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Naperville 'Smart Meter' Opponent Bolts Old Electrical Meter To House

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) -- One of the Naperville activists opposed to smart electrical meters says she has bolted her old meter to the house, and others in the group are joining her.

As WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports, Kim Bendis says her father made the old meter protection device in a half hour with $25 worth of parts from Home Depot to make sure her old analog meter stays bolted to the house.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports


Bendis says many in the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group are doing the same thing.

"I've had mine on for four months, and I'm still getting my bills. Every other month, they're estimating the bill and then a meter reader comes up," she said, "and so, I've still been billed. I pay my bills."

But Naperville Village Manager Douglas Kreiger says what Bendis did is illegal and dangerous.

"Say there was a structure fire, and there was some tampering device that prevented us from doing that, you know, it could harm the residents inside," he said.

The smart meter plan in Naperville has been a hot-button issue for some residents since early this year when it was still in planning stages. The City of Naperville implemented the plan to improve service, but some residents complained from the beginning that the new meters might have adverse health effects.

Their biggest concern? The cumulative, long-term effects of electro-magnetic frequency used to transfer data, in addition to what already exists.

Those wary of possible health risks base their concerns on research, like the Karolinska Institute's Seletun report that states "adverse health effects can occur with prolonged exposure to very low-intensity EMF."

Privacy effects have also been a concern, since some research has drawn concerns about gaps in data encryption within the new system.

Kreiger says there is no evidence of any safety hazard, and says any privacy questions will be answered as the installation proceeds.

The smart meter plan cost $22 million to implement.

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