Pacific Power continues smart meter installations in Josephine County
Josephine County residents are left with the question of whether to opt-out of Pacific Power's smart meter installations. The company is continuing to install the meters, aiming to improve customer knowledge about power usage.
Regional business manager Christina Kruger said these smart meters are a big deal for the community.
"It'll give our customers the opportunity to see what their real energy use looks like, hopefully lower their bills and give us real-time information of whether or not they're experiencing an outage which means we can restore power more quickly," Kruger said.
Kruger said the region is behind the rest of the county in this development with "over half of the homes in the United States have them installed already."
Grants Pass resident Robert Pelle, who moved from Texas a few years ago, saw the roll out of smart meters there and supports it.
"Being an engineer, I love when people improve their product to make it a more versatile product a better product for the consumer," Pelle said. "I just think this is an evolution in that direction."
However, not everyone is a fan of the new technology. Critics against smart meters argue the meters will increase their power bill and harm their health. They also think the $36 opt-out fee is too expensive for some residents.
Kruger said their problem is not rooted in the meter themselves, but with the idea of change.
"I feel like it's a controversy simply because it's technology that is new and people in the local community's environment," Kruger said. "I feel like there's great opportunity for people to become better informed and come right to the source and ask us questions if they need clarification."
Pelle said he encourages residents to think about both sides of the debate.
"I would encourage anybody who is thinking about the pros and cons of a smart meter to think about the pros in terms of the ability to have a better power system, a better controlled power network," Pelle said. "It's going to provide us better power in the end."