It's a controversial device that some believe are dangerous for their health, but Hydro Quebec’s smart meters are already installed in 2.5 million homes.

The utility says they are perfectly safe and it is determined to install them in the remaining 1.7 million households that don't already have them.

The meters allow Hydro to take clients' usage numbers straight from the machine, eliminating the need for an employee to make the trip to your home to read the meter.

For those who are determined not to have these meters, Hydro says they can be replaced by non-communicative meters, which are new but do not transmit the information remotely, at a cost of $15, if you act relatively quickly.

Customers who received a letter prior to Oct. 3 informing them of the installation of their smart meter have until Jan. 5 to inform Hydro of their intention to get a non-communicative meter, which will be installed for $15.

After next Monday, the regular rate of $85 kicks in.

For those who have a letter dated after Oct. 3, they have 30 days after the date on their letter to get the $15 rate. After that, the installation of the non-communicative meter will cost $85.

In all cases, there would also be a $5 monthly charge, effectively, a penalty, to read the meters in person.

Hydro says only 0.5 per cent of its clients who have the new meters have objected.

For more information on having a non-communicative meter installed, visit Hydro's website.