Privacy and health concerns over radio frequencies from smart meters were among the issues raised Wednesday in public comments on a rate case for Public Service Co. of Oklahoma.
A proposed settlement in the case would raise residential bills by $3.11 per month to pay for the installation of smart meters for more than 520,000 PSO customers by the end of 2016. If approved, the extra charge would be in the form of a rider on bills starting in November.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has received several hundred complaints about smart meters since Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. finished installing them in 2012 for more than 800,000 customers.
But several people at the PSO hearing Wednesday discussed their health problems with smart meters and asked the utility to allow its customers to opt out of the program.
Owasso resident Joe Esposito demonstrated how he uses a radio frequency detector to scan for electromagnetic radiation from wireless Internet routers and cellphones. Esposito said he is hypersensitive to radio frequencies and built a Faraday cage of aluminum screen wire around his house to shield himself from radiation.
“The public doesn’t know this is happening to them,” Esposito said.
Concern over radiation
Billy Smith, of El Reno, struggled to maintain his composure as he described the health problems his wife, Monique, began having after a smart meter was installed at their house 18 months ago. Smith said the couple have moved out of their custom-built house to a trailer on their property to get away from the radiation that affects his wife.
“I can see the benefits of these smart meters if you’re not sensitive, but if you’re sensitive, it could be the death of you,” Smith said.
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I can see the benefits of these smart meters if you’re not sensitive, but if you’re sensitive, it could be the death of you.”