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Maui Electric installing 'smart' power meters

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 1:25 a.m. HST, Apr 27, 2012

Maui Electric Co. is installing new, "smart" power meters that will enable the utility to remotely monitor electricity fed to more than 100 residents taking part in the Maui smart-grid demonstration project.

Operations Superintendent Chris Reynolds says two meters have been installed so far in Maui Meadows. The Maui News reported today another 110 will be in place in May.

Smart meters allow a utility to remotely read customers' meters, connect and disconnect service and know when a customer has experienced a power outage. The data helps customers understand more about their energy use and guide them to use energy more efficiently.

The Maui meters are part of a broader experiment to demonstrate how solar, wind and other renewable energy sources can be integrated into an electrical grid.

Meanwhile, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is considering allowing members to opt out of using smart meters. Cooperative CEO David Bissell told The Garden Island newspaper the board won't force meters to go on any house or business. 

A handful of people held signs protesting smart meters outside a hotel in Kapaa where the board met on Tuesday. The demonstrators cited health fears and privacy concerns. 

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