Duke Energy plans to install “smart meters” in all homes

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Duke Energy has begun switching out every homeowner’s digital meter with what they call a “smart meter.”

But the process is raising concerns among homeowners who want to know if there are costs to both your wallet and your health.

“I come around and then they’ve let themselves through my gate and they’re in my backyard,” said Lesa Addington.

Addington got a card from Duke Energy last Friday saying that, in a few weeks, smart meters would be installed. When they came Monday at 8:30 a.m., she told them to stop.

“I feel like we were not given enough notice. People need to be made aware of the smart meter so they can look into it and find out what they are and decide if this is something they want in their home,” Addington said.

We asked Duke Energy Spokesperson Ryan Mosier how the cost trickles down to the customer.

“Well, there’s no upfront cost. At some point, the regulator will decide whether this will be a charge that will be factored into rates into the coming years,” Mosier said.

Duke says smart meters will give you real time usage data, and customers won’t be charged more during high peak hours.

But it isn’t just cost that worries Addington.

“We keep hearing reports of side effects and symptoms from the smart meter installation and so that’s a big concern,” she said.

“We have access to quite a few studies that show absolutely no health impact from the devices,” Duke said.

Those studies that taught the safety of radio frequency exposure from independent utility and state agencies.

“As for the data Duke says that information isn’t shared with anyone without the customers consent. The company says it’s also encrypted, protected from the moment its collected to the moment it’s purged.”

Duke is looking to charge customers, like the Addingtons, if they opt out to pay for drive-by meter readers.

“You shouldn’t be penalized for making a choice that you don’t want this product on your home,” Addington said.

Duke plans to have all the meters installed by the summer of next year.

Here is Duke’s response to safety concerns:

  • Exposure from this low-power RF signal emitted by smart meters is well below the exposure limits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established for the general public.
  • Studies conducted in 2011 by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) and the Utilities Telecom Association (UTC) conclude that digital smart meters pose no health threats.
  • And more recently, a study completed the NC Department of Health and Human Services in 2015 concluded that there is insufficient evidence to link RF exposures to adverse health outcomes, and that the current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines protect the public from the thermal health effects related to RF exposure.

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