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Smart meter judgment day is today

December 5, 2018
By Kathy Matara , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Fairfield, Iowa Unknown to most Iowans, a battle has been underway before the Iowa Utilities Board over Alliant Energy's plan to require Alliant customers to either pay Alliant certain fees or convert their meters from long-serving analog meters to so-called "smart" meters. The last day the Utility Board will hear evidence in the case challenging Alliant's smart meter program is today, Dec. 5, at the IUB hearing room beginning at 9 a.m.

There are many issues before the Board on this matter. Most significantly are health concerns about the RF radiation emitted by the meters; hacking concerns such as that someone hacking into the Alliant system could turn off the customer's heat during the winter (something not possible with the existing analog meters); the potential cost to all customers to pay for the expensive smart meter program; and the additional cost that Alliant proposes of $15 per month per customer for each of his/her gas and electric meters in order to refuse a smart meter (opt out of the program) and do your own readings.

In the notices to customers, Alliant has touted the benefits of smart meters but never mentions the potential increase in costs to customers. In discovery documents in the case before the Utility Board, Alliant claims that it doesn't know if a customer's electric and gas bills will increase following the smart meter installations (Alliant plans, for example, to save costs by terminating the employment of the meter readers).

Those challenging the smart meters say that Alliant should have told the customers that their costs may increase (or better yet, made that determination) before installing the smart meters on customers' property.

Over 300,000 electric and another 100,000 or so gas smart meters have already been installed by Alliant, but most are not yet being used to read the customer's electric usage. More meters are continually being installed and many customers don't know this has happened and that they already have a smart meter.

Because of the various issues and controversy related to conversions to these smart meters, many utilities nationwide offer customers a reasonable opt-out (an election to not have a smart meter), and several states have refused to allow smart meters entirely. Those challenging Alliant don't consider its opt out program and costs to be reasonable and don't want more RF radiation in their proximity.

Iowans can file an objection to the smart meter program by contacting the Iowa Utilities Board at 515-725-7300 or going to the Board's website at IUB.iowa.gov.

If you call the Board, say that you want file an objection in the Alliant Energy smart meter case (the Docket number is SPU-2018-007).

Fairfield Safe Meters is a group of volunteers primarily in Farifield, Iowa, who are working toward freedom of choice with Utility Meters. We want to keep our Analog meters.

 
 

 

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