OREGON: Eugene Water & Electric Board decides customers must ‘opt out’ if they oppose ‘smart’ meters

Eugene Water & Electric Board

EWEB decides customers must ‘opt out’ if they oppose ‘smart’ meters



1/5 – A new AMI Smart Meter at a house in Eugene. (Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard)

Eugene Water & Electric Board commissioners changed course and adopted an “opt out” policy for so-called smart meters with a unanimous vote Tuesday night.

The decision means customers will have to contact EWEB and specifically direct that the meter attached to their home or business not transmit their electric and water usage data. Currently, meter readers visit customers’ properties monthly and take down that information.

Under the old “opt in” policy adopted in 2013, when commissioners authorized the smart meter project, customers had to specifically request that EWEB authorize the meter to transmit that data.

But the change won’t happen overnight.

Commissioners still need to approve the specific rule and the procedures that utility employees would follow under the new policy. General Manager Frank Lawson will bring back draft rules for commissioners’ review in March or April.

The decision came after commissioners heard testimony from more than a dozen residents — a majority of whom opposed the change because of health and privacy concerns — and asked numerous questions of Lawson and two other employees involved in the project.

During the questioning, Lawson reassured commissioners that EWEB would give customers advance notice of a meter installation, explain the purpose of the project, and spell out clearly that they have the option to either opt in or opt out.

The general manager said that EWEB would not charge customers who decide to opt out, at least for the next several years.

“EWEB is implementing this technology in a responsible way,” he said.

The decision comes as the utility will be ramping up its installation of the devices during the next eight years. EWEB has spent millions of dollars on the project that commissioners authorized more than four years ago.

EWEB has installed about 4,000 of the meters since last year, with two-thirds of those customers giving their approval for the devices to transmit water and electric use data to the utility for billing.

With the utility slated to install more than 150,000 of the meters in the next eight years, Lawson told commissioners that the slow deployment of the technology under the opt-in policy is “incredibly inefficient” and keeps the community from realizing the system’s full benefits while costing more.

Part of the problem with an opt-in policy is that while there’s a percentage of residents strongly for or against smart meters, most people fall in middle, and it can be difficult to get them to respond, Lawson said.

EWEB estimated that a continued opt-in policy would cost $600,000 more a year during the eight-year installation period compared with the alternative because of increased labor costs.

The systemwide benefits include faster power restoration after a large-scale outage, reduction in carbon emissions and improving billing accuracy and utility operations.

During public testimony, residents shared their concerns about the risks that meters pose to human health, personal privacy and local jobs.

The meters transit radio waves, a form of electromagnetic radiation, that might harm human health.

Eugene resident Bill Evans said he worried that EWEB was putting cost savings over human health with the policy shift. He noted that there hasn’t been a lot of funding put toward the research of the health effects of radio waves emitted by smartphones and smart meters.

“If we save a lot of dollars one way or another and we’re not as healthy, what’s the point?” he asked.

Eugene resident Lisa Arkin said the millions of dollars that EWEB has spent on the project so far — which will lead to meter readers losing their jobs — could be better used on job creation.

“As a public utility, you owe it to the community to create jobs, not lose jobs,” she said.

Darlene Kelly, the director of property management for Homes for Good Housing Agency, a local provider of low-­income housing, supported the policy shift. She said the meters will alert the agency more quickly to power outages, electrical problems and water leaks.

Eugene resident Matt McRae, a climate policy analyst by profession, said smart meters are key to the community’s effort to cut carbon emissions as meter readers no longer would have to drive all over the city.

“The sooner we can do that, the better,” he said.

Commissioners said that they appreciated the residents’ input and involvement but expressed skepticism that smart meters pose a health risk, given the amount of radio waves people are exposed to daily in today’s society.

Commissioner Dick Helgeson said he has reviewed the information and research and hasn’t dismissed health concerns out of hand.

“I have given thoughtful consideration and disagree with some of the conclusions,” he said.

Commissioner Sonya Carlson said the faster power restoration that smart meters afford can prevent harm, because linesmen would spend less time out in dangerous conditions restoring power, and residents would spend less time in their cold homes trying to stay warm.

“Those are also real health concerns,” she said.

Follow Christian Hill on Twitter @RGchill . Email christian.hill@registerguard.com .

More Eugene Water & Electric Board articles »

Views: 78


You need to be a member of 12160 Social Network to add comments!

