Maryland Smart Meter Awareness Files Motion of Reconsideration with PSC

Jonathan Libber, president of Maryland Smart Meter Awareness (MSMA) today filed a motion for reconsideration with the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) regarding its opt out Order of February 26th.  Although the Order provided Maryland ratepayers the right to officially opt out from having a smart meter installed on their homes, MSMA submits that BGE, Pepco, Delmarva Power & Light and SMECO never justified their claim for substantial opt out fees. MSMA was the only involved party that raised very strenuous objections to the cost analyses presented to the PSC by the utilities.  Following the hearing where MSMA showed how defective the cost proposals were, the four utilities all sent confidential cost breakdowns to the Commission and excluded MSMA from that filing.  The parties failed to even provide MSMA notice that this was being done.  That breakdown of costs became the basis of the PSC’s Order in regard to the substantial opt out fees it approved for each utility.  While the information in question was business confidential, MSMA had a confidentiality agreement in place with SMECO since last year, and could have easily completed ones for BGE, Pepco and Delmarva.

MSMA is essentially asking the PSC for a chance to review this material and comment on it.  In the alternative, the motion asks the PSC to consider these costs as part of the base rate proceeding for the smart meter program. This would potentially suspend the final decision on opt out fees for 18 months and allow MSMA to more effectively argue for more realistic fees.

9 Responses to Maryland Smart Meter Awareness Files Motion of Reconsideration with PSC

  1. Linda Hilt June 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I am appalled that big congomerate utilitity companies such as Pepco continue to find ways to make their profit line higher. I had the smart meter removed a week after it was installed. My electric bill spiked to almost twice the usual cost. I suppose there were fees hidden in that as well. Whatever happened to de-regulation? Whose pocket is being lined? A year after having the smart meter removed, I now get a coersive letter indicating I will receive a $90 charge spread over the next three months plus a $17 charge to pay an employee to a job he was already being paid for! Hello-REALLY! Where did American go? The big bad utilities can stick it to the American people knowing electricity is a necessary evil and I emphasize the word NECESSARY!

    I have not heard one positive thing about the smart meter nor have I seen any statics that the process is tried and trued.

    Hello? Is anyone out there listening?

  2. Matt Logan April 24, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    It is just extremely disheartening that we live in a world when large companies have the ability to bully and abuse their costumers. Being a relatively middle class citizen, I strongly feel over the years I have lost rights and choices with large corporations. Companies such as DPL basically forced their costumers to have smart-meters. I have large concerns with my smart meter and the penalty placed on a costumer for opting out. My current electric bill has almost doubled since the installation of a smart meter. I asked for it to be removed, but a different type of digital meter was installed. DPL states is a analog meter with a digital display? That makes absolutely no sense.

    When I called and stayed on hold for 25 minutes, the company basically stated there was nothing I could do. I complained to the BBB and have made little progress. Now I am looking at $75.00 and $17.00 per month just to have a non smart meter. This is a bit extreme! They are going to charge me $17.00 per month to read my meter and most months they will just estimate. (That should be prohibited).

    It is a sad time when you always work hard, pay your bills on time and the minute you have a disagreement you are basically told to bad to sad and get punished by the company. On top of the smart meter DPL is also raising their rates!

    There are few things in life I am willing to fuss over. One is my family, their safety, and my right for privacy. However, I have to face the financial impact on my home. With higher bills this opt out fee is just plain unfair! I have no other companies to chose from that don’t affiliate with DPL. I live on the boarder of VA and their power company Chop tank allows costumers to read their own meters! Why would MD be so different. Why are the companies so unwilling to work with the same people that provided them with their prophet!

    On top of DPLs smart meter! I was part of the so called energy rewards program to help save money. Being responsible, I thought I was doing my part to be green and help lower my costs. Instead I got a improperly installed thermostat that cost me even more money and likely was the cause of my heat pump failing.

    The working person at some point needs to stand up for their right of choice, privacy, and safety. Smart-meters are smart for the company, but very disabling for the customer.

    In doing research other countries have class action law suits against smart-meters and have been band in some cases.

    The bottom line is I am not against smart-meters for those people who are not worried about their bills and have endless amounts of money to spend. I am against the choice not to have one without silly fees. I should have the right to have a radiation free home or as close to it if I choose without being punished by our government or corporations.

