Community expresses opinion on smart meters

Talent, Ore. – It was standing room only in the Talent Community Center, as people from all over Jackson county came to share their opinions on smart meter installations scheduled for this summer.

Tonight both Pacific Power representatives and community members weighed in on the smart meter debate.

“We’ve already decided that this is what we’re going to move forward with and we’ve taken years to even come to that determination,” Pacific Power representative, Christine Kruger said. “We waited until the technology is mature, and we knew it was really going to be a benefit to our customers.”

However, the community is taking issue with the radiation the meter could give off due to transmission between the meter and Pacific Power’s home base in Portland. They want the company to conduct a study to see how these smart meters could effect their homes.

“We think that the power company and the public utilities commission should agree to put a stay on the roll out that’s scheduled to happen this month next month and the following, just to review the most recent researches than 1985,” community activist, Mac Graham said.

According to the American Cancer Society, smart meters produce radio frequencies, which it states are possibly carcinogenic. However, according to the California Council on Science and Technology, smart meter radio frequencies would have to be 3,500 times stronger to be considered hazardous.

Pacific Power says the effects from radiation are minimal, and the benefits of the meters will be great for the community overall.

“Smart readers are really going to be beneficial for our customer,” Kruger said. “They are going to be able to get real information on their energy usage, and they’re also going to see quicker restoration times we’re going to get a notification as soon as their power is out. There’s nothing better than getting your power restored quickly.”

However, community members don’t think the trade off is worth it, and they’re taking issue with the company’s fees if they choose not to install one.

“The opt out charges, which we are calling extortion,” Graham said. “Basically we’re given the opportunity to pay not to have these dangers in our life.”

Pacific Power says if there are problems after installation, they are willing to work with customers to address them. The company plans to start installing smart meters as soon as June 25th and will continue into the summer months.

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