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Residents challenge smart meters

Pagosa Springs group willing to take it to court

The La Plata Electric Association board’s “we’ll see” response Wednesday to her request that “smart grid” opt-outs not be charged for having their electric meter read isn’t the end of it, said a Pagosa Springs woman who refused a smart meter in her home.

“There are 50 to 60 of us who are going to try for a court injunction against LPEA,” Laura Refka told The Durango Herald after the board meeting. “We also are trying to educate members of the Town Council, who don’t know their duties.”

The Pagosa Springs residents are flying in Josh Del Sol, producer of the documentary “Take Back Your Power” from Eugene, Oregon, Refka said. Del Sol is scheduled to meet residents at the July 24 screening of his film. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Lake Property Owners Association clubhouse, 230 Port Ave.

Del Sol’s 88-minute documentary features environmentalists, medical doctors and government whistle-blowers talking about pros and cons of smart meters.

High-tech smart meters, which can be read by computer from a central point, are controversial. One of the most-cited objections is their alleged carcinogenic potential.

Refka told LPEA board members they’re violating No. 2 of seven agency principles because they didn’t bring the issue of smart meters before members of the cooperative.

She read Principle No. 2: “Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote), and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.”

In response, LPEA board chairman Michael Rendon said the board makes many decisions without running them by members of the cooperative.

Board members are elected by district to represent their peers, Rendon said.

LPEA has not yet discussed charging residents who opt out of receiving a smart meter for sending a meter reader to their home, CEO Greg Munro said.

But the expense of sending a meter reader to the homes of about 240 customers who have refused to allow installation of a smart meter has to be covered in some way, he said.

daler@durangoherald.com

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