Smart meters: Good, bad, or just a big hassle?

Smart meters: Good, bad, or just a big hassle? Photo: Supplied
Smart meters: Good, bad, or just a big hassle? Photo: Supplied

The latest craze with power companies in New Zealand is the smart meter.

A smart meter is an electronic meter that records more regular and more accurate electricity consumption information. Smart meters also have two-way communication capabilities.

According to Nova energy, the immediate benefits to consumers include: receiving bills that are based on actual reads – not estimates – removing the need for regular visits by a meter reader, and the last read occurs almost immediately which can enhance a consumer’s transition between retailers.

But with so many pros, are there any cons?

For Louise Sharp of Onewhero in Waikato, having a smart meter installed in her home is all kinds of bad.

“I don’t see any benefit for the consumer at all,” says Louise.

“I see there is a risk of fire, as you are sometimes attaching the smart meter to a 100-year-old wiring system in a house. Common sense says this is a concern,” she says.

After the first letter or point of contact, Louise also believes some power suppliers don’t continue to practice proper forms of communication.

“I called them and requested a smart meter was not installed on our property, they came when we were not home one day and installed it,” says Louise.

So what can you do?

Smart meters are not compulsory in New Zealand and everyone has the right and opportunity to decline installations in their homes, just like Louise.

“I rang and then emailed asking for it to be removed. They replied that they would do so,” says Louise.

Samantha Worthington
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