I have been reading more and more articles on Smart Meter Opt-Out programs globally, and it is really becoming confusing on what is trying to be accomplished.
The industry has advocated that smart meters will empower the consumer to have more control over their energy usage and promoted more energy efficiency and energy conservation, but the consumer is pushing back.
I recently read that it is projected 20% of the smart meters in the UK will become dumb meters again. In North America, utilities are offering opt-out packages whereby the consumer will pay either a flat fee and/or pay a monthly fee to opt-out.
So why are consumers pushing back so strongly regarding smart meters?
Some say it is because they hear their monthly bills will sky-rocket, others say it is because of data privacy, personal safety, and many others because of the fear of change.
Customers are going to great measures to block smart meter rollout, like in Naperville, Illinois where residents have taken matters to the federal court to block the smart grid initiative, or in Australia where some smart meters have been tampered with a chemical substance that causes the meter to fail.
Until utilities can better market the importance to the consumer of the smart meter, a high percentage of consumers will fight change and demand opting out of their smart meter which ultimately undermines the whole business justification around smart meters to assist with demand response programs and energy efficiency.
Will smart meters be the next great thing, or are they like the conversion of the bathroom scale from dial to digital, providing me the same data only in a different format, I know I need to lose a little weight, and I already know what I should do about it.