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Smart Meters Slow Hurricane Recovery Efforts

In 2015, I wrote a comprehensive article explaining that customer calls, not smart meters are still the primary source of power outage notification for utilities and that “it is unrealistic and misleading to advertise that a smart meter will identify your home as being without power with notification to the utility of that condition.” [1]  This is particularly true for large-scale outages since individual meters generally depend on other smart meters in the system to act as relays for an outage notification signal to make it all the way back to the utility company.  As the number of meters in the system increases which are without power, fewer and fewer meters remain that can act as relays.

Smart meters can also be much more easily damaged during storm conditions as compared to their analog counterparts.  Such is likely the case in Lakeland, Florida, where restoration efforts are still underway from Hurricane Irma.  Up to 500 smart meters are reported as malfunctioning and indicating that power has been restored to the customer when it has not.  As reported by WTVT in Tampa [2]:

“If you are in the Lakeland area and you still don’t have power, Lakeland Electric wants you to call them. …

Apparently the smart meters may not be as smart after a big storm like Irma because up to 500 are malfunctioning, and they’re saying that a house has power when it really doesn’t. … The not so smart meters.”

Overall, power restoration efforts in Florida are reported to be occurring at a good rate.  This is primarily due to the massive number of resources being brought in from out-of-state to assist with the restoration.  Don’t be fooled into later believing that a relatively quick restoration had something to do with “smart meters.”  If anything, smart meters are likely hindering and complicating the restoration efforts as reported by WTVT.