UP AGAINST THE SMART GRID
Some Glendale and Burbank residents resist new smart-grid system; Critics fear adverse health effects from the new 'smart meters' and don't want the utilities to be able to monitor their water and power usage in real time. City officials consider letting them opt out.
Melanie Hicken, May 17, 2011 (LA Times)
"Glendale and Burbank officials are touting their new "smart meters" project as an exciting technological advancement that will help the utilities and customers track real-time water and electrical use.
"But a small group of residents is resisting, saying they're worried about the health effects of the radio waves emitted by the meters. They also say the utilities' ability to view electricity and water usage as it occurs is intrusive and could change the rate structure…"
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"…[C]oncerned residents are in a holding pattern as Burbank and Glendale officials consider allowing residents to drop out of the updated grid…Utility officials say residents have no reason to be concerned, citing studies that say the wireless smart meters fall within federal guidelines for radiofrequency emissions and expose residents to far less electromagnetic radiation than other common appliances…"
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"Officials at both utilities say they will postpone installing the meters for concerned residents while they await a ruling from the California Public Utilities Commission, which has ordered Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to create ways for customers to opt out of the new wireless meters…Although the state commission does not regulate municipal utilities, Glendale and Burbank officials said they would probably follow the agency's direction for a potential opt-out provision.
"Glendale has installed 76,000 smart meters so far, and only a dozen residents have asked to have their installation put on hold…[I]n Burbank, where crews will begin installing the smart meters next month, even fewer concerns have been expressed…"