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Man Chains Electric Meter To Prevent Utility From Installing Smart Meter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's obvious Norbert Sliwinski of Monroeville does not want Duquesne Light to install a so-called smart meter on his property.

A lock and chain secures his old analog meter with a clear notice: "Attention Do Not Install Smart Meter."

The retired mechanical engineer says smart meters are dangerous.

"The smart meter is not safe for the following reasons. It emits high frequency radio waves. You don't feel them. You don't know about them, but they can penetrate your body and they can cause health problems later on," Sliwinski told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Thursday.

Sliwinski says the radio waves go through concrete walls.

"My bedroom is right next door, and it will emit high frequency waves. I worry about my health and my children's health."

And he has another concern.

"They catch fire because there is very high voltage inside."

Sliwinski asked Duquesne Light and the Public Utility Commission to let him keep the old electric meter.

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"In other parts of the country, similar problems have arisen obviously, and some states give you a quote, opt out option," he says.

But not Pennsylvania.

"The Pennsylvania law does not include any opt out mechanism," says PUC spokesman Nils Hagan-Frederiksen.

Hagan-Frederiksen says it's the legislature who mandated the smart meters.

"The deployment of these meters is part of Act 129 of 2008 which is a broad based act that looks at a lot of different ways to increase energy efficiency and promote conservation across the state."

The PUC does, however, have jurisdiction over smart meter safety, and Sliwinski filed a complaint on that.

For their part, Duquesne Light, through spokeswoman Jessica Rock, insists, "The radio frequency output of the new digital meters is consistent with the output of our current meters that have been transmitting data for the past 20 years."

But Sliwinski wants an independent review.

"There's no testing being done, long-term testing by an independent testing lab. They're just being forced [down] our throats."

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