Pacific Power is installing “smart” meters in Clatsop County, beginning in Astoria, presenting them as a necessary upgrade, whether we want them or not.

It seems choice is not an option, unless you’ve got $432 extra ($36 a month) to burn every year to keep your old meter; installing their new meter is free (bit.ly/2QrXsZI). This amounts to no choice at all. Take it or take it.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission is allowing Pacific Power to charge this exorbitant opt-out fee in direct violation of existing Oregon state laws, and we need to reverse them. California utility customers are charged $10 a month for the first three years only, with financial assistance available.

Why opt out? Fires in the U.K. have been caused by these meters (bit.ly/2RBT1jC), which have 160 times more cumulative whole body radiation exposure than cell phones (bit.ly/2C3CdYZ), well-documented health problems from radiation in homes, businesses and schools, inaccuracy and overcharges, loss of local family-wage jobs and potential repair and power outage delays due to short-staffing — these are some reasons.

Because these meters monitor every “smart” device inside the building, your “smart” phone can turn your refrigerator on and off anytime, from anywhere. So can Pacific Power. Or a hacker.

For our health, jobs, basic freedoms and property rights, we need real choice without penalty: To opt out without prohibitive surcharges. Our city councils, our county commissioners and our state representatives should all support us in this basic right.

CHRISTOPHER PADDON

Astoria

(1) comment

Christopher Paddon

Pacific Power states that fees paid will not be refunded under any circumstances. Pacific Power further threatens to disconnect their monopolized and crucial service to anyone refusing their untested, unproven "upgrade" meter as well as the fee being imposed for refusing it. This behavior on the part of the service provider constitutes, at the very least, extortion, and at most a lethal threat. Extortion is a felony in all states. Threats to life can be criminal threats ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.

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