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Legal experts weigh in on smart meter controversy

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OKLAHOMA CITY-While smart meters are supposed to be good for your wallet, some Oklahomans say the devices are making them physically sick.

The concern about those meters is growing nationwide, especially for those who are diagnosed with electromagnetic hypersensitive disorder.

One Tulsa legislator even requested an interim study be done on the effects of the meters during this past session.

However, that request was denied.

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Attorney David Slane said, "People buying electricity really have no power against the monopoly. For 25 years, the tobacco companies also said cigarette smoking didn't affect your health and we know they all testified before Congress and now we know that's just not the case. I don't believe all these people are nuts in their claims."

OG&E representatives say the digital technology helps drive down the cost for customers.

It also allows them to pinpoint problem areas in the case of a natural disaster.

While some customers have asked to keep the old meters, officials say having the old and new meters on the same grid is not feasible.

Slane says he believes it comes down to money.

He said, "What they are really telling you is they don't want to pay a meter reader to go out to people's houses who opt out. That's what really, what they are telling you."

Okla. Sen. Kyle Loveless said, "OG&E, in my mind, has a responsibility to its customers but also to its shareholders and those who have invested in the company."

Loveless says he believes most companies do their best to meet the customers' needs in a cost-efficient way.

He said, "Cookie cutter solutions can take care of the vast majority. There's probably some people on the fringes or people they don't apply to. I believe OG&E is trying to provide the cheapest electricity and the cheapest power they can. The best way I think they can do so is through the smart meters."

However, Slane says there is a simple solution and the law often plays catch up to new technology.

Slane said, "I think that there probably needs to be an opt out provision in the law that would allow for certain circumstances, like this, to be able to decline that smart meter."
Health officials say there is no way, at this point, to know how many EHS suffers there are but they do say it's a small number.

The FCC sets the amount of radio frequencies allowed and smart meters fall within regulation.

OG&E points out their meters only transmit a minute a day and cell phones can emit far more RF than the smart meters.

Of course, opponents who have tested the meters say they emit more than what the manufacturers have told utility companies.

OG&E has offered to pay for an independent assessment of the home of one of the families from an earlier story.

OG&E has also sent out a letter to it's employees explain their stance on health concerns as they relate to Smart Meters. You can read that letter here:
OG&E letter to Employees on Smart Meters