Meetings to get smart about meters

Two public meetings have been organised in Oamaru this week to tell people about smart meters, which will be introduced for North Otago electricity consumers from next month.

The aim is to provide information about possible health and environmental effects so people can make an informed decision whether to accept the meters.

That follows two recent reports in the Otago Daily Times that smart meters would start to be introduced for about 12,500 consumers in North Otago from next month, first to about 8500 Meridian Energy customers.

Other electricity retailers were expected to follow.

As a result of the publicity and feedback, a small group of people have got together to arrange meetings in the board room of the Oamaru Club on Wednesday at 7pm and Sunday at 1pm.

They will have information available about how smart meters work and their effects. People can also find out how they can refuse to have the meters installed.

Oamaru man Rob Hutchins, who formed the Electro sensitivity Trust, will also speak. The trust lobbies for people affected by electrical appliances, microwaves and transmissions, including smart meters.

Electricity retailers responded to the issues raised by people and groups opposed to smart meters by maintaining they were safe, met standards and posed no health or environmental effects.

They said there was no evidence from New Zealand or internationally that smart meters posed such risks.

If customers were concerned about having meters installed, they could discuss possible alternatives, retailers said.

The meters are fitted on behalf of retailers, not by Network Waitaki.

Smart meters send up to date information to electricity retailers using microwave frequencies.

-david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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