Opting Out Of Tulsa's New Smart Meters May Not Be Smart Money Choice

Monday, March 16th 2015, 11:20 pm
By: News On 6

More smart meters are being installed in Tulsa, but if you don't want one you might be able to opt-out.

PSO said the company wants customers to have the option, but there may be a pricey catch.

There are people who believe the smart meters are unhealthy and transmit too much personal information - like how much energy you use and when.

PSO is asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission if it can allow customers to opt-out of getting the smart meters, but that could cost hundreds of dollars.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma is installing 300,000 smart meters, but not everyone wants one.

2/17/2015 Related Story: PSO Upgrading Tulsa With New Smart Meters

PSO is seeking an opt-out option for those customers to keep their current meter, but it would come at a cost, according to PSO spokesperson, Stan Whiteford.

“They don't even manufacture the old style meters in the United States anymore. They're all the new digital type of meter," he said.

The new digital meters transmit information - like how much electricity you use - so there's no need for someone to physically read the meter.

But, those who wish to keep their current meter would still need it read manually. For that, there's a price tag.

"It would cost us more to maintain two systems and maintain the employees to go out and do the meter reading and stuff, so that's why we would file for the cost recovery with that," Whiteford said.

In Texas, there are opt-out options. Customers who don't want a smart meter must write to their utility company and pay a one-time fee and a monthly fee.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas said the one-time fee costs averages $150 to $175 and the monthly fee is about $20 to $40.

Only 437 customers have opted out in Texas, compared to the 6 million smart meters installed across the state.

PSO Spokesperson Stan Whiteford said less than 50 PSO customers have expressed interest in an opt-out.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission will decide whether PSO can offer that option, and how much the company could charge for an opt-out.

Right now, all PSO customers are paying a temporary $3 charge to install the smart meters, whether you want one or not.