Forum: Smart meters really the smart solution?

HDB blocks in Ang Mo Kio in a photo taken on Feb 4, 2018.
HDB blocks in Ang Mo Kio in a photo taken on Feb 4, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

Environment Correspondent Audrey Tan explained the benefits of replacing the analog meters with advanced meters (Smart meters to help more homes go green, Nov 6). This is a brilliant initiative to get users to reduce their energy consumption. However, it does come with its downside.

The report suggests that this initiative will be made mandatory. Not all homes contribute to high energy consumption, so consumers should be allowed to opt out.

Also, there is little information on the negative implications of having these smart meters.

I cite Portland General Electric (PGE) in the US, and BC Hydro in British Columbia on their cases of fire outbreaks from "electrical component failures" of their smart meters.

The authorities should give the public some assurances that such incidents will not happen here.

I also understand that this switch to smart meters could be costly, in both monetary and environmental terms. For instance, there may be an increase in the use of electricity to maintain the servers that update consumption usage every half hourly.

At the end of the day, consumers would want to know if this initiative is truly effective in helping to conserve energy, reduce pollution and save money.

For this initiative to be truly successful in Singapore, more educational campaigns have to be undertaken or the whole project could end up being a white elephant with consumers neglecting to use the app.

Goh Wei Qi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2019, with the headline 'Smart meters really the smart solution?'. Subscribe