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Pepco and BGE Talk About a Smart Meter Opt-Out

Electric companies consider offering opt-out policies for smart meters—but not for free.

Making room for a potential customer opt-out from smart meters, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), Pepco, and Delmarva Power outlined potential opt-out plans at a recent public hearing on the topic, according to a Maryland Gazette report by Sara Blumberg.

BGE executives proposed a plan that would let customers pay their way out of the program. But those who want to keep their existing, analog meters would have to pay a $50 one-time fee. Plus they'd get a monthly fee—anwhere from $10 to $60—Wayne Harbaugh, director of pricing and regulator services at BGE said during the Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing Tuesday, the Gazette reported.

As electric companies move forward in their efforts to install smart meters in homes and businesses across Maryland, some customers worry that

But Pepco says the meters do not pose a health risk. Pepco and Delmarva Power support the position that RF exposure from smart meters is far below and less frequent than other common electric devices, such as cell phones and baby monitors.

The problem with smart meters is not just their radio frequency radiation levels, it is the chronic continual nature of their transmissions, according to Kate Kheel, Vice President of Maryland Smart Meter Awareness.

When smart meters are in a communication period with Pepco, they relay , according to an April 9 letter from Pepco to the D.C. Office of People's Counsel.

But the communication periods are so brief that Pepco's website states individual smart meters are idle 99 percent of the time.

Customers showed up and spoke out at the PSC hearing—to the tune of more than 120 people who came, voicing concerns that smart meter technology presents a health hazard and would infringe on their privacy, according to the Gazette report. At times they shouted out their disapproval, the Gazette's report noted.

Many also said that the electric companies should cover opt-out costs—after all customers didn't ask to get smart meters. 

“I bought a cellphone, I bought an iPad, I chose to do those things. I wasn’t asked if I wanted a smart meter in my home,” said Millersville resident Traci Radice, according to the report.

Commissioners questioned the cost estimates, asking how much an opt-out program would cost the companies as well as the consumer, the report states.

The PSC denied requests to put a moratorium on the meters, but agreed to investigate the possibility of an opt-out plan, according to the Maryland Gazette report. The commission plans to rule in a month, the report stated.

