Opt-Out Program for Radio Frequency Meters

Housatonic Water is committed to utilizing technologies that result in cost saving to its customers.

Housatonic Water Works intends to request the state Department of Public Utilities to allow it to offer customers a choice of manually read or cellular meters.

The company is installing the Badger E-Series meters that transmit readings using cellular networks, very similar to cell phones. Transponders attached to the meters electronically transfer data from the meters.

Water companies nationwide use this technology, which greatly reduces the chance of human error in meter readings. Its use is more efficient and saves money because company personnel do not need to visit each customer each month, company treasurer James J. Mercer explained.

However, he noted, several customers have expressed safety concerns about the cellular technology. Although the American Cancer Society and other scientific groups have deemed the technology totally safe, Mercer said it is important that Housatonic Water customers can choose whether to use it.

The company therefore wants to introduce an opt-out program that lets customers have a manually read meter. However, because Housatonic Water is a publicly regulated utility, the DPU must approve that program.

That approval process could take months to complete, Mercer said. He anticipated there could be an added fee to keep the manually read meter.

For additional information, read a 2011 study: Health Impacts of Radio Frequency for Smart Meters

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