Residents express concerns about smart meters

(Source: WNEM)

Michigan residents packed a committee room in Lansing on Tuesday to voice concerns over so-called smart meters and debate whether they have the right to choose.

Smart meters have become controversial with many blaming them for health problems and invading their privacy. Others are angry about not having a say in whether the utility company can install the new meter at their home unless they pay extra fees.

"I'm not happy with it at all," said Janie Walker. "I want it gone.

She believes the device installed by Consumers Energy gives off high levels of radiation and is not accurate. She said she is paying more for electricity.

"It's gone up $20 and this wasn't even a month," she said.

The same goes for Nelson Staples.

"I'm not too happy with it. I understand that it can cause your bill to go up higher. I trust a meter reader doing it than a machine," Staples said.

He also said he is concerned about what he called a potential invasion of privacy.

"Anything that's digital, somebody is going to hack into it," Staples said.

Consumers Energy defends the smart meter, which is a device designed to take exact readings of electricity without a meter reader present.

"Consumers Energy is using meter technology that sends us one text type message per night. And it only tells us how much energy has been used at the home. There's no name, no address, no account number. There is no cyber security issue," said Dennis McKee, with Consumers.

McKee also insists the meters are not the health hazard some make it out to be.

"The same amount of energy level in that radio frequency is what you would find in a baby monitor," McKee said.

Walker isn't buying it. She plans to call Consumers Energy to see if they will remove her smart meter.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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