Manchester Votes Down Smart Meters

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(Host) Manchester voters have gone on record against wireless electric meters.

The utilities say the wireless smart meters should improve customer service. But some residents have raised health and privacy concerns.

Theo Talcott of Manchester says the vote against smart meters at Saturday’s Town Meeting came after an unsuccessful move to table the issue.

(Talcott) "They tried to like not let us bring it up to vote even though we had gotten the signatures and gotten it on the ballot. And that sort of turned the animal spirit of the room, and people were like, no that isn’t fair."

(Host) State utility regulators have already approved the use of the wireless meters. The technology allows meters to be read from a remote location. The smart meters can also give near-instantaneous feedback on how much electricity a customer uses.

Steve Costello, a spokesman for Central Vermont Public Service, said the Manchester vote shows the utility needs to focus more on public education.

(Costello) "I guess it means that we really need to do a better job letting people know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. There’s frankly been a lot of misinformation out there".

(Host) The weekend vote in Manchester was advisory only. Talcott called it a symbolic victory.

(Talcott) "So it’s a question of whether CVPS wants to respect the democratic spirit of Vermont and listen to what we said. We said we don’t want them."

(Host) Several other towns in Bennington County will also vote on smart meters on Town Meeting Day.


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