Some environmental activists are raising concerns about 'smart meters', which continuously transmit information about electricity usage to a central location.

Corporate spokesperson for Northwestern Energy Claudia Rapkoch says the company is now experimenting with smart meters in Helena, with customers who have volunteered to use the new technology.

Rapkoch says the idea of a smart meter can help electrical customers to see exactly how much energy is being utilized throughout the day, thus enabling the customer to revise their usage and conserve both electricity and money.

She says most Northwestern Energy customers have been fitted with meters that can be read remotely from a passing company vehicle, so that workers can avoid the risk of injury from dogs, fences or inclement weather.

There are some concerns in environmental circles that the smart meters may emit dangerous radiation, or catch fire because of sloppy installation.

Northwestern Energy corporate spokesperson Claudia Rapkoch