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Smart meters coming next year
MEXICO -- According to Central Maine Power, their smart meters are safe both in terms of personal health and internet security.
Tasha Raymond, customer service advisor from Farmington, addressed question about the devices during the selectmen's meeting here on June 28.
She said the plan calls for smart meters to be installed in this area between Jan. 16 and Feb. 11 of next year. There are 1,584 meters to be installed in Mexico.
This is not the first time smart meters have been installed. There are more than 20 million of them in use in the country.
However, a number of Maine residents are not happy about the devices.
Selectman Reggie Arsenault said some people don't want change and that they have told him they feel "it's a form of blackmail by CMP."
Raymond said that the town of Bath is trying to reverse things so that one has to "opt in" to get a smark meter. "We're fighting it; don't think it's going to fly."
There will not be a charge to customers to have the smart meters installed. However, the following options will be available, which do carry a fee:
1. For the electro-mechanical meter option: an initial, one-time charge of $40 and a recurring monthly charge of $12.
2. For the standard wireless “smart meter” with the NIC operating in receive-only mode: an initial, one-time charge of $20 and a recurring monthly charge of $10.50.
3. A letter will go out 60 days before the installing of the smart meters. For any customer who does not enroll in the opt-out program within 30 days and later chooses to do so: a $25 surcharge. CMP may waive the surcharge if they determine there is a sufficient reason for the customer’s failure to notify CMP within the 30-day period.
Town Manager John Madigan asked what would happen if with the smart meter, a customer's bill suddenly doubles.
Raymond said she doesn't believe that is going to happen, noting that it hasn't been an issue when those smart meters already in use.
Along with the smart meters, customers will have access to a web portal where "you can see your usage and where you can fund savings by seeing when to get the best rates," said Raymond.
Besides the potential for education, smart meters will also indicate instantly when someone has lost power. "We'll no longer rely on someone calling to let us know who is without power."
However, she added that once smart meters are installed, people will need to still call in outages for awhile until they get activated.
People also will not have to shovel out a path to the meter because meter readers will no longer be needed.
When the smart meters are installed, she noted they will approach a home in a CMP/BSI truck. "They will not be wearing haz-mat suits."
In other business, after a lengthy debate during a public hearing, selectmen approved the renewal of a liquor license for Tommyguns Pit Stop on the Roxbury Road.
Owner Clarence "Tommy" Tompkins was not present as Selectman Reggie Arsenault said a number of people told him about noise issues with the watering hole, particularly with the deck being open after the agreed upon 9 p.m. hour as it is located in a residential neighborhood.
Arsenault then requested information about the number of complaints of the business from July 1, 2010 to date. After Town Manager John Madigan contacted Police Chief Jim Theriault, Theriault found that there were a total of 20 calls, including seven citizen disputes, four assaults and two criminal mischief complaints. He said the total is about average, with most everything occurring outside the bar.
Selectman Peter Merrill said the number of complaints show "it's quieter than in the past by quite a lot."
Theriault, who said there have not any major complaints, asked Arsenault, "Why are they calling you and not us?"
Arsenault responded that he has asked them to contact the police. He asked that officers check to make sure that patrons are not using the bar's deck after 9 p.m.