Port Angeles couple fighting new smart meter

PORT ANGELES — The city electrical utility has threated to cut off power to a home unless the owners remove a box that blocks installation of a smart meter that sends readings wirelessly to City Hall.

The signals threaten human health and violate their right to privacy, say Virginia and Tom Leinart.

To block the installation of a wireless digital meter, they’ve built a box on the side of their house around the existing meter so it can be read, but not replaced, the Peninsula Daily News reported Thursday.

The city has ordered the couple to remove the box.

“I feel threatened. I feel harassed. I also feel afraid of what the city is going to do with us,” Virginia Leinart told City Council members at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Leinarts received a Feb. 27 letter from Rick Hostetler, city customer service manager, saying their box must be removed “to ensure the safety of our staff as well as maintaining the electrical integrity of your home.”

Hostetler told her by phone that service could be stopped in 10 to 15 days if she refused to cooperate, she said.

The power won’t be cut until after an electric inspector meets with the Leinarts to explain the code and compliance, said Craig Fulton, city public works and utilities director.

The Leinarts are among 49 residents who have asked the city to refrain from installing new smart meters on their homes.

City officials say smart meters collect only utility usage data and pose no greater risk to human health than cellphones.

City code requires that utility staff have “free and safe” access to meters in the event they need to be accessed quickly during an emergency, Fulton said, adding that cutting off service is the last option.

More in Local News

Mukilteo crabber missing; his boat was found at Hat Island

Frank Urbick set out Thursday morning but did not return.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Suspected escort charged with felony assault, robbery

She allegedly told police she shot the man in the head “because he was performing (a sex act) wrong.”

Celebrating the origins of Christmas

LDS church holds annual nativity festival featuring more than 600 sets.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Trooper’s car struck when he was arresting man for DUI

She drove away but was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Man, 29, injured by shots fired at Everett thrift store

The gunfire followed an argument in the parking lot of Value Village on Evergreen Way.

Lives were on the line

After an estimated 350K emergency calls over 35 years, dispatcher Steve Williams is set to retire.

Most Read