February 1, 2011 - smart meters questioned by some

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Smart meters are being rolled out by utilities across the country.  Regulators including FERC and state PUCs have approved their installation based on perceived benefits such as improved customer service, enhanced storm restoration efforts, and reduced costs for both ratepayers and utilities.  Yet a number of challenges have been lodged against smart meter programs.  For example, after ratepayer complaints and requests for investigation, the Maine PUC has opened an investigation into one utility's implementation of smart metering.  Concerns include privacy, alleged harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation, and the loss of meter-reading jobs.

The New York Times recently ran an interesting look at some of the opposition in California and Maine, noting that some Tea Party activists are joining the fray, as well as others concerned about health effects despite several studies concluding that smart meters pose no threat to human health.

What will end up happening with smart meter programs?  Will proponents' arguments outweigh the opposition's concerns?

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