    • sueann April 24, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

      Matt: The other depravity regarding the fees, which many people do not even realize, is that on the back of everyone’s current bill is a ‘customer charge’ of $7.50. Part of this $7.50 goes to pay for the meter reader to come to your house and read your meter. Therefore, now, with the additional $11 lifetime monthly fee, BGE is shamefully DOUBLE-DIPPING.,…or perhaps a better word is ROBBING us, where it pertains to meter reading. Every Marylander who chooses to opt out, should be calling the MD PSC and DEMANDING that BGE at least reduce that ‘customer charge’, until such time as they either recognize the fees are abusive, or, we who will be standing up to them through legislative efforts, are successful in forcing them to rescind the fees. You are exactly right, we all should have the right to have a radiation free home without being punished and penalized by utilities and government. The simple fact is that NO company has the right to FORCE any customer to accept a new product. What if Apple did that with their next iPhone? They would not stay in business very long. But bizarrely enough, our Maryland Public DIS-service Commission allowed and supported the utilities in doing exactly that. Worse yet, in our first (but certainly not our last) appeal to Maryland legislators to intervene on behalf of Maryland citizens, these ‘leaders’ failed miserably….by throwing us under the bus. But rest assured, we will be like the Everready bunny. We will not quit until our rights are restored.

    • Sonia R. April 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

      As citizens, we all have to accept some responsibility for current political and economic situation. First, too many Americans do not scrutinize Bills before Congress and their State Legislature. Even those who are aware, sit back and expect all to be handled by some other citizen(s), so they do not call their legislators by rationalizing that their input will make no difference. In fact, their input WOULD MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE! Too many legislators commented that they have not heard of any objections to the smart meters from their constituents, so they did not feel it was an issue.

      For those who have not been following the smart meter issue carefully, they may have missed that there seems to be a “cooperative coercive” relationship of both PSC and utilities against the ratepayers. BGE installers have outright lied to many ratepayers who caught them in the act of exchanging out the meters by telling them the smart meters are mandatory. During 2013, ratepayers had a legal right to defer installation of smart meters. Currently, the PSC has granted a permanent Opt Out of installation of SMs, but has levied coercive fees to “discourage” Opt Out, all the while keeping from the ratepayers who accept the SMs that in the long run they will be paying more overall for that choice, since the SMs are electronic equipment, very sensitive to extremes of heat and cold (if they are on the outside of the home) and that they will also need replacement every so many years, which will results in charges for product and installation to the SM ratepayers. An Analog Meter lasts longer than 30 yrs. w/no maintenance required in most cases. The infrastructure system for Analog is already developed, whereas the SM had to be developed.

      Also, those Opting Out are still going to have to pay any rate hikes for pay for the smart meter costs! Talk about illegal! How can a commercial interest charge people for a product they don’t have?? Yet the PSC is approving this. Getting the picture?

      Claims of saving money are bogus, as you have already discovered. Claims of saving energy are really up to the ratepayer and their behavior patterns…that is, until the utilities start turning off your appliances if you are non-compliant w/usage recommendations; and there is also the anticipated tiered rate system that will further drive costs upward. It is very sly insanity.

      If you do have concerns about your family’s health, note that even if you Opt Out, you will still receive your neighbors’ radiation and that is why it is so necessary for everyone to be made aware and for them to VOICE OBJECTIONS TO THE SMART METERS TO THE PSC, THEIR UTILITIES AND MOST IMPORTANT, TO THEIR LEGISLATORS.

      We can still make a difference. Most people don’t exercise their power because they believe they don’t have any. Collectively, though, we can regain our rights!

  3. Joanne Cafiero April 21, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    This is from the American Cancer Society regarding the radiation from Smart Meters. I would appreciate comment on this link. Thank you.

    • Sueann April 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

      To Joann: I am a cancer survivor and this info from the ACS does not satisfy my concerns whatsoever, since there are thousands of studies and reports indicating RF emissions do, indeed, have negative affects on health. Also, I personally witnessed the BGE project leader (Mr. Butts) admit twice in public testimony that “there has been no health testing done on smart meters”. I am frankly appalled at the ACS for such an irresponsible publication, which makes me question their true motive. I opted out over a year ago and have no intention of ever letting them put a device on my home which has not been PROVEN to be harmless, so I will be paying their extortion fees until we are successful in getting our rights restored in that regard.

    • Sonia R. April 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      You also may want to research whether any utilities are big contributors to the ACS. That might explain a few things.

  4. Jess March 31, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    So! Why doesn’t the Energy Co.,since their so beyond reproach and everything being equal for the gander as well as the goose, have everyone call in or email their readings each month. It would eliminate all this smart meter crap and save a ton of operating cost for the company? Oh! they don’t trust us but it’s not OK for US to distrust them, is it? AND……..since they’re a monopoly for profit and not like it used to be…a non profit monopoly, it’s OK for them to cram their crap down our throats.

    • Sonia R. April 25, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

      Currently, BGE has an exhibit on the advantages of Smart Meter technology on display at the Science Center. That is the first time I have ever heard of an exhibit by a for-profit vested interest corporation being allowed to display a profit-generating product in the Science Center. Conflict of Interest? You decide.

      If you object to this, you may want to voice that objection to the Science Center and to the PSC, State of Maryland, Letter to the Editor of Newspapers, etc.

      Meanwhile, you could research if BGE is a big contributor to the Science Center. That might explain a few things.

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