Real information and an emotional appeal help counteract urban legends about smart meters.
Our Utility Pulse™ ’13 study tells us that interest in smart meters has dropped by 6.5 percent in the past two years.
Consumers were asked, “How interested are you in receiving an advanced (smart) meter for your home that would monitor the quality of the electricity you are receiving, notify the utility if you lose power and offer you more detailed information about the amount and time of day you are using electricity?”
In 2011, 60.7 percent of respondents said they were interested. In 2013, that fell to 54.2 percent.
A quick web search for the phrase “beware of smart meters” shows a big reason. A slew of articles and blog posts pop up, generally describing advanced thermostats as a fire risk, a health risk (dangerous radio waves), a “warrantless search, a clear violation of our 4th Amendment rights,” and so on.
It’s always good to address disinformation with facts.
The nonprofit SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative offers a handy two-page pdf, Myths vs. Facts: The Truth about Smart Meters, providing factual information to refute six prevalent smart-meter canards, starting with “Myth No. 1: Smart meters are less accurate than analog meters.”
But this gets us only so far. It’s important to address the emotional scare tactics with an equally emotional, compelling response.
Engage consumers in the loss they’re experiencing – the waste of money that occurs when they don’t have a smart meter. Tell them, “You’re using energy you don’t have to use, which is money you’re wasting. You’re leaving savings on the table.”