Join 12160 Social Network



Latest Activity

Chris of the family Masters commented on Boris Badenov's page Swalwell just threatened to NUKE U.S. citizens if they don't give up their guns.?
"Dave, don't give the bastards ideas...."
9 minutes ago
Chris of the family Masters posted discussions
16 minutes ago
Dave churbuck commented on Boris Badenov's page Swalwell just threatened to NUKE U.S. citizens if they don't give up their guns.?
"There are very easy ways to make people give up their guns, The easiest is to electronically shut off and seize Every account you have and take your job. Then you are left with nothing and no where to go. With the family also left with nothing it…"
19 minutes ago
Marklar's Ghost commented on Dr. Frederick Meekins's blog post Romney Downplays Danger Of Out Of Control Press
"Stupid Romneylans"
21 minutes ago
Boris Badenov commented on Boris Badenov's page B E N G A R R I S O N: Swalwell's "Legit Nuke"
39 minutes ago
Saint Quinn commented on Boris Badenov's photo

Cops: McDonald's Worker Charged In Bacon Attack -Cook tried to shove hot bacon in manager's face

" Tequila Cohen is a very interesting name.....Seems to substantiate the "Nation of Islam" allegations in                  "The Secret Relationship between blacks and…"
48 minutes ago
Old Denmark's discussion was featured

Drunken Monkey Style: EU's Dictator Jean-Claude Juncker 'is a drunk who binges on GIN instead of water at meetings

EU President Jean-Claude Juncker 'is a drunk who binges on GIN instead of water at meetings', leaving his aide - nicknamed 'the monster' - running the Commission, shock new account claimsJean-Claude Juncker spotted stumbling and in a wheelchair at…See More
54 minutes ago
Fat Freddys Cat's blog post was featured


THE BIGGEST CONSPIRACY AMERICA EVER FACED IS BROKENIt is a conspiracy you never heard about. Somehow, (no one will say how) the Dems had a law in place that made it illegal for elections to be audited. The law was so stark that even the RNC could be…See More
1 hour ago
Boris Badenov commented on Fat Freddys Cat's blog post Aangirfan (The old site)
"the copy paste queen, tell her to at least link back to the people who do all her work 4 her. ffs"
1 hour ago
Diana's 4 discussions were featured
1 hour ago
Raz Putin's 2 blog posts were featured
1 hour ago
Old Denmark's video was featured

Muslim roadman caught trying to meet underaged girl in London

Muslim man caught grooming underage white girl online.
1 hour ago
Less Prone's photo was featured


We KNWOWilliam Morgan 11.09.1826Abraham Lincoln 14.04.1865Louis T. McFadden 1.10.1936James V. Forrestal 22.03.1949John F. Kennedy 22.11.1963Mary Sherman 21.07.1964Malcom X 21.02.1965Lee Bowers 09.08.1966Martin Luther King 04.04.1968Robert F. Kennedy…
1 hour ago
Boris Badenov favorited Diana's photo
1 hour ago
Central Scrutinizer's 3 blog posts were featured
1 hour ago
N.Morgan's blog post was featured

Free Speech Is on the Cusp of Extinction: What Will You Do to Not Be Silenced?

by N.Morgan and Jeffery PritchettBeforeitsnews has a forum now. Did you know? The basic definition of a forum is a place on…See More
1 hour ago
Deep Space's video was featured

Count Dankula's "Nazi pug" video shown to a live audience

Andrew Doyle Published on Apr 23, 2018 Markus Meechan (aka "Count Dankula") has been found guilty in a Scottish court for creating a comedic video about a "Nazi pug". On 13th March 2018, the video was shown to a live audience at COMEDY UNLEASHED,…
1 hour ago
Chris of the family Masters's 2 discussions were featured
1 hour ago
Boris Badenov replied to Diana's discussion Death of HHS official Daniel Best is ruled a suicide (Apparently Beat Himself To Death)
"BREAKING: Nothing to see here folks Death of Trump HHS official, Daniel Best, tasked with getting lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies is ruled a suicide, even though he died from "multiple blunt force injuries.""
1 hour ago
Diana posted a discussion

Death of HHS official Daniel Best is ruled a suicide (Apparently Beat Himself To Death)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Nov. 1 death of Daniel Best, a pharmaceutical executive from Bay Village who led U.S. Department of Health and Human Services efforts to lower prescription drug prices, has been ruled a suicide, officials in Washington, D.C.,…See More
1 hour ago

Please remember this website is supported by your donations...

© 2018   Created by truth.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

content and site copyright 12160.info 2007-2015 - all rights reserved. unless otherwise noted