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Smart meters need more study

July 11, 2013 |

State legislators are considering a proposal to ban residents from opting out of having a smart meter installed on their home and private property. Consumers, Massachusetts residents and American citizens should not be forced by any monopoly to buy a product, or pay a fee or penalty for opting out of using a product. Installing smart meters is not about saving money. The costs do not justify the benefits. The electricity savings do not justify the costs. In Connecticut, the Attorney General halted "smart" meter implementation because they are very expensive and would not save enough electricity to justify the expense. Chicopee opted out of the program over concerns of health risks and the cost, including questions about how long the batteries will last in the meters. The Westfield G&E is trying to have its cake and eat too, by claiming credit for not using federal dollars for this program. But according to the G&E web site, it applied for a $10 million dollar grant in 2009, and was turned down. That program required strict adherence to U.S. government guidelines. It was about much more than reading meters. The objective was to try to control time of use; to provide incentives to get people to use power during non-peak times. That's not what we're doing here. We're not using a dime of federal money. We have no want or need to intrude upon our customers. But if the grant had been approved, the Westfield G&E would be using millions of magically printed and practically worthless federal dollars (Federal Reserve Notes), and that is exactly what the residents of Westfield would have been exposed to. Lest we forget, Westfield has an existing investment in nearly 19,000 gas meters. The old gas meters last for years, and can be rebuilt, which is more than can be said for this new technology and its expected lifetime. Why should residents who opt out pay $10 to $25 a month? That is exorbitant and does not reflect the there was no equipment or installation expenses. Seems intended to intimidate residents into accepting the smart meters. We may not be hooking up to the grid yet, but we are dancing right up to the line. And years from now, when the old meters are gone, we may not have any option, but to go along. Dan Allie Westfield

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