JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Changes could be coming to how you pay for utility bills in Missouri.
On Monday, members of the House will discuss legislation to cap how electric rates are set, in return for an upgrade to the power grid.
Senate Bill 564 passed out of the Senate and now will be debated in the house.
One of those upgrades could include smart meters allowing utilities to read meters remotely. But there seems to be some confusion as to what this will mean for families.
Alyssa Drinkard, 22, suffers from hypersensitivity to lights. The symptoms set in following a car crash four years ago. Her condition bans her from being around bright lights and using things like Wi-Fi and wireless phones. She also wouldn’t be able to have a smart meter in her house and she’s worried this bill will force her to upgrade.
“It wouldn’t be livable. The symptoms that I would be having, the heart palpations, it’s not like you can turn it off at night, flip a switch and go to sleep,” said Drinkard.
But the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, said that’s not true. He said the bill would not force people to get smart meters.
Sen. Emery said people can opt out through the Public Service Commission.
Originally, he said monthly rates would only be a few more dollars, but after looking into it further, he said it would cost $150 upfront and then an extra $45 a month.
The Drinkard family was correct in their assessment of those numbers.