Alamo Heights Pleased With Smart Meter Delay

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A CPS Energy employee checks a meter. Photo courtesy of CPS Energy.

A CPS Energy employee checks a meter. Photo courtesy of CPS Energy.

Alamo Heights Mayor Louis Cooper expressed relief that CPS Energy is waiting until later in 2015 to bring the energy utility’s Smart Grid Initiative to the City of Beauty and Charm, where a small but vocal group of citizens have organized to slow down or stop the project.

CPS’ new smart meters were the subject of substantial concern and criticism by more than a dozen citizens at the Heights Sept. 22 City Council meeting. In fact, Cooper preempted the anticipated protests by announcing at the meeting’s outset that the City Council was sending a letter to CPS Energy for a one-year delay in the project to give city officials time to study the concerned citizen’s health, safety and privacy concerns. A letter sent by CPS Energy back to Cooper doesn’t give city officials the full year requested, but it does give them at least six months until the second quarter of 2015.

Cooper said the delay in installing the plan’s new smart meters will give the Alamo Heights City Council more time to review the documentation assembled by the concerned citizens, some of which has been sent to the Rivard Report and is under review. We have not seen any peer-reviewed scientific studies that demonstrate any evidence that smart meters or any other devices that rely on low-frequency signals for transmitting data can cause cancer or are linked to serious health concerns if used as directed.

In his Sept. 25 letter to Cooper, CPS Energy Vice President of External Relations Rudy Garza wrote that utility officials would work with Alamo Heights to resolve such concerns.

“Over the next several months, our team is committed to continue our education/information efforts within your community,” Garza wrote. “After review of our information schedule, and in consideration of the discussion which occurred at City Council on Monday evening, we thought you should know that we do not plan to begin meter installations in Alamo Heights until the second quarter of 2015.”

Garza wrote that CPS would notify city officials 30 days in advance of “any meter installations beginning in your community.”

The Smart Grid Initiative will mean faster service restoration following outages, and the addition of future programs and services, such as new payment options, and the ability of customers to better manage their energy usage.

For CPS Energy, the SGI means new efficiencies in customer service, faster connection of service and an opportunity to eliminate billing estimates and meter reader errors.

“I really appreciate the fact that CPS responded in such a timely manner and appreciate that they’re giving us and those concerned citizens that have expressed interest, more time to further review the documentation, dig in deeper into these smart meters and answer questions they have,” Cooper said.

“We are very grateful to CPS to give us that time,” he said. “They heard and were nice enough to come to our meeting, listen to our citizens, hear their request and then immediately respond to the requests of the council and send the letter.”

Alamo Heights City Council next meets on Oct. 6, although smart meters are not on the agenda.

*Featured/top image: A CPS Energy employee checks a meter. Photo courtesy of CPS Energy.

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8 thoughts on “Alamo Heights Pleased With Smart Meter Delay

  1. The actual uncut video of the City Council meeting is now on YouTube.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWSZV_DplGU

    It identifies Alamo Heights residents. Julian Hall is a resident and engineer and I’m not positive he is identified. His comments are excellent.

    It says I wrote it but I didn’t, merely made suggestion that residents were clearly identified.

    • Andrew, below is the section of the letter to our City Council from Dr. Elliot Weser about health issues:
      3. There is a definite risk of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation effecting the environment surrounding these Smart Meters, producing a cumulative effect from other homes and apartments using the grid on the street. Exposure to this radiation increases the risk of bone marrow and tissue cancers, heart disease and arrythmias, neurological disorders and numerous other ailments. Pregnant women and children are most susceptible. In the words of David O. Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany: “In biology and medicine, there is nothing that is 100% proven. We rely on statistical significance and weight of evidence when drawing conclusions about health effects in humans…Clearly the answer to this dilemma is not to install wireless Smart Meters to begin with.”

      Alamo Heights resident Elliot Weser, M.D. is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City and its College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, arriving in 1967. At the UTHSCSA he was the Chief of Gastroenterology, then Deputy Chair of the medical school’s Dept. of Medicine, and later Chief of Medicine at Audie Murphy Veterans Administration Hospital. Currently Weser is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at UTHSCSA. Having trained generations of specialists in the field of gastroenterology, Weser has also written over 100 publications, including book chapters, research papers and scientific abstracts presented at medical meetings both in this country and abroad. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer at numerous medical schools throughout the country.
      He was honored in 2013 by the Bexar County Medical Society Foundation with its Medical Honors Award in the field of gastroenterology. Each year BCMSF honors 12 local physicians in various specialties. Weser was chosen by his peers to be honored for his service to the profession, his scientific research and leadership contributions to the local medical community.

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