Case Study

Smart Meters are devices used to gather data and provide information about energy consumption (e.g., electricity, gas, water) in a home. One motivation of smart meters is to provide consumers with more information about their energy use. This can help them make changes that lead to saving energy or use energy at non-peak times when it is often cheaper. However, Smart Meters also communicate with central offices of utility companies. This potential invasion of privacy and concerns of the impact of smart meters on health due to radiation (EMF and RF waves) have made smart meters controversial.

Ask your students to research Smart Meters and discuss the following questions.
1. What are Smart Meters, and how are they used?
2. What kind of data do they gather, and how is it transmitted?
3. From the perspective of an energy company, what are the advantages of Smart Meters? What questions could be answered using the detailed data on energy uses?
4. From the perspective of the customer, what might be the advantages of Smart Meters?
5. What are some of the arguments against using Smart Meters?
6. In your opinion, should Smart Meters be used? Why or why not? If you think they should be used, what guidelines would you suggest be put in place to minimize the concerns people may have regarding the issues presented in Question 5?


Understanding Smart Meters provides an overview of what Smart Meters do and addresses many of the controversial issues surrounding them.
Smart Meters argues against the use of Smart Meters by discussing many of the common fears about them.