Sumter Electric installing controversial Smart Meters on all new homes

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SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. —

Some homeowners in The Villages are suspicious of their new electric meters after Sumter Electric began installing the so-called Smart Meters on new homes and businesses.

But some upset homeowners told Channel 9's Berndt Petersen they believe the new meters can be used to invade their privacy and even put their health at risk.

Aileen Milton said she doesn't want anything done on her property unless she says so.

"It's being forced," she said. "It's them coming through the neighborhood and doing it without even asking."

Sheila Wilson closed on a new home a couple of days ago. She said the house comes with the new Smart Meter, which is being added to all homes being built in the neighborhood.

"They're going to put them in all of them," Wilson said.

Smart Meters don't require a meter reader because the amount of power a homeowner uses is transmitted through a radio frequency. It's technology the power companies insist saves them and their customers money.

But Wilson said she's also heard what some people are afraid of.

"They were worried about the radiation that might come from it," she said. "The government is taking over. I just can't imagine."

For now, Sumter Electric has no plans to fit existing homes with the new meters, but Milton said she's afraid it's just a matter of time.

Utilities in Leesburg and Ocala already have Smart Meters. FP&L and OUC will install them this year.