Smart Meter makes touch lamps go crazy

(WCPO) - Smart meters -- that monitor your energy usage and report it back to the electric company -- have been controversial since they first came out.

As we have reported in the past, some people have privacy concerns, others health concerns, and now some owners of a certain type of lamp have yet another worry.

Mike Derikson has no complaints about the new smart meter on the side of his Liberty Township, Ohio house, saying you can't fight new technology.But he recently worried had a ghost inside his house, when his touch lamps started turning on and off on their own.

"At night, it would come on by itself," he said. "We'd shut it off, it would come back on in the middle of the night."

Sure enough, as we stood there talking, the lamp came on, all by itself.

Derikson thought the lamp was defective, so he threw it away and paid $40 for a new one. But that one turned on by itself too.

So he called Duke Energy, and learned the radio frequencies used in smart meters can interfere with touch lamps, which also use RF.

We contacted Duke Energy, where a spokeswoman said:

"We're aware of customers experiencing difficulties with touch lamps. We were able to determine that the issue was not with the digital meters themselves, rather the communications nodes which are located on a pole nearby."

She says touch lamp owners can call about getting a simple plug in filter, which Derickson has done.

So far it seems to work, and for now it has banished the ghosts in his bedroom.

Power companies: Meters are safe

While some critics claim smart meters could be a health concern, power companies cite study after study that find no health issues.

They say the signal is no worse than a cell phone or wireless internet signal that you already have in your home.

So don't throw out that flickering lamp, and don't waste your money.

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