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Hate smart meters? What it will cost to opt out

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 1:32 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2018-03-21 19:00:11-04

Duke Energy workers showed up at Latonia homeowner Bob Horine's house to disconnect his 50 year old analog electric meter.

They were replacing it with a brand new smart meter, as they begin a rollout of thousands of meters into the state of Kentucky.

From now on, Duke will read his gas and electric meters remotely, which means no more meter man visit.

"It's a little easier, not worrying about whether the door is open, whether the meter man has a key,"  Horine said.

Smart meter advantages

Duke says smart meters not only eliminate the need for that annoying monthly reading (if the meter is inside the house), but give homeowners more options.

Robert Ries of Duke Energy said "you can pick your own due date, there are usage alerts, things along those lines, and customers will be able to check their usage on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis."

In Ohio, most Duke customers received smart meters three or four years ago.  Duke completed its Southwest Ohio rollout in 2015.

Now, it's finally Kentucky's turn to have old analog electric and gas meters replaced. But anytime there's change, some folks are always concerned.

But some people don't want them

Some Northern Kentuckians -- like homeowner Phyllis Palluci -- are not so sure they want radio controlled meters in their house.

"No," she said. "I'm sorry but I trust people more than I trust electronic gadgets."

Others worry about electromagnetic radiation, and possible adverse health effects. (However, supporters of smart meters say that the cell phone in your pocket hits you with much more radiation, as does the WiFi router in your family room)

So Duke will now allow you to refuse a smart meter if you want to keep your old analog meter. Until last year you could not refuse the changeover, but Ohio and Kentucky rule makers have now made opting out an option.

Opting out

But "opting out" won't be cheap. Expect to pay:

  • A one time replacement/setup fee of $100
  • A $30 a month meter reading fee if you live in Ohio.
  • A $25 a month meter reading fee if you live in Kentucky.

(You must pay the monthly meter reading fee even if you read it yourself, or get an estimated bill)

But the majority of homeowners, like Bob Horine, says new technology is fine with them.    

"It will be a good thing, to be able to do it remotely," he said

That way you don't waste your money.


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