DALLAS (AP) — A nationwide effort to upgrade residential electric systems has run into growing resistance in Texas.

Some residents are building steel cages around their old electric meters to prevent utility workers from installing new remote-controlled digital units. The protesters say the new units could allow government snooping by providing real-time information on when residents are using electricity. They also worry about the health impact of the radio waves the new meters emit.

Utility officials say the new units are needed to help them manage electricity demand during peak periods.

New units have been installed in 87 percent of the houses planned for the conversion. But the state utility commission will consider soon allowing residents to opt out of the system, as several states have done.

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