Hundreds of activists showed up at a hearing about so-called “smart meters” held by the Texas Public Utility Commission this week, with most of them seeking a way to opt-out from receiving one of the controversial electricity meters that critics link to serious privacy and health concerns. A Republican member of the state legislature even promised that if the PUC refused to allow consumers a choice, he would introduce legislation to force its hand.
The federally backed meters have long been a source of controversy and criticism in Texas, which has rolled out millions of the devices in recent years and is reportedly almost 90 percent finished with its state-wide installation scheme. Hundreds of outraged citizens sent comments to authorities before the hearing demanding that their concerns be addressed, forcing the PUC to get a larger venue to hold the meeting. Most wanted the option to refuse a smart meter at the very least. Some were even seeking an “opt-in” system instead.
Opposition to smart meters in the Lone Star State recently exploded into the national headlines, too, when Houston-area activist Thelma Taormina pulled a gun on an aggressive installation worker who refused to get off of her property. “My main concern originally was the privacy — as far as I’m concerned this is a surveillance device,” We The People 9/12 activist group founder Taormina told The New American after her bold efforts to avoid having a smart meter installed on her property became a nationwide sensation.
Taormina was one of the many Texans demanding a public hearing on smart meters. And at the meeting, she spoke out forcefully, telling the commission that it had no lawful authority to force the controversial devices on citizens without at least giving them an option to refuse. It is also part of a larger problem: the continual erosion of liberty, she said.
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Photo: (L to R) A George Washington impersonator, Thelma Taormina, and husband Nick in Dallas, Texas