Wauwatosa man fighting city on 'smart' water meters

CREATED Jul 24, 2014

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WAUWATOSA - A Wauwatosa man is fighting the city over smart meters. He says they emit harmful radiation. But the city has already threatened to shut off his water if he doesn't comply.

“Cities should never send a notice threatening to shut off water to homeowners that are paying their bills on time,” says Greg Schliesmann. “I shouldn’t be punished just because I have health concerns over this new technology”

He received a “Water Shut-Off Notice” in the mail from the city, because he didn’t respond to its mandate to install a smart water meter.

“This is extremely coercive,” Schliesmann says. “I thought this was about as extreme of a response as they could possibly do.”

Smart meters are replacing traditional water meters in Wauwatosa, and many other cities across the state and country. Smart meters allow crews to gather water usage data without actually visiting houses. The meters wirelessly transmit a signal from the home to the utility company.

But that involves radio-frequency waves, causing some radiation - the amount and effects of which are still being researched.

“Smart meters are causing controversy all over the country,” Schliesmann says. “There is a lot of research that suggests they could be harmful...No one can take away my right to water.”

The mayor of Wauwatosa assures TODAY'S TMJ4 that Schliesmann’s water will not be shut off. She says he is one of three people in the city who have expressed health concerns from smart meters. She’s currently working with the water department to create an “opt-out” program, in which residents can pay a fee and keep their traditional water meter.