WILTON – Selectmen voted this week to draft an ordinance to regulate the installation of wireless electricity meters in town, making Wilton the second Maine community to seek local control over the Central Maine Power Co. project.

Town officials plan to look to the Bath City Council for guidance, since that council has passed the only ordinance that changes the statewide opt-out plan for residents who want to keep their old meters, said Selectman Tom Saviello.

The ordinance could temporarily ban installations of “smart meters” in Wilton, and could require CMP to get permission from residents to make the switch, Saviello said.

Bath passed an ordinance this summer that countered the state Public Utilities Commission’s decision to allow people to opt out of the program but require them to pay for alternatives.

Among the state-approved options, customers who want to keep old meters have to pay $40 up front and $12 a month.

“Bath did a moratorium that said we’re going to still evaluate this stuff and you have to get permission from the homeowner,” Saviello said Friday.

His biggest concern is that some Wilton residents have raised questions about health effects from the radio frequency network that allows power companies to monitor electricity consumption remotely and at intervals. Installation of the meters has begun in town.

Saviello, who is also a Republican state senator for Wilton, consulted state health officials, who didn’t support some of the concerns that residents raised at past meetings, he said.

“I wanted the moratorium because I want people to be able to ask (the experts) the questions themselves,” he said.

The drafted ordinance will be reviewed by selectmen, who will then decide whether to schedule a public hearing and vote on the matter. Saviello expects the review to occur at the selectmen’s next regular meeting, which will likely be Oct. 18.

One hundred smart meters have been installed in Wilton, with the town of about 4,100 residents scheduled to get a total of 2,300 smart meters, said John Carroll, spokesman for CMP.

Installations will continue in town because details about the ordinance have not been decided, and the issue must still be voted on by residents, he said Friday. “We don’t know what way the ordinance is going to go.”

CMP plans to install 620,000 smart meters statewide, at a cost of about $192 million, Carroll said.

Meanwhile, an antenna that is part of the smart meter system in Wilton was taken down Thursday. Residents had complained to selectmen that CMP didn’t follow town permit rules before installing the antenna.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer David Robinson can be contacted at 961-9287 or at: [email protected]