California City Bans ‘Smart’ Electric Meters As Questions Mount

Watsonville, California isn’t allowing so-called “smart” electric meters to be installed in their city because of health and safety concerns.

According to the Forecaster, the rationale is this:

City Council of Watsonville, Calif., imposed a one-year moratorium on the installation of smart meters, citing concerns about the accuracy of the technology and stating that “there is a current and immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare” from the meters.

In May, the California Public Utilities Commission announced an independent study of smart meters after receiving over-billing complaints from customers of utility company Pacific Gas & Electric.

The problem is that the California Public Utilities Commission has yet to address the specific health impact that residents from Maine to California are worried about. Specifically, because the devices communicate with each other wirelessly to monitor power usage, some have argued that there are similar radiation risks to those found in users of cell phones.

While utilities companies like PG&E have continued to install thousands of the smart meters throughout California, studies on a large-scale have not yet been performed to analyze these health risks. Instead, they have focused on monitoring efforts by utility companies.

[Image: Tom Raftery via Flickr]