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Regarding Utilities’ Imposed Opt Out Fees

As you may have heard, on February 26th, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) finally agreed to allow Maryland ratepayers to opt out of getting smart meters.  This was a major, hard-fought victory as the PSC was initially dead set against anyone opting out.  But the PSC tacked on opt out fees for each ratepayer opting out.   While these fees are unjustified, and we will continue to fight them, accepting a smart meter will not necessarily mean you will be ahead financially.  Smart meters are probably more precise than analog meters, but the complex system supporting the smart meters is probably responsible for a large number of skyrocketing smart meter based bills.  (In one case we are familiar with, the bill went from $300 a month to $2,000 a month in Baltimore County.)  MSMA sent the PSC a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) recently, and the PSC sent us information on 80 written complaints about skyrocketing bills.  It also told us that it did not include all the telephone and e-mail complaints it received on this subject.  The Pennsylvania equivalent to the PSC received over 1,200 billing complaints just from smart meter customers of the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO).

So while we are going to have to pay the utilities ‘protection’ money to be left alone,  accepting a smart meter may not result in a lower bill at the end of the day.  And keep in mind, we still need to be worried about the thousands of intense pulses of radiation emitted from smart meters every day and potential invasions of privacy.   So our advice is to pay the fees but help us fight these outrageous and unfair fees by joining our organization (free) on our website and contributing funds to support our efforts.   In the meantime, if you want to write a letter of complaint about these fees, I would direct it to:

W. Kevin Hughes, Chairman
Maryland Public Service Commission
William Donald Schaefer Tower
6 St. Paul Street, 16th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

I would also send copies to your elected representatives in Annapolis to let them know how you feel.  If you need to figure out their names and addresses, information on how to find them is on our website: www.marylandsmartmeterawareness.org  Take a look at the main article on the Legislative Campaign.  While that campaign is over, scroll down to the section called: Determining Who Your Elected Representatives Are.  There is a link that will help you figure out the names and addresses of each of your state and federal elected representatives.  Please feel free to call me if you need any further advice.  I can be reached at (410) 358-4616 or e-mail at jlibber@gmail.com

Jonathan Libber, President
Maryland Smart Meter Awareness

23 Responses to Regarding Utilities’ Imposed Opt Out Fees

  1. Iris Yu July 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Sorry, I gave in to avoid the outrageous fees for the actual reading hardly performed. But the Pepco nightmare didn’t end. Here’s my story with hilarious pepco bills, if you’re interested.

    http://mountainofjoy.net/2014/07/24/hilarious-electrical-bills/

    • Dave August 28, 2014 at 6:42 am #

      I found your site and I’m happy to see I’m not alone!
      I’m getting hammered by Delmarva Power. I have two meters. House and garage. They are hitting me twice! $75 for each meter and $17 a month for each meter! I’m a truck driver and spend more time away from home than I am there. The opt out fees are more than my utility usage! I’ve contacted Rep Andy Harris, State Senator Colburn, the Utility Commission and Delmarva Power about a million times? What can they do if I refuse to pay the fee? Can I have the meters removed and go off grid. I’m thinking about that. Is that legal? I don’t even have a choice on my own property. I so disgusted! Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. L Michele July 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    David, I would be willing if I can get enough people interested in trying to file a class action suit against all Maryland power companies.

  3. Sally Raw June 19, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    They have called me at least 4 times trying to convince me to change to smart meter.
    I think we have them by their pimping balls or ovaries.

  4. Susan A. May 31, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    I got my opt-out letter in March 31, 2014. It says I will be charged opt-out fees of $36/month for 3 months (total of $108) plus $11/month starting on fourth month.

    How come everyone else seems to have an upfront cost of $75 and I have to pay upfront of $108?

    I live in Baltimore City with BGE as electric supplier.

    • Al D. July 7, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      Your opt-out fee is $36/month for 3 months ($75) PLUS the additional $11/month for those 3 months ($33) for a total of $108 (same as every other opt-out consumer that’s getting ripped off).

    • Sueann July 26, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      Susan: the $36 a month for 3 months actually does encompass both the $75 ‘up front’ fee (spread over 3 months, ie $25 x 3), as well as the $11 monthly fee that also starts at the same time, but unfortunately then continues for life, that is, until enough people complain and join MSMA in fighting back at the PSC and utilities.

  5. Sid May 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Just received a call from Delmarva power. Rep stated he was calling to verify that I had received my letter regarding the billing of the $75 in 3-$25 payments, plus the $11 increase. He then asked WHY I was opposed to the smart meter. Having worked in the Paging industry on 900Mhz transmitters (gave me a headache working on them), I know a good bit about RF radiation hazards, and particularly the 900 Mhz band. After trying to tell me it would only burst-transmit at midnight, or after a power outage, he then claimed the RF hazard was disproved by the American Cancer society via cell phone studies. Yeah, bs. I also informed him that when the PSC reverses their decision, I want my $75, plus any additional monies paid back with interest-he didn’t seem to like that. Also, when I asked him WHY i have to pay more when they will be eliminating the jobs of those meter readers, he tried claiming that those people would be ‘reabsorbed’ into other jobs within the company. I then told him-well what about the savings from your fleet of company vehicles those readers would not be usings?? No answer, as expected. DELMARVA can kiss my butt.

  6. Joanne Sonntag May 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    i feel that the $75.00 fee is totally WRONG. why should we have to pay to NOT get the new meter, it seems overkill. and the extra 11.00 a month is also WRONG. I am retired with a disabled adult son, also on a budget. my BGE bill was again this month over 300.00. What is going on, I turned off my heat for several weeks and still the bill is so high. I have never in all the years in this house since 1965 had bills as high as this year. The one bill was over 500.00. This is not acceptable. I have cut down on so many things, but it does not seem to help. What happens if when the smart meter is installed, we get a bill for over 1,000.00? there is no way I will have the money to pay for that. This frightens me terribly. I am not on any public assistance.
    But going at this rate, I probably will need to apply. and you call this America and of the people, for the people and by the people. That statement is false nowadays. it is all for corporations and Government. – not the PEOPLE. the PEOPLE need to organize and fight these fees.