CP Resident May 24, 2012 at 07:02 PM
There is NO HEALTH RISK from smart meters. Shame on Patch for even giving lunatics like Maryland Smart Meter Awareness a platform for their ill-informed paranoia. For more information see http://gigaom.com/cleantech/smart-meters-are-not-a-health-risk-the-end/ No credible scientific study has found any link at all between cancer and Radio Frequency (RF) emissions. There is no known mechanism in the world that could allow RF energy to do anything to a living cell beyond some localized heating (notice how your cell phone gets hot?) So-called "experts" like crackpot David Carpenter can always be found. I'd be willing to bet that every one of these people who are worried about their smart meters carry a cell phone with them, which emits far more RF radiation and still has not been found to cause any health issues. Finally, one more point - the Millersville resident claimes that "I wasn't asked if I wanted a smart meter in my home". No, and you are free to opt out of having a smart meter - just call up Pepco or BGE and have them discontinue your electrical service, they will be happy to remove their equiment. Of course, good luck maintaining a residence without a source of electricity!
Michael Theis May 24, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Thanks for the information. However, though you classify them as "lunatics", their advocacy has a state regulatory body investigating an opt-out plan. That is itself newsworthy. Plus, a casual reading of the article reveals several counterarguments to the RF-radiation-causes-cancer line presented by skeptics.
Barbara Dunkley June 11, 2012 at 04:20 AM
There are many and various reasons why so-called 'smart' meters pose risks to human health. Please take a look at a YouTube video called 'Smart' Meters? - Not in Our Homes & Backyards posted by eon3 on November 1, 2010 to become better informed on this issue. We need to be able to opt out of installing these new meters.
M. Sullivan June 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM
There are other issues with these "Smart Meters": 1) There have been numerous fires and damage to electrical equipment due to faulty smart meters or their installation in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. 2) Right now, utilities can only monitor monthly usage, and can change their rates accordingly. If they can monitor hourly usage, they can change rates hourly. At least one study has shown electric bills have risen in 80% of new smart meter installations. 3) The Federal government is only paying part of the cost of Smart Meter installation, we will be paying the rest. The existing meter technology is cheap, safe and reliable. If you wanted to measure your time-of-day usage, there are plenty of aftermarket products available. The only ones benefiting from Smart Meters are the utilities. We should not be forced to accept and pay for this new technology that is of dubious value at best and is a potential hazard at worst.
Ed James June 14, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Speaking of other issues, I've been wondering how long it'll be before some "hacker" figures how to "pwn" the Smart Meter system, turn off the power supplied via thousands of meters, and then disable them so the PEPCO "Mother Ship" can't reset them. But then, I'm sure some expert somewhere has certified that this can't happen.
Bailey Henneberg June 18, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I hadn't thought of that one. Scary.
George Karadimas June 29, 2012 at 07:04 PM
While the technocrats are fighting it out among themselves. We the "ratepayers" get stuck with antique technology before it even gets rolled out by BGE and Pepco Folks read the highlights below. This is from the horse's Mouth, that you can quote in your posts and expositions, and can not be blasted for being a "smart meter Kook"! And remember, all I wanted to do was to turn a light bulb on at night so I can see! Why does it have to be so complicated?? http://www.grid-net.com/smarter-grid "Mesh-based metering systems promise the barely adequate delivery of six-hour-old data to the utility and day-old data to their consumers. Furthermore, today’s Advanced Metering (AMI) and Demand Response (DR) applications are typically proprietary and stand-alone implementations, which makes them costly to integrate into the back office and even more difficult to coordinate in the field. Security is almost always an afterthought. Needless to say, this approach is ill-prepared and insufficient for the demands of an always-on smarter grid."
George Karadimas July 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM
It all depends where and how far you want to look, or turn a blind eye. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31891 And http://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/?page_id=128
Melody Maiser July 18, 2012 at 02:52 PM
PEPCO and BGE are insane for trying to take over people lives. I need every customer to opt to show them that you can not get mad at us, because of the previous storm criticism and the hefty fine they received,that will trickle down to us!
George Karadimas July 23, 2012 at 08:39 PM
State study links cellphone use to cancer http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Local%20News/071412emf-ac Smart Meters are Next?
Jaclyn Gregory August 16, 2012 at 03:57 AM
But apparently they can cause fires. http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/19289039/peco-halts-smart-meter-installation-program#.UCxNmtghRs1.facebook
George Karadimas August 21, 2012 at 04:17 PM
The Sensus Inc IconA smart meter is a Known FIRE STARTER http://marylandsmartmeterawareness.org/smart-meter-news/don-baker-a-sensus-engineering-employee-filed-a-complaint-with-direct-personal-knowledge-that-these-alabama-smart-meters-were-defective-and-dangerous/ Learn all about it here http://stopsmartmeters.org/2012/01/20/meters-that-endanger-shocking-details-from-a-whistleblower/
Traci M. Radice August 26, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Folks - the day this was published the SC ordered that customers can DEFER installations of smart meters pending its decision on opting out. Visit http://marylandsmartmeterawareness.org/opt-out-news/option-to-defer-smart-meters/ and learn how to defer today! If you got a smart meter, Ou can still ask for a deferral... do it TODAY. The PSC is holding an emergency hearing on Aug 28th so the utilities can discuss their devices being installed and whether they are known to malfunction, overheat and cause fires.
Traci M. Radice August 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Public Service Commission called an emergency hearing on Tues., Aug. 28th at 2pm to hear from the utilities as to their smart meter devices and their malfunctions, power surges, and fires. Any concerned citizen should plan to attend: William Donald Schaefer Tower 6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor Baltimore, MD 21202 File a dispute (410) 767-8000 MD Toll Free: 1-800-492-0474 TTY Users call via Maryland Relay 1-800-201-7165 Directions to the Commission http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/intranet/AboutUs/directions_new.cfm
James October 01, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Everyone should switch over to solar or other alternative power sources. It's outrageous to suggest a $50 charge and $10 to $60 dollar monthly fee. You might as well just install solar panels. That will fix those greedy companies. There are so many options out there. Wind, solar, hydro-cell, gas generators. With technology today, solar cells are increasing in efficiency and are well worth the upfront costs. Also, a great selling feature when your house is already outfitted for alternative energy. So if they what to play games we will find cheaper more resourceful alternatives.
Mike Pierce January 09, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Another example of "the sky is falling". The article quotes one of the "chicken-littles' as saying "The problem with smart meters is not just their radio frequency radiation levels, it is the chronic continual nature of their transmissions," That's pretty much what a cell phone does, except that it is right next to your head, meaning the power is thousands of times stronger.
George Karadimas January 10, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Mike Pierce, It is true that the Cell Phone by virtue of being next to your ear is RF radiating you possibly one thousand times worse, BUT then Who are YOU or I to determine which level of RF power, frequency , or Modulation is needed to produce adverse health effects? What I tell people here you have a known RF radiating Bio-hazard and then, the damn thing rings and what do you do? You Pick it up, you turn it on and then YOU stick it in your EAR! Now I ask you! HOW SMART IS THAT?? Information is being published as we speak, and here is the latest for those that care to know and protect themselves as best as they can, Bioinitiative 2012 http://www.bioinitiative.org/ and to make it easier for folks to find the pertinent data of concern go here http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/rf-color-charts/
George Karadimas February 18, 2013 at 11:33 PM
VOX POPULI..Let them hear Us Loud and Clear! "Dear MSMA Member, Because we realize some of you do not have enough time to go on line and download a letter to your delegates, we are making it very easy for you to get involved. While letters and face-to-face meetings are much more effective, signing the petition below is much simpler and will have some impact. The petition urges your Maryland Delegates to support the NO FEE OPT OUT House Bill 1038 introduced by Delegate Glenn Glass. Please by all means feel free to forward this message to any non MSMA member who might respond favorably. Click on the link below to add your name. http://signon.org/sign/maryland-house-bill-1038?source=c.fwd&r_by=7048862 Jonathan Libber, President Maryland Smart Meter Awareness" http://tinyurl.com/HB1038
Linda Corcoran April 03, 2013 at 02:19 AM
I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you on the phone or in person to discuss the FACT that my 15 year old honor student, varsity athlete became ill to the point I had to wake her up on Christmas! Her illness, and my husband's A-Fib, began days after the installation of our smart meter. When I wrote to BGE to have it removed, and listed my reasons why, I received no hesitation. Clearly, BGE is aware of the health hazards! I am not a lunatic. I am a very rational, responsible citizen that had a sick family and no explanation for 3 months until I learned of the illnesses that were reported due to smart meters. My meter was removed and my child shortly thereafter was back to normal. Her joy returned and I got my daughter back!!! My husband, however, continues to be in A-Fib. He too has been through tests, hospital stays and multiple expensive medications - all in vane! He is very healthy, all other tests show no heart disease, no blood clots. He developed A-Fib and there is no medical reason why!
George Karadimas April 03, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Bailey..........it is called acting with forethought! Do your research regarding the Smart GRID/Meter by reading industry articles! It becomes clear that the mandate is GRAB the Stimulus Money NOW and we will figure it out somehow in the long run! and all will come out in the wash! And.............The ratepayers will suffer the consequences and foot the Bill!

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