Citizens should have a choice

To the editor:

There is a new device being placed on our homes called a Smart Meter. It seems innocent enough -AEP is installing these meters telling all of us how “they are safe and will save us money.” There are a number of websites that give us a different version of the facts. One of these is that Smart Meters collect personal information from your home (personal data mining). These devices have a communication device on them. When we asked AEP about this they said they “would not use this information for a bad purpose and that it could not be hacked.” That’s fine, but our information is not anyone’s business and any device can be hacked and your information stolen.

We were also told that if there was a spike in our electrical usage that our information would be shared with law enforcement. It seems that we all are suspected of doing illegal activities in our home. In the next few years we will have to buy expensive smart appliances that are compatible with the new meters. Also, most people see a significant increase in their electric bill. This is because AEP can now charge different rates based on the time you use electricity. One of the other details the electric company glosses over is the rating of these devices. They are not UL certified. My coffee pot is UL certified, but the device that carries all the electric into my home is not. The device has been known to cause fires across the country.

In addition, the device emits microwaves at an elevated rate. There are a number of inherent health risks associated with microwaves. Everything we buy it seems has a warning label except this device.

We expressed all these concerns to AEP and told the company representatives that we did not want a Smart Meter. That’s when the bullying began. We were sent a certified letter that stated the company would bring law enforcement to ensure safe installation of the meter. The company has had unlimited access to our old meter. The only thing we did was decline the installation of an unsafe surveillance device on our home. We were happy with our old analog meter. AEP representatives said it was not optional and we would have the device or lose service. It’s not like we can go somewhere else to get our electrical service.

Several states have established opt-out programs. These programs give the customer the choice of an old analog meter or a smart meter. We contacted state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, and expressed our concerns at length. He and his staff have been very helpful and promised to look into legislation to offer an opt-out program to his constituents. If you have concerns please contact Gentile’s office or look at the website All Ohio citizens need a choice on what is placed on their property.

Charles Blake