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Smart Meters Not Required...For Now

Marylanders may request that utility companies defer installing smart meters in their homes or businesses, pending a decision by the PSC on whether customers will be able to opt out of receiving the smart meters.

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,' " , 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, .

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, .

AnnKangarouse May 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM
SO with the possibility of smart meters bot being installed, will this mean that the rate hike will not happen? Also though... since we don't have smart meter readers...what can we do to assure ourselves that our actual water usage is recorded??
AH May 26, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Smart meters track electricity, not water, Gayle, so they don't have anything to do with the proposed water/sewer rate hike. Don't think there's much we can do about getting accurate water readings, except to watch our bills for usage that seems seriously off-base. I think city is in process of getting proposals for comprehensive system revamp -- meters, readers, billing, etc.
AnnKangarouse May 29, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Ah, I see now. Having trouble keeping the water issues and BGE issues separate since there seems to be major problems with bot. A numbe of years ago, there was a problem with my meter that wasn't detected for well over a year, though I'd called several times to ask about the problem. I was told then by a BGE rep that the electric meters are 'read' as the trucks drive by homes using radar. A huge issue with the main water coming into my house last year reslulted in fiding out that the city had the 'pounds per pressure' (?) turned up almost double than what was necessary.

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