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The Morning Briefing: Are smart meters dangerous?

Posting in Energy

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we're reading about smart meter 'risks'.

1.) ComEd: Smart meter installation causes three area house fires. The installation of smart meters, the devices promising customers real-time information about peak electricity use, has caused three small fires in area homes, ComEd has confirmed.

2.) Top 6 common myths about smart meter danger exposed. There's a lot of talk about smart meters and how they can help communities use power more efficiently, conserving energy and thus reducing costs. However, some claim that smart meters are hazardous to human health, emitting dangerous high frequency radio waves that can cause illness and disease.

3.) Risk of smart grid security breaches higher than ever. It's no secret that cyber security is an integral part of the smart grid, but utilities and regulators are continuing to grapple with the best way to fortify themselves against the expanding host of cyber threats.

4.) Fire concerns over smart meters appear overblown. About 35 people die in fires in British Columbia every year, most of which could have been prevented. So the fact that at least two fires broke out in homes after the installation of smart meters is a concern. British Columbians have a right to expect that the installation of the new meters is making them safer, not put-ting them at greater risk.

5.) Smart meters too toxic to touch. It is perhaps the biggest single public policy failure in the energy sector of the past decade - mandated smart meters which are being introduced in Victoria. With the cost of the roll-out now estimated at more than $2 billion - more than twice the initial estimated cost -- it has added another lucrative profit source to the activities of the power distributors.

Image credit: Digitpedia

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— By on September 6, 2012, 5:45 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure