Smart-grid planners feel the heat.
As America approaches summer’s Dog Days, the debate over smart meters is heating up. In an effort to understand the controversy, it’s tempting to view it as a purely political argument—albeit a complicated one. In some jurisdictions, opposition is coming from people on the left side of the political spectrum, whose main complaint stems from distrust of big corporations and the technologies they’re promoting. At the same time, right-leaning opponents seem convinced that smart meters are part of a leftist scheme to advance a radical green agenda—and in the bargain to impose big government control over individuals.
“This is all part of President Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade plan,” wrote Westerville, Ohio, realtor Petra Hinterschied, in a lengthy blog post on her city’s smart-meter project. “We must ask ourselves: Do [the] benefits outweigh the possible unintended consequences, loss of liberty, immediate and future costs of the smart grid system and huge security/privacy issues?”
But as politically motivated as some of the arguments might be, at least two themes unify virtually all public opposition to smart meters, namely:
1) People fear what they don’t understand, and a lack of information translates into a perceived threat. The human imagination fills dark corners with hideous monsters; and