Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

March 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Couple say smart meter violates privacy, threatens health

The Associated Press

PORT ANGELES, Wash.  — The city electrical utility has threatened to cut off power to a home unless the owners accept the installation of a smart meter that sends readings wirelessly to City Hall.

The signals threaten human health and violate their right to privacy, say Virginia and Tom Leinart.

To block the installation of a wireless digital meter they’ve built a box on the side of their house around the existing meter so it can be read, but not replaced, the Peninsula Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1lC5q0l ) Thursday.

“I feel threatened. I feel harassed. I also feel afraid of what the city is going to do with us,” Virginia Leinart told City Council members at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Leinarts received a Feb. 27 letter from Rick Hostetler, city customer service manager, saying their box must be removed “to ensure the safety of our staff as well as maintaining the electrical integrity of your home.”

Hostetler told her by phone that service could be stopped in 10 to 15 days if she refused to cooperate, she said.

The power won’t be cut until after an electric inspector meets with the Leinarts to explain the code and compliance, said Craig Fulton, city public works and utilities director.

The Leinarts are among 49 residents who have asked the city to refrain from installing new smart meters on their homes.

City officials say smart meters collect only utility usage data and pose no greater risk to human health than cellphones.

City code requires that utility staff have “free and safe” access to meters in the event they need to be accessed quickly during an emergency, Fulton said, adding that cutting off service is the last option.

“Failure of the customer to comply within a reasonable time specified, as determined by the director, shall subject the customer to disconnection of service,” the city code states.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: electricity, Port Angeles, smart meter


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►