Get Smart: Why Smart Meters are Integral to the Smart Grid

Dan Upham

As Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp noted in an earlier post, the United States is long overdue for an upgrade to our antiquated electrical grid.

A “smart” electric grid allows homes and businesses to use, as well as produce and sell, electricity in a more technologically advanced way; wireless meters are used to transmit data about a customer’s energy use throughout the day.

Therein lies the heart of a point-counterpoint that recently ran in The Wall Street Journal: Critics of the wireless transmitters believe these ‘smart meters’ pose a health and safety hazard.

Jim Marston, who leads Environmental Defense Fund’s US Climate and Energy Program, makes the case that smart meters are critical to realizing the full potential of the smart grid, the data they provide is invaluable and the health and environmental case for smart meters is stronger than the case against them.

“Over the next two decades, utilities across the U.S. will invest as much as $2 trillion to modernize our aging and inefficient energy infrastructure, creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to revolutionize how we generate, distribute and use electricity,” Jim wrote.

See the full article for details, including the counterpoint arguments from Joshua Hart, director of