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PSO customer cries foul over smart meters

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Howard Houchen, a Public Service Company of Oklahoma customer in far southeastern Oklahoma, has long been outspoken against smart meters.

"Very concerned from the get go on various aspects of the smart meters," said Houchen.

Now, he says his electric company is being dishonest, touting that smart meters will save him money, then asking the corporation commission for a rate hike to finish installing them.

"They're not lying. I'll never say that. But they aren't being completely truthful with everything that deals with this smart meter roll out," said Houchen.

"I just think it's borderline fraud. It's just bordering on that line of not being honest," said local attorney, David Slane.

In fact, Slane says customers may have grounds for a class action lawsuit to recoup money they were promised to have saved.

"On the website they say it says to save energy and money. They're going to save you money, yet at the same time, they go to the corporation commission and say we want a rate increase against the very people they said they were going to save money," said Slane.

PSO spokesperson, Stan Whiteford, says the installation of the smart meters is only a small portion of their rate hike request.

"Every customer that gets an AMI meter is going to have the potential to save money," said Whiteford.

Whiteford says the average customer's bill will only increase by about $4 a month and that the potential savings will far outweigh that increase.

"Once the meters are fully installed, we'll have the opportunity to do certain rate designs that will allow them like time of day and those types of things. Customers that take advantage of that have the opportunity to save lots of dollars," said Whiteford.

But Houchen says he's not buying it and he would like to see an opt out clause implemented in Oklahoma.

Several states and cities have passed into law opt out options for electric customers in regard to smart meters.

So far, that has not happened in Oklahoma.

The Corporation Commission is set to consider PSO's rate hike request in late June.