into their homes – something that is happening all around the world.

However, Germany just stopped their program for homes. As part of the European Union, they were expected to install 34 million of the new meters in every household. Germany is echoing the prominent argument: “Smart Meters, Dumb Idea”.

A cost-benefit analysis by Ernst & Young for the German government showed that most of the costs could fall to homes while the majority of benefits will go to industrial consumers with real opportunities to reduce energy consumption and leverage “load shifting”. Through the Smart Meter, users can get lower rates by using electricity “off-peak”. While it might make sense  for a steel mill to do the ‘melt’ at 2 AM, how realistic is it for most people to get up and do laundry in the middle of the night?

Germany is not alone in recognizing that Smart Meters are not cost effective for home owners. Connecticut’s Attorney General  George Jepsen stated that Smart Meters: “showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage… the savings that were seen were limited to large users.” A homeowner’s costs to install the new meter system would far exceed any savings. (If a Smart Meter has already been installed at your home you’ll find the cost added to your monthly electric bill.)

Not only will these devices be expensive, but they will also record what equipment is used. The Smart Meter is ‘Two-Way’ device. Ernst & Young noted in one report, “utilities will soon be able to control thermostats and appliances” using the Smart Meter. Put another way, you will not be in charge of the temperature of your own home.

If Smart Meters are so great, why did the Pennsylvania government have to force you and me to install them? Why not let home-owners decide for themselves if it the benefits of the Smart Meter outweigh the costs?
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