An Oklahoma City television station is reporting on the possible health affects of smart meters, but the state’s largest utility maintains such concerns are misplaced.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. has installed about 800,000 smart meters across its service area in Oklahoma and Arkansas, replacing old analog meters.
“Analog meters are a thing of the past,” spokesman Brian Alford said. “Nobody makes them anymore.”
Smart meters allow customers to monitor their electricity use, while helping OG&E automate its operations.
Alford said the electromagnetic field generated by the new meters is the same as the old ones. The radio frequency that transmits data to OG&E is used for an average of less than a minute a day.
OG&E funded a 2012 study that showed radio emissions from smart meters were considerably lower than cell phones or microwave ovens.
Alford said OG&E has offered to have a third-party test the meter of customer Monique Smith, who complained to KFOR that it had forced her from her home, for unusual electromagnetic emissions.
Smith has asked to have her smart meter removed, but Alford said leaving analog meters in place would create holes in the utility’s network.
“It erodes the network. It jeopardizes the integrity of the network in that area,” he said. “It creates the experience of having to operate in two different worlds, the digital and the analog.”
If OG&E still had analog meters, it would still have to pay meter readers to know how much electricity its customers are using.
Smart meters and other new technology have allowed OG&E to avoid more than 700,000 “truck rolls,” when it has to send employees out to handle problems with the system.
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