GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Pacific Power begins installing their smart meters to Josephine County homes next week. To provide Josephine County residents with information about those smart meters and allow them to ask questions, Pacific Power held a workshop and many people came. The group No Smart Meter estimates about 150 people were outside to protest against the smart meters and the opt-out fees. A spokesperson with Pacific Power estimates between 30-40 people with the group were protesting.
“We're going to get it reversed completely. We're not looking for reduced opt out fees. They're illegal. We want them gone completely. We want the analog meters put back on at no cost. Right now people need to opt-out. People need to opt-out to protect their families. We will fight the fees," said No Smart Meter advocate Randal Barrett.
If you choose to opt-out of having a smart meter, you'll have to pay a $36 monthly reading fee. If you already have a smart meter and decide you want to go back to the older analog meters that will cost you $169 up front and the additional $36 monthly fee.
The group No Smart Meter is also concerned the meters give off radiation and harm people nearby, causing people to get sick. The group said the smart meters also start fires. But Pacific Power said that information is outdated.
"There is a lot of information out there and I feel like some of it is really old information that is attributed to roll-outs that happened before we adopted the technology. We are late adopters. There are more than half of the homes in the United States that have them," said Pacific Power Regional Business Manager Christina Kruger.
She added about one percent of people are choosing to opt-out.