Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Alliant Energy to hold meeting on smart meters

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Nov 14, 2017

Alliant Energy and Iowa State University will hold a public meeting Thursday to discuss smart meters.

The meeting will last from 4-8 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Refreshments will be provided.

Booths will be set up in the building to educate the public on smart meters. A smart meter is a device that records energy usage and communicates it to the utility for billing.

On its website, Alliant Energy claims smart meters identify outages more quickly than traditional meters. The new meters also enable the utility to read meters without having to drive by each house to collect the data.

Alliant claims smart meters will be better poised to integrate power from cleaner renewable energy sources, including wind and rooftop solar systems.

Alliant senior communications partner Justin Foss said it will take Alliant a few years to install smart meters, and it likely won’t start in Fairfield until early 2019.

He said Alliant customers can opt out of smart meters, but they will need to call the utility at 800-255-4268.

He said the utility has not decided what, if any, fee to charge for opting out.

Foss said he understands a number of people in Fairfield are worried about health effects from the smart meter’s radio transmissions. He said Alliant’s smart meters are different from other utilities in that its meters communicate with a central hub, and communicate with it six times per day for a total of just under 1 second per day.

Other utilities employ a “mesh network” in which one meter sends signals to an adjacent meter, which sends them to an adjacent meter, and so on, leading to many more signals being sent during the day than under a hub-and-spoke system.


Residents ask for citywide opt out

The Fairfield City Council heard from two residents at its meeting Monday requesting that the entire town opt out of Alliant Energy’s plan to install smart meters.

The two residents were Robert Palma and Kathy Matara. They said the radiofrequency radiation smart meters emit can cause health problems such as pain, sickness, heart palpatations and muscle twitching. They called for the city to return to analog readers.

Mayor Ed Malloy said having the whole city opt out of smart meters was a “huge step,” and that the council would have to study the issue more before making a decision.

“The first step is education,” Malloy said, encouraging those in attendance to attend Alliant’s meeting Thursday.

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