About 750-thousand Ameren Illinois electric customers will get new, high-tech meters over the next decade as part of a plan filed with state regulators. The smart meters would eliminate the need for meter readers, and give customers options such as hourly pricing and rebates for reducing usage during peak demand. But there is a small group of Illinoisans opposing the change, citing the potential for privacy breaches and health risks.
The Citizen's Utility Board's Jim Chilsen says he is familiar with some of the opposition, which has already surfaced in Naperville where they are served by a municipal utility.
The meters use radio waves to transmit data, and that has raised concerns from privacy advocates. Ratepayers in both Texas and California have complained that their bill went up when smart meters were installed. Ameren serves more than a million customers in central and southern Illinois.