Duke is upgrading Asheville’s smart meters. The concept is that these meters communicate with Duke your electrical habits ranging from usage of TV, washer, dryer, dishwasher, water heater, refrigerator, oven to good old-fashioned lights and then some. Duke then has the ability to sell your information so businesses can help serve you better by knowing your patterns in the privacy of your own home.
But there is a downside! These smart meters send electrical pulses that aggravate your health. You can opt out only if you have a notarized note from a doctor. Some doctors are fully aware of the negative health impacts of these meters and are willing to state that on paper. So people are paying to see their doctor with a notary public in attendance to confirm that you are not willing to take on additional health side effects of smart meters.
Essentially, our electric company knows these smart meters pose risks! So why make people jump through extra hoops? You still have to purchase the old analog meter for $170. And your electrical bill will increase by $15 every month. Why the added paper trail of doctors being documented as saying in their expert opinion, these units are dangerous?
If you are not aware of potential side effects from the radio frequencies of smart meters on plants and animals, just do a simple online search. Remember, some search engines are tailored to your search patterns. Perhaps try some alternative search engines, too!
— Matt Stivers
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks for a response to several of the writer’s points. Asked whether it’s correct that Duke has the ability to sell customer information from smart meters to businesses, Brooks wrote via email: “No. … Customer identifying information — such as names and addresses — is not stored in the smart meter or transmitted across the network. The smart meter sends only your energy consumption information and meter identification number to Duke Energy. Kilowatt-hour consumption information is transmitted at regular intervals from your smart meter through an encrypted network for billing and reliability purposes. This information is protected from the moment it is collected until the moment it is deleted.”
Asked whether Duke knows that smart meters pose risks, Brooks responded in part: “No. … Smart meters are a safe and proven technology. … Both the [Federal Communications Commission] and World Health Organization have stated that the small amount of [radio frequency emissions] emitted by smart meters poses no threat to human health.”
On the cost of opting out, Brooks replied that the writer’s figures were correct; however, “The customer is not purchasing a meter, as the meter is owned by Duke Energy. They are paying for the installation of a manually read meter and the cost of a technician coming out to read the meter each month to prepare their bill.”
Another point noted last June in an order filed by the N.C. Utilities Commission (and reported by The News & Observer): The opt-out fees are to be waived if a customer has a notarized note from a doctor “that the customer must avoid exposure to RF emissions to the extent possible to protect their health.” More info from Duke on opting out can be found at avl.mx/620.