Man claims OUC's smart meter made him sick, files federal lawsuit

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ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orange County man claims OUC's smart meter, which thousands of residents have on their homes, gave him major medical problems and he's filed a federal lawsuit.

"It leads to a lot of problems," said disabled veteran Bill Metallo. "I'm looking at a lot of skin problems, sleepless nights."

Metallo lists his medical problems in the federal lawsuit he just filed against OUC over the smart meters.

The digital meters are designed to make procedures easier for the company, and OUC has been installing them at thousands of Orlando homes over the past few years.

After the smart meter was installed at Metallo's home, he chose to opt out of the program. The company returned his analog meter but then added a $95 enrollment free and a $13 monthly fee.

OUC said the fees were approved by Florida's Public Service Commission, but Metallo claims it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"I want them to stop doing what they're doing, it's illegal what they're doing," said Metallo.

The smart meters have been criticized statewide in the past, and some claim they're linked to cancer.

"Smart meters are emitting electromagnetic radiation that we can't see or smell," said biologist Diana Schultz.

OUC said it couldn't comment about the pending lawsuit in Metallo's case, but denied the meters cause medical issues.

"It's fact. It's proven," said Metallo.

The utilities company released a statement to WFTV about the smart meter program:

"On the issue itself, the Public Service Commission has approved our fee structure for having a non-standard meter read. There is a cost for OUC to manually read the old meters which includes staff time and fuel. Less than one-tenth of one percent of all OUC customers contacted us about keeping their old meters, and of those only 125 out of more than 229,000 have decided to opt-out. There are many benefits of digital meters including the ability for customers to learn more about their daily energy use through an online customer dashboard, instead of having to open a bill at the end of their monthly billing cycle."