The Maryland Senate Finance Committee and House Economic Matters Committee will be holding hearings regarding four bills that address smart meter problems on March 4th and March 6th. Since the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) May 2012 order # 84926 allowing meter installation deferrals, approximately 30,000 Maryland ratepayers have requested a deferral. In addition, another 175,000 with indoor analog meters have refused the utilities access to those meters. A Public Service Commission January 7, 2013 order #85294 states that if a permanent opt out is permitted that those customers opting out would pay an extra fee. Such a fee, unless very small, eliminates choice for Marylanders, all of whom are currently required to pay for smart meters, whether they have one or not. The proposed legislation seeks to secure a permanent opt out option, addresses privacy concerns, and fee issues.
Senate Bill 280, sponsored by Senator 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 permanent opt out to any Maryland resident, school or business that does not want a smart meter. Both Senate Bills will be heard on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. 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 opt out option for Maryland homeowners, schools and businesses. Delegate Glen Glass is sponsoring both House bills and is joined by over 50 co-sponsors on each bill. Both House Bills will be heard on Thursday, March 6, 2014.
Maryland Smart Meter Awareness (MSMA) urges all Maryland residents to support these bills. It is only fair that customers be given a choice whether to have a smart meter. MSMA President Jonathan Libber stated “Analysis of existing deployments reveals more benefit to the utilities and almost no benefit to the customer. These wireless smart meters are jeopardizing privacy, health and safety of every man, woman and child living in the Pepco, Delmarva Power and Light, BGE and SMECO service areas.”