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A Worcester, Mass., city council subcommittee is looking to delay National Grid's smart grid pilot program because of health, security and privacy concerns.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved National Grid's smart grid initiative in 2012, and the utility recently launched a new phase of the program.

However, after a unanimous vote, the three-member Public Service and Transportation Committee will ask National Grid, the DPU and Worcester's Zoning Board of Appeals for a one-year postponement of any further smart grid-related activities, according to an article by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The request includes the suspension of additional smart meter installations and construction of communications towers associated with the initiative.

Committee members believe health, security and privacy concerns must be addressed before the program moves forward and want time to fully vet the issues. Some residents are fearful that the electromagnetic radiation from smart meters is hazardous.

"National Grid should slow down the program," committee member Gary Rosen tells the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "People in Worcester are being used as guinea pigs; smart meters are causing people health issues. Do right for the people of Worcester, and look at all the concerns people have. Take a year off instead of trying to ram this down our throats."

National Grid, for its part, contends that it has not ignored the concerns of Worcester residents and has instead dealt with issues where appropriate.

The utility notes that it has installed approximately 14,800 smart meters throughout the city and expects to roll out a two-year pilot program in full this fall.

Read the full Worcester Telegram & Gazette article here.

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