ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A battle over power meters is brewing in Altamonte Springs. Duke is installing new smart meters, but residents say no way.
Duke Energy is sending out flyers to residents, explaining that they're installing new smart meters and that they'll be coming to your area next. If you don't want the smart meters, that's fine but it's going to cost you.
"My initial thought was ‘Gotcha,'" said Pam Kilgore.
Kilgore got the flyer about Duke Energy smart meters a few weeks ago, she was uneasy. Her son recently had one installed at his home.
"He said they just did and now he can track everything on his cell phone."
These smart meters are the new standard for Duke Energy, being installed across Florida over the next two years. The metes read your usage themselves with no contractors required."This new technology securely transmits the usage data to equipment and securely transmits that data to duke energy as well," said Duke Energy spokesperson Peveeta Persaud.
It's convenient, yes. But Kilgore had privacy concerns.
"It's big brother, constantly," said Kilgore.
So she called and learned she could opt out, but it was going to cost her. Duke says every customer that opts out gets a meter that's instead manually read, and it'll cost $96 flat plus $15 a month.
"It's like oh my God, now you're going to tack on more if I don't go with your smart meter?" said Kilgore.
"There are costs associated with manually reading the meters every month. We are in line with other utilities across the state of Florida as well as across the nation," said Persaud.
"The frustration is the cost, and when you're retired and you're on a set income like a lot of people are in this neighborhood, it's hard," said Kilgore.
Duke says it's installed 115,000 smart meters in the Orlando area since it started in November. They'll continue installations through 2021. If you choose to opt out, you can do so at any time.