BTU Smart Meters Up For Discussion at Upcoming Bryan Council Meeting

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Smart meters are becoming a hot topic again.

They've been controversial in the past and now two Bryan City Council members want to discuss possible rules for the ones BTU has finished installing.

The plan could include having an opt-out program.

People are still asking questions about all the new smart meters counting the kilowatts of BTU customers with data being sent instantly to the electric company.

"They don't have a choice in these smart meters and some people fear 'em," said Mike Southerland, Bryan City Council Member for Place 6.

Southerland and council member Richard Cortez are bringing up dialogue at next week's meeting to possibly add more regulations on the smart meters, including an opt-out option.

It's happening already out west where Southern California Edison customers can pay to keep their old meters for a premium and $10 monthly fee.

All 48,500 BTU customers in the area have had the new meters since January.

"Just because we are a monopoly doesn't give us a right to run roughshod over people and tell 'em what they're gonna do and what they're not going to do," said Southerland.

Southerland has had a handful of complaints from residents worried about how their power information will be used to what kind of emissions the wireless transmitters make.

"Some interesting points from the presentation we saw is that a smart meter produces less than 1/3rd of the radio frequency or the electronic interference of a cell phone," said Chuck Konderla, Bryan City Council Member for District 3.

Konderla says the new meters are expected to save the city at least $10 million over the next 20 years.

"In order to make a small number of people happy if we need to have a meter reader come to their property that can probably be done for an extra fee," Konderla added.

"When the citizens are concerned about something you need to take your time to stop, try to figure out what the concern is," said Mike Southerland.

An upcoming debate whether there truly are any power problems.

A spokesperson for BTU tells us they will wait to hear the council's instructions on how to move forward.

They say there have been no problems with the new meters.

The Bryan City Council's regular meeting is scheduled for 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.