So, I currently am employed at my local utility company. They just started implementing the new smart meter program here in my area back In January. I'm part of the team that deals with resolving customers issues and concerns regarding smart meters.
Here is the issue:
The company wants to install smart meters on every property in the next couple of years. (including commercial/industrial). The company was given a grant by the federal government to pay for at least half of the cost of implementing these new meters and the other half is invested by the company itself. The smart meters are designed to send readings/data wirelessly from the meter to a network database, instead of having to send out meter readers every month. It also can remotely disconnect and reconnect service at the meter. There are a number of other benefits/features the smart meter has but, I won't go into all that.
Anyway, from my knowledge, there has been influx of customers calling in stating they don't want smart meters because of some rumors that were spread through previous media outlets in California or Texas. concerns from health risks by Radio frequency to invasion of privacy to increased electric bills. All of which I can argue against with simple facts for anyone who still believes in these phony accusations about smart meters.
However, there is one matter that is a reasonable topic to discuss. That is.... the matter of choice.
See right now, our company doesn't want to give customers a choice, it will save the company about $25 million in operations costs alone annually. That savings will benefit the customers in the long run because the rates will go down. So, based on recent hearings from the public utility commission. The commission has granted customers an "opt-out" choice of the smart meter program but will have costs associated with opting out. The costs will go to recoup the losses the company has to spend on customers who wish to opt-out.
I'm still on the companies side at this point because I know more about the smart meter program and that I don't see any draw back from having a smart meter. Also the fact, that its normal for people to react to change. People see changes happening and all of the sudden they think its bad, so they find some excuse to prevent the change. Another position i take is that the old meter is company property and should be able to upgrade/switch/exchange meters as they see fit. What do you guys think?