New state ‘smart’ meters raise health, privacy concerns
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The Texas Public Utilities Commission held a forum Tuesday to hear concerns about electric meters.
'Smart' meters have been installed across the state over the past few years to help improve electricity usage.
They communicate electrical usage digitally in almost real time, as opposed to the analog meters that are read in person.
Some Texans, however, see the meters as dangerous intrusions on our bodies and privacy. A few hundred opponents, many sporting Tea Party clothing, were at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
"These people did not have the right to create a situation where people did not have the right to say yes or no to smart meters," Houston resident Thelma Taormina said.
Activists say the meters emit radiation, and that issue hasn't been properly studied.
However, the bigger issue is privacy. The opposition sees these meters as big brother spying on them.
State officials say that's not the case.
"We want to make it clear that the customer owns the data and can only have that released to other parties with their permission," Terry Hadley with the Public Utility Commission said. “The challenge for the commission is how to balance the concerns of say, 700 to 800 Texans, versus the already six million Texans that already have these smart readers and are using them without any problems."
For the activists fighting the technology, the smart meter problem is just a symptom of a bigger issue.
“Our rights as Americans are being taken away,” Taormina said. “Slowly, little by little, and this is just another example of the abuse of power by the bureaucracy."