States weighing pros, cons of utility smart meters

By STEPHEN SINGER and SUSAN HAIGH | November 13, 2011 | 12:05 PM EST

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Utilities and state energy officials in a number of states are taking a closer look at whether smart electric meters are really that smart for their residents and businesses.

They're well aware of controversies in other states, namely California — where many residents oppose the devices and question possible inaccuracies and health risks.

In Connecticut, officials are reviewing the pros and cons and plan to come up with a policy for smart meter technology next year.

Proponents say smart meters will help consumers save electricity by monitoring their real-time consumption. The utilities can also save money by eliminating meter readers, because they receive the data electronically. They'll also be used to automatically monitor outages.

A federal agency is currently working on updated standards for smart meters, which have become a key component of many power grid upgrades.