Smart meters - Invasion of privacy or practical?

Smart meters are sparking opposition on the internet.

Some call them invaders of privacy.

Soon all AEP Texas customers will have one installed.

Smart meters monitor how much energy you use.

They communicate that amount to your energy company.

"It gives customers faster service at a reduced price that we would not normally charge," said AEP Texas spokesman Frank Espinoza.

The energy conscious can use smart meters to find ways of cutting back on energy.

"In the past people would have to kind of guess as to what their electric bill was going to be per month, said Espinoza. With (the smart meter) you will know to the day how much power you're using." claims smart meters know "when you wake up in the morning, when you go on vacation and what kinds of appliances you are using."

It TMs a claim AEP Texas denies.

"The only information we're going to be gathering is the meter reading four times per hour and sending the meter readings to the retailer provider of the consumers' choice, said Espinoza.

Another complaint: some said smart meters increased their bill.

AEP Texas said you may notice new fees of a couple bucks, but any big change would be from your energy company.

If you got a door hanger from AEP Texas, it likely means they are your electric provider.

"If you are an AEP Texas customer or you are served by AEP Texas lines, you will receive a meter," said Espinoza.

In many parts of the Valley, AEP Texas is the only electric provider.

Many are left with no choice but to accept the meter or risk getting no electricity.

There are several claims against smart meters including that they can hurt your health.

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