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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.

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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