In a small score for those against the installation of smart meters in their homes, the Maryland Public Service Commission decided Thursday that Marylanders may request utility companies defer the installation of smart meter devices in their homes or businesses, pending a final decision by the PSC on whether customers may opt out of receiving smart meters.
"The [PSC]’s order is effective immediately and affects customers in the Baltimore Gas & Electric, Potomac Electric Power Company [Pepco] and Delmarva Power service territories," according to a PSC statement.
"Also, customers who already have smart meters installed, but do not wish to have one, may inform their utility in writing. The utility cannot activate those customers’ smart meter transmitters until the [PSC] issues its final decision on these issues," the statement added.
Still, the commission has "not reached any decision as to whether to permit the customers of the utilities in these cases to 'opt-out' of receiving a smart meter permanently, or, if so, what the terms of any possible future opt-out might include," the commission said.
Many Marylanders are opposed to having smart meters installed in their homes. At a PSC hearing on Tuesday, May 22, "no one who spoke as an individual was in support of the smart meters, with some people going so far as to say that 'an opt-out is not sufficient ... we request a moratorium,' " reported Patch blogger Eric Silberman, who attended the 11-hour hearing.
Smart meters are devices that send information about household energy use to a power company through electromagnetic radiation. A smart meter replaces a traditional electricity meter, which a power company representative must visit every month to get a electricity usage reading.
Smart meters can make it easier for power companies to know about power outages, and the smart meters can help customers track how much energy they are using at different times of the day. But, many object to the electromagnetic radiation, and would prefer that such devices stay away from their homes and families, Patch reported earlier this spring.
The PSC will likely render a decision within one month on whether to allow Marylanders to opt out of having smart meters installed in their homes, Silberman reported.