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EWEB votes to install smart meters for customers

EWEB votes unanimously to install smart meters for its customers (SBG).

EUGENE, Ore. - The vote was unanimous on Tuesday night, the Eugene Water and Electricity Board voted yes for installing smart meters for its customers.

However, they changed the language in the current policy with smart meters, allowing their customers the option to opt out if they don't want a smart meter on their property without charging extra, for now.

EWEB commissioners held a meeting open for public comment on Tuesday evening regarding the new approach for the meters. Commissioners say that the meeting had one of their largest attendance records to date.

A few people voiced their approval for the new meters, but many in attendance were not in favor. The majority's concern was overall health problems with the wireless frequencies.

"Everyone's got mobile phones these days," said Joshua Korn, a Eugene resident. "Everyone in the area is reporting the same power outage. These meters are not going to increase the speed of data."

Commissioners say they understand where the public is coming from, but are concerned with the safety of their drivers, and with helping customers quickly when major storms or even disasters could strike.

"You think about health impacts, there are theoretical, very inconclusive data out there about these long term impacts," said Sonya Carlson, Vice President of EWEB. "But I'm looking at challenges we're looking at day-to-day."

Rather than having meter-readers visit EWEB customer properties each months, smart meters wirelessly send measurements and data to EWEB every day.

EWEB officials say the goal is to have smart meters fully deployed to customers within five to eight years.

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