PSO changes policy, allows customers to refuse 'smart meters'

In an about face, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma will now allow customers to opt out of having a so-called "smart meter" on their homes, at least temporarily.

The company has asked the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for a hearing to discuss offering the option to opt out to customers, and to "recover the associated costs," according to PSO spokesman Stan Whiteford.

In other words, customers would pay a premium to have non-standard meter, now that the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meters are standard.

That's because the company will have to retain some meter readers, and trucks, to go out and check those meters.

Whiteford stressed that less than one percent of their customer base has complained about the smart meters.

There's a large body of research indicating potential health and privacy risks associated with AMI meters.

As KRMG reported when the company began installing the new meters last month, PSO initially did not offer customers an option.

Now, Whiteford says, customers can tell the company they don't want the new meter installed, and PSO will track those customers.

The utility and OCC will work out how much to charge customers who wish to opt out of AMI.

Some activists opposed to the smart meters say opting out won't do much good, if surrounding homes still have the meters.

Estimates of the range of the non-thermal radiation emitted by those meters vary from a few hundred yards to several miles.

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