Smart meters coming to Woodridge
ComEd will install smart meters throughout Woodridge between July and November, according to village documents, but residents can refuse the devices – for a price.
The new digital meters, which have drawn opposition elsewhere, allow customers to view the amount of energy being consumed and seek to reduce it. The meters also send out radio frequencies to ComEd about power outages and the amount of electricity that customers use each month. The program costs ComEd about $2.6 billion, according to company officials.
At a workshop meeting last month, village attorney Thomas Good asked a ComEd representative about people who have complained to local elected officials about the smart meters.
“They (some people) don’t want the meters installed,” Good said, but village officials added that no such calls have been received in Woodridge..
Mike McMahon, vice president of AMI meter implementation with ComEd, told village board members that there are three main objections to the meters. They include data privacy concerns that information will be sold and/or viewed by a third party, fears about data security and hacking, and concerns that meters emit radio frequencies that can cause cancer.
McMahon said ComEd will not share data information and that it is working with a security company to prevent hacking into the system. On the health concerns, studies indicate that the radio frequencies from the meters do not cause cancer, he said.
“It operates on the same frequency as maybe a baby monitor or garage door opener,” McMahon said. “Hundreds of studies have been done on this … none of them draw a cause of linkage between radio frequencies at these levels and any sort of health (problems).”
McMahon said residents can refuse to have a smart meter installed.
“If they choose to refuse, they don’t need a reason; they can just say they don’t want it,” McMahon said. Those who refuse will be required to pay a $21.53 smart meter refusal charge each month. It’s needed, in part, to help pay for people to read the meter every month, he said..
ComEd officials plan to notify residents about the meter replacement 90 days before the work begins. Residents can view a map of installation dates on the village website at vil.woodridge.il.us/DocumentCenter/View/2171
Joseph Ruzich is a freelance reporter for Chicago Tribune