Dozens Protest Smart Meters Outside PSO Headquarters

Thursday, September 15th 2016, 10:39 pm
By: News On 6

More than a dozen people protested outside the headquarters of PSO Thursday because of the utility's implementation of Smart Meters in the Tulsa area.

Protesters said the new meters are affecting their health, causing fires and invading their privacy.

"It’s a win-win for corporate America and a lose-lose for just the average citizen," protestor Darlene Sharpe said.

Electromagnetic pulses, radio frequency emissions, fires, ‘Big Brother’ selling your data, utilities being able to control what goes on inside your home - those are several of the complaints by the protesters against Public Service Company of Oklahoma's Smart Meters.

"It’s the control,” Sharpe said. “It's the invasiveness into your own home that's a big problem for me, and the fact that the public is unaware of this."

Of PSO's half-a-million customers, only 60 people have chosen to opt-out of the new meters. The utility rolled out its "opt-out" program this summer, for a fee.

If you do decide to opt-out, you're going to get a new meter anyway, the main difference is that it doesn't communicate.

PSO says 80 percent of Oklahomans are on Smart Meters now, and this is the way the utility helps customers save energy and spot outages.

Stan Whiteford with PSO said, “There are a lot of people that don't hold those strong opinions that are open to the information that we have and are open to hearing both sides."

PSO spoke with the media before the protest to answer claims brought against their new meters.

Whiteford took issue with the protesters saying customer data from the meters are being sold to other companies.

“That's an outright lie and they know that," he said.

It costs a one-time fee of $71 to opt out of the Smart Meters, plus another $28 every month.