With some Glendale customers grumbling over what they say is the Big Brother debut of a new smart meter grid, the city's utility today announced plans to host a panel of experts to address public concerns.
Some Glendale Water & Power customers have held out against embracing the new technology -- which allows two-way communication with the utility and lets customers track real-time water and electricity consumption -- calling the smart meters an invasion of privacy and voicing concerns about the health impacts of the radiowaves.
Utility officials have said the meters are safe, and that the smart meters don't reveal the type of customer information to the public that some naysayers have asserted.
So as the debate rages on, and Glendale Water & Power tries to integrate smart meters into daily routines -- going so far as to partner with Facebook for a new app -- the utility has scheduled a public forum Nov. 17 in an attempt to put some issues to rest.
Included on the panel:
• Dr. Rajit Gadh, Professor, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA, director of the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center and director for the UCLA Wireless Internet for Mobile Enterprise Consortium
• Marzia Zafar, Business and Community Outreach supervisor for the California Public Utilities Commission
• Lauren Navarro, attorney with the Environmental Defense Council
• Glenn Steiger, Glendale Water & Power general manager
• Jim Schoedler, technology consultant on radio frequency and broadcast for companies seeking FCC licenses and radio frequency analysis
The forum will run from 6 to 9 p.m., Nov. 17, Glendale Community College Student Center.
-- Jason Wells, Times Community News
Photo: A contractor installs a smart meter in Glendale. Credit: File photo.