Last week the city of Alamo Heights asked CPS Energy to delay installation of smart meters in its neighborhood for one year so that the city could evaluate citizen concerns over the devices.
A few days later they were told by CPS that the installation in their city was not until late spring of 2015, and that they would conduct outreach to better educate those concerned.
CPS is in the midst of upgrading its grid through a $290 million program intended to increase efficiency and reduce costs. By adding smart meters to hundreds of thousands of electric and gas meters across the city, they no longer need to travel to individual houses to read meters.
For years skeptics have questioned smart meter programs. Many claims have been made questioning the safety of the radio waves the devices emit, and a far right-wing element voiced by Glenn Beck has made claims that the devices are going to be used to collect data on customers for nefarious purposes.
I don't care what anyone says; the smart meters it is a controlling device. You know what it is? It's a search engine. It's Google as a search engine"
- Glenn Beck on The Glenn Beck Program 1.25.13
Several of these claims are addressed and refuted on CPS's website and in many published studies.
The Republican Party of Texas officially opposed smart meters in there 2014 convention platform:
We oppose the mandated use of Smart Meters, as well as the use of collected data to reduce freedoms of U.S. citizens. Our opposition is based upon security, property damage, energy inefficiencies, privacy, health issues, and the use of Smart Meters to ration electricity. Texans should be allowed to opt-out of or opt-in to the use of Smart Meters.
The utility obviously has a hard sell on its hands, but wants to clear things up for those on the fence about their smart meters.
Utility smart meters help you and the electric company save money, but are they hazardous to your health and part of a sinister plot? The latest story in the NAFTA series examines the environmental impact that the monumental agreement has had over the past 20 years. Sheriff Joe Arpaio looks to still be in the lead heading into the final weeks before the election, but the challengers are making it interesting.