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Dominion Energy Virginia responds to AFP story: ‘Smart’ meters are safe

Rebecca Barnabi
(© Khunatorn – stock.adobe.com)

Dominion Energy Virginia responded to a story about customers having their electricity cut off because they refused the installation of “smart” meters.

According to Dominion Energy spokesman Jeremy Slayton, Milton Williams and Aeron Mack of Fauquier County were notified twice before their electricity service was cut off for using “unapproved, unsafe meters.”

Dominion customers have two meter options, Slayton said. They can have Dominion install a “smart” meter, which is a digital meter.

“It allows us and the customer to track their daily usage,” Slayton said.

Or customers can have Dominion install the Non-Communicating Meter, which has no data storage.

Slayton said that “smart” meters are like cell phones and laptops: they communicate with radio frequency.

Customers are sent a certified letter before service is terminated, they have 10 days to respond. Slayton said if a customer does not respond, service is terminated.

Cutting off service when a customer is using an unauthorized meter is a matter of safety to Dominion.

“Using unauthorized meters is dangerous to the customers,” Slayton said, because electricity is dangerous and customers can be injured by installing their own meters.

Williams’ and Mack’s service will remain cut off unless they decide to choose one of Dominion’s safe meter options. They do not have to choose a “smart” meter.

Dominion Energy said its customers are able to opt-out from having a smart meter installed in their homes. The Non-Communicating Meter Option are meters with the two-way communication feature removed and data storage disabled. If a customer is found to have tampered with or removed their smart meter, they are sent a certified letter advising them they have 10 days to respond. If no response is received, their service is terminated for unauthorized use. Prior to cutting the service, the customer is given one last chance to exchange their meter. Service is only cut if the customer does not allow the exchange.

Slayton said that “smart” meters are beneficial because they allow customers to retrieve detailed information about usage and take control of how and why they use electricity. “Smart” meters also notify Dominion when electricity is out and when it is restored.

“Smart meters are safe,” Slayton said. They use a radio frequency more than 100,000 times lower than Federal Communications Commission limits, and they will not affect your health, according to public health officials and scientists.

Slayton said Dominion cannot comment on the health of customers who have reportedly adverse health reactions to the “smart” meters in their homes.

Related story:

Dominion Energy reportedly cutting off electricity to homes that refused ‘smart’ meters – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.