Montreal, Canada --- (METERING.COM) --- March 16, 2012 - Hydro-Québec has filed with the Régie de l'énergie a proposed smart meter opt-out plan, which would allow customers to have meters that don't emit radio frequency (RF) energy.

Individual customers will be able to opt out on request, but will have to pay an initial charge of $98 (before taxes) for installation of a non-RF meter and monthly charges of $17 (before taxes) for manual meter reading. The Régie de l'énergie has already recognized the principle that options exercised by individuals are paid for by those who request them.

Last December Health Canada found that the RF exposure from smart meters is below the human exposure limits specified in its safety code.

Hydro-Québec expects that the AMI rollout will reduce customer costs by $300 million over the next 20 years, through automation of meter reading, as well as provide other benefits. An initial investment of $100 million is required to implement the metering structure needed to support the rollout.

Currently three one-year pilot projects are under way in Boucherville (6,000 meters), Montréal (19,000 meters in Villeray) and the regional county municipality of Memphrémagog (2,000 meters), due for completion in May. The company also plans to start installing the new meters throughout the greater Montréal area during 2012.