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Kauai utility wants to charge smart meter avoiders

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The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative plans to seek regulatory approval to levy a charge on customers who chose not to use the company’s wireless smart meters.

Utility officials said Wednesday they will ask the state Public Utilities Commission to authorize a $10.27 per month fee for customers who opt out of the smart meter program.

Smart meters allow utilities to remotely read customers’ meters as well as connect and disconnect service.

KIUC says about 10 percent of its 30,000 customers are opting not to use smart meters. The cooperative says it costs about $340,000 a year to send technicians to read old-style meters still in use at 3,000 homes and businesses.

Utility officials say they think it’s fair to assign the cost of reading the old meters to cooperative members who have chosen to keep them rather than have the entire membership pay.

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