Claremore Daily Progress

Government

August 28, 2013

Councilors discuss plans for smart meter implementation

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

Powers wrote, “In the hearings before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for OG&E’s smart meter program, there was no mention of safety of the devices. The Commission simply accepted a report from OG&E’s consultant who regurgitates the FCC guidelines. These guidelines, or standards, claim that cell towers and smart meters, etc. are safe because they do not raise the temperature of a thermometer stuck in a dummy’s head that is exposed to transmissions from these devices. That’s the science behind the safety of these devices.”
“Safety concerns with this software are going to keep coming up, and we have to find a way to address (the concerns),” said Ward IV Councilor Mark Lepak. 
GE business development leaders told the council that the health concerns issue is not their area of expertise, and they would need to put together a communication plan for the city, from an outside source, providing information on how other radio system and cell tower companies deal with similar questions.
Smart Grid Business Development Leader for GE, Jody Casey, said if a customer determines that he or she is having health problems because of a smart meter, “they can opt out.” 
“The smart meter will be located outside the house and not inside, but if they’re worried about radiofrequencies, then that means they can’t have a flat screen TV, wireless internet, a cell phone, portable phone or microwave,” said Casey.
City Manager Jim Thomas said the smart meter system has an estimated cost of $80,000 per month. The expense for the meters is projected to be less than the cost-savings. 
The $80,000 would be paid as a result of electric revenues generated.
Meter installation is expected to cost about $6 million.
“I talked to officials about numbers for software installations for our data office, but they talked in circles and never really gave me a number,” said Director of Electric Utility Larry Hughes. “It’s obviously going to grow from the $6 million, as far as the backbone of communications infrastructure, but I have not been able to obtain the numbers.”

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