You might have already been contacted by your energy supplier offering you a way to more easily manage your energy usage, save money and budget better with a smart meter.
These benefits sound tempting, but here at The Healthy House we’ve said we don’t want one. Read on to find out why...
What is a smart meter?
A smart meter uses wireless technology to allow your gas and electricity supplier to measure your usage remotely. Communicated using similar radio-frequency EMF signals to those emitted by your mobile phone or Wi-Fi router, the meter informs both you and your energy supplier of exactly how much you’re using.
The benefits to the customer are an increased awareness of utility usage and no more estimated bills, which should in theory save money. The benefits to the suppliers are obvious: a huge amount of information given to them about their customers’ energy usage habits which can be utilised for marketing purposes, and making substantial savings on overheads by no longer needing to employ meter readers.
Why are we refusing one?
Put simply, anecdotal evidence from current users suggests that they might cause potential health issues.
Here at The Healthy House, we are acutely aware of the potential risks of exposure to wireless radiation. Through our work with electrically sensitive customers we have seen that, for some people, the health effects of exposure to these technologies can be immediate. Even for the vast majority of us who do not consider ourselves electrically sensitive, a growing body of evidence is suggesting potential long-term negative effects on our health as a result of exposure to these fields.
You may already have heard that the World Health Organisation has classified EMF radiation as a class 2B carcinogen. A number of studies have reported ill-effects as a result of exposure to these types of technologies, from fatigue, headache and sleep disorders to psychiatric problems.
For these reasons, we believe in taking precautions when using EMF-emitting technologies. Smart meters create another source of short bursts of radiation within our own homes. Without certainty that this technology is safe, we believe it is better to err on the side of caution.
The official advice from Public Health England (PHE) is that there isn’t any convincing evidence that exposure to radio waves within guideline levels is harmful to health. They say that mobile phone usage exposes us to more radiation than devices such as smart meters.
PHE may well be correct, but we can’t ignore the growing body of evidence that suggests that there could be a problem. Furthermore, Senior Nuclear Policy Lecturer at UCSC Daniel Hirsch says that smart meters may expose your body to as much radiation as 160 mobile phones (source: ‘Stop Smart Meters UK’).
Whether you refuse a smart meter or not is completely your choice – but remember that they are not compulsory.
What does the future hold?
The government want smart meters to be in every home in the UK by 2020, encompassing over 26 million homes. The rollout is in its initial stages at the moment. All energy suppliers must offer their customers a smart meter by 2020.
How can I refuse a smart meter?
Smart meters are not mandatory and you have the right to refuse one if you wish. However, if your current meter is too old, it can be a safety hazard to not get it replaced. Speak to your energy supplier about your concerns if this is the case.
The website Stop Smart Meters UK offers a wide range of resources for people wishing to ‘opt out’, including notices of non-consent, leaflets, printable signs and stickers.
What can I do if I already have a smart meter?
If you already have a smart meter, don’t panic! There are things you can do to reduce your exposure to the fields. You can request that your energy supplier uninstalls the meter or puts it into ‘dumb’ mode but it is at their discretion whether they comply with this.
If they refuse, you can rent or buy an EMF meter like the ones below to detect areas in your home where the fields are highest. You can then re-arrange furniture accordingly to reduce your exposure.
Shielding material can deflect electromagnetic radiation away. You can use it to create a bed canopy or curtain lining, or you can even wear it! We’ve also heard good reviews on harmonising devices which are designed to re-tune the radiation into a more tolerable frequency for your body. Try attaching the Phi SmartDot to your smart meter and see if you feel a difference.
Concerned about EMF radiation? View our range of helpful products here.
Please note: Information included in this website is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with a medical practitioner.