Are Smart Meters Safe?

With More and More Power Company’s Switching to Smart Meters

Are they really that safe?  A lot is know, and not a lot is know, about the dangers of “smart” technology and the human body.  With more devices in our pockets and on our wrists, and our homes having more wireless technology added to them every day. Just what is the long term risk of all this convenience?



The adoption of digital technology by power companies over the past ten years has occurred with lightning speed. It has happened so fast, in fact, that it has proven difficult for consumers and businesses to keep pace with the trend in order to secure their right to retain analog meters at their home or residence if desired.

There are two common types of digital meters: Standard AMR (automated meter reading) and advanced smart meters.

AMR, sometimes referred to as ERT, provides a one-way wireless communication for utility companies, whereas smart meters have a two-way capability via connection to the SmartGrid.

An increasing number of people are finding that exposure to dirty electricity triggers or exacerbates health problems. While the effects of dirty electricity cannot be smelled, touched, seen, or felt, it is nonetheless very real and problematic for those who experience it.

The health effects of dirty electricity were first identified as early as the 1950s in rural areas when the behavior and feeding patterns of livestock were negatively affected by stray voltage caused by poor grounding and lack of utility infrastructure. In humans, the symptomatic effects can vary widely but commonly include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Body aches and pains
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Worsening of symptoms from multiple sclerosis or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)


Lest you think that EMF sensitivity is nothing to be concerned about, note that the country of Sweden has formally acknowledged issues with dirty electricity as a legitimate disability which affects at least 3% of the population. In addition, doctors in Switzerland have concluded that 5% of the symptoms their patients experience could be traced to the negative effects of dirty electricity exposure.

Forward thinking companies are beginning to take note as well. The Weston A. Price Foundation has successfully opted out of a smart meter for its Washington D.C. office due to health concerns for its employees, albeit one of less than a dozen to do so in the entire District of Columbia.

Dirty Electricity Generated by AMR Meters

While most people are aware that the smart meters that have been relentlessly installed around the nation (usually without customer permission and despite verbal or written protest) are a huge source of dirty electricity exposure, AMR meters have, for the most part, remained under the radar.

The radio signal is picked up by a “collector” inside a meter reader’s vehicle. This is similar to the operation of a garage-door opener. AMR technology is different from two-way meters, which are sometimes referred to as “smart meters”, but is it any safer?


Digital meters—whether or not “smart”—cause dirty electricity to flow through your home’s wiring. The problem is what is called the “switched mode power supply.” Switched mode power supplies are used to run the digital meter (whether a smart meter or a radio-off opt-out smart meter). In order for a smart meter to be powered, the 240 volts coming off the power line to the meter must be stepped down to 4–10 volts. A switched mode power supply is the device used to step down the voltage from 240 volts to 4-10 volts. This generates an enormous amount of what is commonly known as “dirty electricity” and referred to by electricians and electrical engineers as “voltage transients,” “voltage harmonics,” “line noise,” and “power quality issues.”


How to Eliminate Dirty Electricity from an AMR Meter

I have only just discovered that the AMR device installed at my home is generating a dirty electricity problem for my family. I had erroneously thought that because it wasn’t a smart meter, it wasn’t a problem. While the problem with an AMR is certainly much lower than with a smart meter, I do intend to petition our power company to replace it with an analog meter. This is a good move anyway, given that my power company has stated on its website that the long term direction of the company is toward two-way smart meters, which I definitely do not want to be a part of.


The bottom line is that only analog meters are completely safe with no emissions or dirty electricity issues. AMR, while less problematic than smart meters, still poses a health risk long term. Smart meters are the absolute worst with constant emissions from the device itself (like a cell phone tower attached to your home) as well as surges of dirty electricity through the internal wiring of a residence or business.


How to Monitor and Reduce Your EMF Load

If you are interested in monitoring and ultimately reducing your radiation load from all the digital devices in your home environment, this can be assessed using this measuring device. This inexpensive, handheld gadget is particularly helpful for identifying EMF hotspots in your home so that you can move routers and other wireless devices to different locations (or eliminating some entirely like wireless baby monitors) and adjusting lifestyle as necessary to ensure, at the very least, that sleeping areas are as EMF free as possible.



Special Thanks to Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist For this Article


More Information

Fitbit Health Dangers

Reducing Exposure to Dirty Electricity

The Health Hazards of Wireless Baby Monitors

Harvard MD Speaks Out about the Health Dangers of Smart Meters

How to Protect Yourself from a Smart Meter