Activists in suburban Chicago want to stop their city from pushing ahead with the installation of so-called "smart meter" technology that's designed to make electricity distribution more efficient.
The Naperville opponents say the wireless meters that broadcast a consumers' electricity usage data directly to utility operators raise serious privacy and health issues.
A federal court this week assigned a judge to hear the activists' request for an order halting the $22 million project to install nearly 60,000 meters.
There are other signs the debate is heating up in the community of 145,000.
Naperville city officials announced Wednesday they'll hold hearings soon on a proposal to hold a non-binding referendum on abandoning the smart-meter plan.
Utilities and energy officials in a growing number of states are advocating for the technology.
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