Smart Meters Controversy Across The Country

08/18/2012

Smart meters program expands amid international protests

by Jaie Avila

SAN ANTONIO — Is it friendly technology to help you save energy or an intrusive, surveillance device designed to spy on you and control your power usage? No matter how you view smart meters, we are all getting them installed on our homes soon.

An international battle over smart meters has reached San Antonio. In Washington D.C., protesters demonstrated outside a utility that installed smart meters. In California, activists claim smart meters release harmful levels of radiation, and some have confronted crews installing them. In British Columbia, homeowners lock up their old energy meters to keep them from being replaced.

In a recent documentary film, one of the British Columbia homeowners looks at the camera and implores, “Say no to smart meters, because they are going worldwide unless we stand up and stop it.”

What’s all the concern about? Smart meters look a lot like your current meter, except they have wireless technology that lets them measure your power usage and send that information back to CPS Energy. That eliminates the need for meter readers. CPS Energy also says smart meters will help them pinpoint and fix outages faster. But the greatest benefit will be to customers who can monitor their usage online.

“We’re looking to leverage technology similar to your mobile phone, to enable customers to have improved control and access to information about their own usage”, explained Elaina Ball, CPS Energy’s Vice President of Technical Services & Energy Solutions.

About 40,000 homes in San Antonio currently have smart meters as part of a pilot project, and the rest of us will have them phased in starting later this year.

However, up the road in San Marcos, energy customers like Justin Padgett have had smart meters for more than two years now. Padgett feels the meters violate his right to privacy because they’re a form of electronic surveillance.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.woai.com/content/troubleshooters/story/Smart-meters-program-expands-amid-international/YCNctnS8z0OGqgwkBT7Uxg.cspx

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