The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order allowing Maryland ratepayers to permanently opt out of having a smart meter put on their dwelling. This is a great victory for choice in the State of Maryland, and MSMA greatly appreciates the willingness of the PSC to respond to the needs of Maryland ratepayers.
While Maryland Smart Meter Awareness (MSMA) is pleased to see that no Maryland ratepayer will be forced to accept a smart meter, MSMA is still urging passage of the smart meter legislation currently being considered in Annapolis for three reasons:
- First, any of the other parties to this rate case could file an appeal and have it reversed.
- Second, the PSC is authorizing the utilities to assess each ratepayer opting out an up front fee of $75 and a monthly fee ranging from $11 to $17. This fee is in addition to the fees the ratepayers will have to pay for the smart meter program even though they will never get a smart meter. Therefore such a fee will undermine financially challenged ratepayers’ ability to opt out. Commissioner Harold Williams’ dissent recognized this problem.
- Third, the PSC order does not protect the privacy of Maryland ratepayers in any way. Thus the only way to protect Marylanders is with this legislation.
The four smart meter bills are as follows:
- Senate Bill 280, sponsored by Verna Jones-Rodwell, seeks to protect the public from utilities’ disclosure of smart meter data to third parties.
- Senate Bill 880, sponsored by Senator Delores Kelley, seeks to provide a legislative opt out to any Maryland resident, school or business that does not want a smart meter.
- House Bill 331, like Senate Bill 280, seeks to protect the public from utilities’ disclosure of smart meter data to third parties.
- House Bill 332, like Senate Bill 880, seeks to provide a permanent legislative opt out to any Maryland resident, school or business that does not want a smart meter. Delegate Glen Glass is sponsoring both House bills and is joined by over 50 co-sponsors on each bill.
Please plan on attending the hearings to show your support – call your legislators – we must keep the pressure on them to serve the public and not the utilities!
Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, March 4th and Thursday, March 6th.