Fairfield residents express concerns about smart meters

Residents spoke to representatives from Alliant Energy about smart meters Thursday evening at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center./KTVO

Alliant Energy is looking to implement smart meters in Fairfield, Iowa.

Thursday evening, the organization hosted an informational session, answering resident’s questions about the new technology.

Senior Communications Partner Annemarie Newman says the smart meters are wireless thereby making them more efficient.

“We can instantly know the scope and location of problems. We can respond more quickly, we can give you bills that are based on your actual usage every month, instead of estimating bills. And so, we can provide better service, more responsive service, when we have the meter readings coming in wirelessly,” said Newman.

Many Fairfield residents have expressed concerns over Alliant Energy implementing smart meters around their homes. One of those concerns deals with radiation.

Kathy Matara lived in Kuai in 2012 when there was a similar smart meter roll out. She says folks there experienced heart palpitations, headaches, insomnia and digestive disorders because the meters were radiating at high frequency levels.

Matara even visited a site in Wisconsin last weekend, she says she found the same problem there.

“The levels started out on a baseline of two and a half time what the England Health Organization considers to be the highest that a human body should handle. So, the baseline over there is two and a half times what the body should handle, and then it spikes up to nine and ten times what the body should handle. And, so it goes on, it spikes like that,” Matara said.

Now, Matara says she’s looking to be able to opt-out of the service, and stick with her analog device.

“Having lived in a smart meter grid on Kuai, I would never voluntarily do that again,” Matara said.

Alliant Energy does allow residents to opt-out of the smart meter program. But, all residents will have to switch to digital, eliminating analog meters. Newman says the company is looking into manual devices, but that’s still subject to state approval.

The project will take about three years to implement, so Fairfield residents won’t see smart meters until 2019.

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