Legislative Activity Opposing Smart Meters
As you know, smart meters are mandatory for utility customers in most states. California, Nevada, and Maine Public Service Commissions have adopted opt-out programs. During the most recent legislative session, smart meter opt-out bills have circulated through state legislatures in Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
In Georgia, SB 459 passed the Senate but was defeated in the House on March 30. Over 2.2 million of 2.3 million smart meters have been deployed in this state. However, in an article in the Savannah Morning News on March 26, Georgia Power spokesman said if those remaining customers want to retain their analog meters, they will not be replaced with smart meters. Find current information about smart meters in Georgia at http://www.stopsmartmetersgeorgia.org.
Two bills were introduced in the Michigan legislature. HB 5439 provides incentives for having a smart meter and disincentives for opting out. There is a $50 smart meter removal fee; however, this bill does not allow monthly fees imposed on those retaining an analog meter. HB 5411 does not address fees, but requires utilities to allow customers to reject a smart meter, remove a previously installed smart meter from a home, and refrain from selling smart meter data to a third party. For the latest updates in Michigan, go to http://www.w4ar.com/Smart-Meters.html and www.michiganstopsmartmeters.com.
Bill 878 was introduced by Delegate Glass at the Maryland General Assembly - Economic Matters Committee, but was defeated. However, the Maryland Public Service Commission will hold a hearing on an opt-out program on May 22. Both the Center for Safer Wireless and Maryland Smart Meter Awareness testified in favor of the bill and will testify on May 22.
Case No. 9207 and 9208 will be heard on May 22 at 10:00 AM - Baltimore Gas and Electric Company - In the Matter of the Authorization to Deploy a Smart Grid Initiative and to Establish a Surcharge Mechanism for the Recovery of Costs [Legislative-Style Hearing] - 16th Floor Hearing Room, 6 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD. Before: En Banc. Written comments must be received by Friday, April 6, so please plan to attend and send your comments.
Read and follow these full instructions. An original, 17 two-sided paper copies, and one electronic copy, of the comments must be submitted to: David J. Collins, Executive Secretary, Maryland Public Service Commission, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul Street, 16th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Five of the paper copies should be three-hole punched. The electronic copy can be filed via the "e-file" system at the Commission's website, www.psc.state.md.us.
In the state of Pennsylvania, HB 2188 was introduced. The bill has one simple paragraph about smart meter opt out which states, "Customers may request opt-out of smart meter technology under subparagraph iii by notifying in writing the electric distribution company. Meters for customers who opt out will be replaced according to a useful life depreciation schedule." You can track the bill at http://tinyurl.com/blpchum
On Friday, March 23, the Vermont Senate passed bill S 214 that would require the Vermont Department of Public Service to study smart meter removal costs, analog meter reading fees and produce a report by March 1, 2013. The Vermont Department of Public Service, which represents the public in proceedings before the Vermont Public Service Board, is generally supportive of an opt-out program. Telecommunications Director- Jim Porter said in an interview with the Vermont Digger that once the meters are fully deployed in April 2013, utilities should assess the costs of reading analog meters and tailor a fee for those who opt-out of smart meters. Because of filings by Central Vermont Public Service Corporation and Green Mountain Power with the Vermont Public Service Board, citizens in these service areas of Vermont will be able to opt-out of smart meter installations until at least April 2013. The fee won't be decided until 2013. No final decision about opt-out, privacy, or cyber security have been issued by the Vermont Public Service Board. For more information, go to www.wakeupoptout.org
In response to a lawsuit filed against Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, the utility announced it will "indefinitely defer" smart meter installations for customers opposed to them. The lawsuit is similar to the suit filed by Naperville Smart Meter Awareness in December 2011 which asked for a permanent injunction against the mandatory installation of smart meters in Naperville, IL. For more information on the news in Kauai, go to
Four ten-person complaints about the costs associated with a Maine opt-out program were consolidated. Negotiations broke down resulting in the Public Utilities Commission determining that those who select opt outs will be charged a $40 initial fee and $12 monthly fee.
Ed Friedman filed another compliant that he is taking to the Maine Supreme Court. On May 7th oral arguments will be held in the Friedman case. You have permission to use his brief on your website or to support your educational materlals.
The Washington, DC Office of the People's Counsel requested the Washington, DC Public Service Commission to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of an opt-out program for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. In February 2012, the PSC announced that that no investigation was necessary. In response, on March 19, 2012, the Office of the People's Counsel filed an application for reconsideration in case 1065 arguing that the PSC is not fulfilling its public interest obligation.
Residents of Wisconsin want state legislation preserving their right to retain their analog meters. A sample letter to state delegates requesting this legislation can be found at: http://firstdonoharmblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/wisconsin-smart-meter-opt-out.html
Here's a video about rejecting smart meters for Wisconsin citizens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReliT1aMTiA&feature=youtu.b