SAN ANTONIO – A CPS Energy customer is launching a crusade against new digital meters the utility is installing, saying customers are not being notified and that the meters pose a health hazard.
CPS Energy is installing OMR meters across San Antonio. The utility said they send out signals like a radio frequency or CB radio so that the meters can be read by someone driving or walking through the neighborhood.
Nikki Kuhns said she was not notified when someone came to her door to install the meter.
"It's very concerning," Kuhns said. "I mean, who's watching out for me?"
Kuhns' concerns go way beyond CPS Energy not notifying her.
She came to city council and played a video for councilmembers about the health dangers of utility meters. The video is an interview with Dr. David Carpenter, a professor at University at Albany in Environmental Health Science.
Carpenter commented in the video about Smart or AMI meters, not the meters CPS Energy is installing, which are called OMR meters.
"It's at the expense of the consumer," Carpenter said in the video.
Smart meters have two-way communication and act like a cell phone. In the video, Carpenter said those meters can harm your health.
"An informed person should demand that they be allowed to keep their analog meter," Carpenter said in the video.
Kuhns put a note on her meter refusing the new OMR meter.
She has neighbor Miguel Martinez concerned as well.
"They are beaming this electromagnetic radiation 24 hours a day," Martinez said.
But CPS Energy spokeswoman Christine Patmon said both types of meters are safe -- the OMR and the AMI.
"There's no danger from those meters," Patmon said. "All the research that's been done on it says that they have a signal that's less than that of cell phones and a lot of equipment that people have in their houses."
She said CPS is notifying people by mail and phone about the installations but that crews must be working ahead of those notifications.
Patmon said the digital meters that can be read from the street are the way of the future.
CPS Energy said when customers are contacted about the installation of the OMR meters they can, at that time, opt out of the installation.