Claremore Daily Progress

November 6, 2013

Claremore seniors get smart about new electric meters

Salesha Wilken
Claremore Progress

CLAREMORE — Senior citizens took a closer look Tuesday at Claremore’s new smart grid meter proposal.

The Claremore Senior Citizens Center hosted the meeting, providing guest swith one-on-one access to system experts.

Jim Hanson, Trilliant Vice President and John Srouji, sales leader for GE Energy Public Power Energy Management, answered questions about the products.

Seniors also met with Claremore City Manager Jim Thomas, Director of Infrastructure Daryl Golbek and Claremore Electric Director of Utilities Larry Hughes.

The city officials explained how the new system would effect utility rates and improve efficiency in the system.

The system will provide accurate readings, for some customers that may mean an increase in costs, according to Hughes.

Not all customers should expect an increase but it should primarily relate to water usage, he said.

Some citizens had voiced concerns about the safety of the new system.

Hanson said the system will transmit a frequency of wireless radiofrequency radiation, RFR, in lower amounts than common household appliances.

The meters only transmit once or twice daily and the devices transmit less than half of the average RFR’s emitted cell phone.

Sharon McDonald, center manager, compared the transmission to that of a cordless phone laying on the end table next to the bed at night.

She said in her home there are a number of electronic devices that transmit more RFR’s than the smart meters.

Televisions, microwaves and other digital devices transmit more, according to McDonald.

Hanson explained the nature of this type of radio frequency is not only common, but monitored to insure public safety.

The technology has been used for more than 25 years, according to Hanson.

Depending on the meter’s placement, transmission would not reach beyond 3 to 10 feet from the device, lowering potential interaction with customers, according to Hanson.

McDonald said she is not concerned about any potential side effects.

The meters will not interfere with other electronic devices, including medical equipment or city police or fire radios, according to Hanson.

The new system will improve the city’s ability to test the lines and monitor outages, according to Hughes.

“We are trying to spend your tax dollars wisely and efficiently,” Thomas said.

With this system there is no way we will leave another outage, believing the problem has been resolved only to learn hours later the issue is still effecting customer, Thomas said.

The new system will generate an automatic call to customers impacted by an outage, according to Hughes.

Customers will have the ability to see how they use power and better control their usage, Hughes said.

“Technology continues to grow,” Hughes said. “We are decades behind the technology curve.”

This system will bring Claremore Electric up to date, according to Hughes.

The city council has not voted to purchase the system and if approved it will take six to eight months to complete implementation.