Smart Meters to be Optional

by Parks Associates | Jun. 7, 2012

Concerned that the new, digital electrical meters are unhealthy, expose customer data to computer hackers and terrorists, or give the government a tool of control? There's hope, you might not have to get a smart meter after all.

Key lawmakers have threatened to propose legislation requiring utilities to allow customers to decline a smart meter, unless the commission creates a way for people to opt out pronto.

Some electricity customers worry the digital meters, which use wireless technology to communicate customer data to the utility, create serious problems. People with health issues sometimes say the radio frequency from the meters makes their conditions much worse. Cybersecurity experts warn that the meter system is vulnerable to hackers searching for personal information about customers or seeking the thrill of shutting down parts of the grid. Hundreds have written to the PUC asking to opt out. Oncor, the power line utility that is installing the meters says smart meters emit less radio frequency than mobile phones, and the company uses the same security measures to protect its computers as banks use. Using a smartphone to check your bank balance is riskier than living with a smart meter.

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