Quick Take: After the flurry of negative publicity that resulted when Duke turned off power to a customer who refused a smart meter, we feel even more strongly that utilities should all offer opt-out programs. Yes, the customer should pick up the extra cost of manual meter reading. Or the extra cost to mount the meter on a pole away from the customer residence. But they should not be forced to take a smart meter just because they hold extreme views about their health risks. And now it looks like Colorado may join the list of states that allow opt-out. - By Jesse Berst
While smart meters were installed at the homes of Colorado Springs Utilities customers several years ago, it is apparent that at least some of those customers are starting to worry about possible health hazards caused by the meters' radio transmissions â€“ as they have in numerous communities across the country.
While the utility says the smart meters are safe, its board and the Colorado Springs City Council will consider an opt-out plan for those concerned customers. The utility board and city council approval is required before an opt-out program can be put in place. If those approvals come, customers may be able to opt out as of January and have their smart meters switched out for an analog meter, according to a KOAA news story.
Customers would be required to pay a one-time fee of $109 for the meter switch.
According to the news story, one customer had his smart meter removed and replaced it with an analog meter after looking into the well-publicized dangers to health cited by smart meter opponents. A utility spokesman, Steve Berry, was quoted as saying "Compared to other technology that people use every day whether it's their microwave oven or cell phone, there's really no risk we have found to the customer otherwise we wouldn't install it."
Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.
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