  7. Percy May 12, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I can’t believe they can get away with charging for not installing something. The entire smart meter concept is backwards. If someone desires the digital vs. the analog then they should pay for an upgrade. You wouldn’t charge someone for not upgrading a computer system. Their system may be a little slower but they wouldn’t be charged for not upgrading.

    Some of my concerns are they BGE & Pepco etc. are not telling everyone about the RF frequency and radiation that is being transmitted. There has been no talk about how it can harm pets and animals. I didn’t hit the Mega Million or any other Lotto but will have to do what I can not to let them control everything within my home.

    Oh yes they will be able to control your air conditioning temp. as well as your heat etc.
    If you think they won’t you are only fooling yourself.

  8. Barbara Solomon May 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    I spoke with my meter reader this am and he says that BGE has not yet initiated the automated readings of meters and that they are in fact installing just digital meters so he the reader will still need to come and read the meter each month. OK MSMA what can we do about this apparent duplicity being carried out by BGE? Why should I pay any extra fees for reading when having an analogue or digital meter makes no difference?
    Barbara Solomon

  9. Rick Steckel April 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    I am retired. My wife and I are senior citizens living quite modestly and alone.. We have oil heat and use window air conditioners. Why do we need a Smart Meter and what is there to control? I believe we are paying handsomely for the power we use and deal well with power outages when they occur. After our meter was replaced a few years ago, we learned that it broadcasts an RF signal to passing readers for the convenience of the Utility company. So, why not leave it there and not take further advantage of the customer. We are in full view of Brandon Shores Power Plant and still experience power interruptions; sometimes for many hours. I have never received a break on my bill for this loss of service but I must pay $75 and $11/month for not having a smart meter. Real smart!

  10. George Karadimas April 22, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    All you folks that are opting out and paying the “PROTECTION” money to your respective utilities, be aware that even though you may have an “ANALOG” meter currently installed in your premises, this meter may still be fitted with an ERT (Encoder Receiver Transmitter) module which transmitts all the time at the same frequency band as a smart meter, albeit at a somewhat lower power level!

    SO…if you are gonna pay for protection insist that you get your moneys worth and insist that the utility install a TRUE ANALOG METER free of ancillary electronic gismos, beaming at you all the time because you are ignorant of the facts.

    Do not Accept a digital meter of any kind, insist that the utility install an ANALOG METER with a Merry Go Round Dial with NO ERT MODULE. That is the ONLY way to assure yourselves that you are not being RADIATED, and to get your moneys worth , because the Human METER READER will have to COME UP CLOSE and Personal to the ANALOG METER to EYE BALL it and record the Meter Reading.

    And If your ANALOG Meter, is inside your house, Schedule SEVERAL APPOINTMENTS that you fail to KEEP, to accomondate the meter reader to record a reading.

    George Karadimas

    • Robert Snyder July 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

      George Karadimas,

      How can I tell the difference between analogue and ERT module? Someone from BGE is coming out to do maintenance on the meter, now that I have refused a smart meter. They are telling me they cannot read it and must put a new part in. I am now concerned that it is the ERT module you are speaking of. Thanks in advance for any help you could give.

      Robert

  11. Pat April 21, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    I am sending the power company a reply letter with an attached lease agreement to pay me for installing a radio frequency transmitter on my my property. It is similar to a cell phone antenna tower lease agreement.

  12. Mike Farley April 14, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    You can thank all those spineless politicians, both democrats and republicans for doing absolutely nothing to help us. Just remember they will be needing your help soon. Vote them all out 2014. It’s time to clean house and put people in office that will help the people who work for a living.
    Mike Farley

    • Sueann April 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      Mike – You are right. They ALL need to go! Term limits would be the best thing for the whole state of Maryland – along with all new Md public service commissioners.

  13. HAZEL TOLER April 14, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    I just got my letter Sat. saying I can opt out for $75. This will be tacked onto my electric bill for three months in 3 installments. Also I will be paying $11 extra always until we can get this settled. But I would rather have my old meter then contend with the new Smart Meter. I figure sooner or later we will see a change and I hope it wil be for us with the analog ones.Seems people won’t believe you when one tells them about the problems with the Smart Meters. Live and Learn is my motto.

    • jkville April 15, 2014 at 10:18 am #

      Hazel,

      One simple thing we’ve done to reduce our electricity usage by approx. 20% (year to year) is turning off devices like the microwave, TV and computer before going to bed. It will at least mitigate the cost of recurring opt-out fees. Hope that helps.

      • carrie April 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

        Thanks Hazel, I agree with you about turning off the major “boxes” before going to bed.
        It will help offset the opt-out fees. Carrie

      • L Michele July 15, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

        Just got my letter today and I pity the poor fool who thinks that they can even begin to mess with my current meter. There WILL BE hell to pay. I am furious about the recurring opt out fees. I think they are illegal just because of the word recurring. Is anyone willing to try to get a class action suit going to stop all of this madness? If you think you would or know anyone who would email me at alluradana@aol.com put in the box BGE Opt Out so I will know what it is in reference to. Thanks

  14. David Goldstein April 9, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    I will not pay extortion to pepco for the priviledge of being murdered.Why don’t you (or someone!!) file a class action lawsuit against pepco?That is the action needed.

    • Dave August 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

      Count me in on that law suit!

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