Texas Smart Meter Hearings
Opponents of smart meters argued their cases in front of a Texas Senate committee recently. Many of the small but vocal group opposing smart meters feel that their rights have been violated by utility companies who have been installing the new equipment.
The Senate committee was formed at the request of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to look into certain claims made by those who are against smart meters include claims of health risks.
The Public Utility Commission, as directed by the state Legislature in 2005, has coordinated the installation of smart meters in almost 6 million homes. The meters are funded with a surcharge on Texas electricity rate payers ranging from $2 to $3.5 per month attached to electric bills.
The meters which have been installed in most homes in the Dallas and Houston areas can monitor electricity usage in 15 minute increments. They have lead to a number of innovative new products including prepaid electricity plans. They also allow home owners to monitor their electricity usage much more closely and lead to cost savings and conservation by consumers who now have better visibility into their usage.
Prepaid electricity allows people who have smart meters to “pay-as-you-go” for their electricity and avoid credit checks and large deposits. This has become a budget saver for many Texans in these tough economic times.
Claims of health effects of smart meters have been investigated and found to be unfounded. The exposure to radio-frequency effects from these meters is smaller than from a typical baby monitor.