Through a Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) request, Maryland Smart Meter Awareness was able to obtain a list of complaints submitted to the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) about wireless smart electric and gas meters. The list of 301 complaints represents only the amount that the PSC was able to redact in two hours. Below is a small sampling taken from these 301 smart meter complaints. Out of respect for customers’ privacy, we have altered the wording slightly while trying to represent, as accurately as possible, the original complaint.
38-After a smart meter was installed on home, customer began to receive unusual electric bills. Customer decided to “monitor” the household utility bills. Every month the bill was unusual showing a two, three or four fold increase over previous years. Home has efficient new windows, new doors, new roof, new appliances, new heat pump and furnace with programmable thermostat. There are two fulltime working adults and one child living in the home.
39—Following smart meter installation, customer’s electric bill was 10 times higher than the year before during the same month. Customer says this is nearly impossible in a 990 square foot unit that is mostly unoccupied.
47—Smart meter installed and the electric bill tripled. Smart meter was checked and “tested accurate.”
98—Customer spent five months trying to get BGE to remove a smart meter that had been installed despite numerous communications from customer requesting an opt out. After a smart meter was installed, the customer’s first bill was $1,200. The customer received a Home Energy Report from BGE that said he was using 450% more energy than his neighbors. When the utility rep finally came to investigate and remove the smart meter, he told the customer there was no way the he could be using that much power even though the meter appeared to be working properly. The house doesn’t even have a furnace. Customer did not pay for overbilling and when another BGE rep came to cut his/her service, instead of doing so, the rep advised the home owner to contact the PSC. Customer is still disputing a $2,100 overcharge.
129—Following the installation of a smart meter, the average monthly electric bill for 2014 increased 4 times the average usage from the same period in 2013. The home is heated by propane and there have been no additions to the home excepting newly installed energy efficient windows and doors. During the past three months, since the smart meter was installed, the average usage has been 1925 kwh as compared to 503 kwh in 2013. Twenty-four days after the smart meter was installed, there was a reading that showed a 581% increase in energy usage. The meter was tested by BGE and they sent a letter to the effect that it was working properly. BGE said a “High Bill Investigation” would be conducted within 60 days. Customer is still waiting and asks the PSC for an explanation as to why there has been such a drastic increase in electric bills after the smart meter installation.
139—Without any prior notification, BGE installed a smart meter on home. Customer’s bills jumped from an average of $141.40 to $872.71 a month–the highest bill being $1,272.65. According to BGE, bill (post smart meter) was 681% higher than comparable energy efficient homes. Customer has new water heater, energy efficient HVAC system, and new heat pump for oil heating. Following first complaint, BGE technician came out to house and confirmed that the smart meter was counting at a rate he considered to be very high for the size of the house and the equipment installed. Customer then sent certified letter to PSC and BGE requesting the smart meter be removed. Two months later, the case was closed; the customer was told that the meter was accurate and that the increase was due to change of temperature and customer’s old heating equipment. Smart meter has still not been removed.
155—“During a power outage in 2012, I was standing 25 yards from a smart meter when power was restored. The meter literally exploded. I have pictures of the remnants to substantiate this claim. Based on this experience I opted out of the PEPCO smart meter program….I can provide pictures of the burned out smart meter.” Customer also asks why he should pay fees to opt out (which according to PEPCO are for meter readers) when 70% of his bills last year were estimated.
168—Customer reports that their new smart meter was recording a 1,500% increase in average usage over the average for the previous two years. The condo is unoccupied except for the summer months. The “subject bill” was for a reading when the condo was unoccupied and the heat turned down. The electric company will not admit there is an error and is threatening to turn off the power.
171—Customer lives in a 14 X 70 mobile home and was used to paying under $100 a month for electricity. After a smart meter was installed, customer’s bill jumped to $300 a month. The customer is feeling overwhelmed by his/her inability to pay the bills and is afraid the power will be shut off.
189—Customer gives details of a situation that shows the $886.37 utility bill is an inexplicable increase over the prior two months. The most noteworthy detail of this complaint is that there were daily spikes in usage at 6:00 am when the family is still sleeping and the thermostat was not set to change temperature until 7:00 am. The family kept the thermostat at 65 degrees during the day and had to wear very heavy clothing to tolerate the indoor temperature.
207—Customer reports bills tripling since installation of smart meter. Customer can also trace health issues back to when the smart meter was installed. Customer has requested that the smart meter be replaced with an old style analog meter. S/he had to make numerous calls before the utility came out to replace the smart meter , but the new meter given was not an analog meter. Customer asked to have this replacement meter exchanged for an analog meter but was told by the utility that there were none available. After calling again and waiting for 45 minutes on the phone, the utility rep said they had some in the shop and would come back out to install an analog meter. The meter was replaced with a digital non ERT meter and customer still does not have an analog meter.
227—Delmarva customer complains that family’s utility bill increased after a smart meter was installed. A technician was sent out to the house and confirmed that the meter was spinning too fast. Customer had read about the potential for fires and “phantom readings” from smart meters and was concerned about the possibility of the meter overheating as it is located in the sun. So customer asked to have the smart meter removed. After a “regular meter” was reinstalled, customer’s readings went back to normal.
235—After smart meter installation, customer’s usage jumped from 3400 KWH ($500) to 4200 to 5300 and bills increased accordingly. Delmarva said it was due to customer usage and the cold temperatures. Customer had “energy pro” come out and give them advice which they followed. They changed light bulbs, the shower head, kept the thermostat to 68/69, wrapped their water heater and had their heating and AC checked out. Instead of a decrease, their next bill was $621. They asked their neighbor, who still had an analog meter, if their bills had increased as well during this same time period. The neighbor’s bills had not increased. Customer had the smart meter removed.
239—Customer received a smart meter and bills increased from roughly $300-$400 to $1100-$1400. Customer says the family’s energy usage did not change except “perhaps a bit more heat on some days.” Customer had energy efficient heating both before and after new meter was installed. Delmarva technician came out to home not long after the new smart meter was installed to “fix something”. While there, the technician noted that there was no reason for the customer’s bills to be so high. Customer cannot afford this, has small children, and Delmarva has already cut off their electricity once before in 12 degree weather. Customer asserts s/he does not use this much energy.
242—Vacant house, up for sale, went from 41-58 kwh in the past year to 266 kwh the month after a smart meter was installed. Customer is extremely upset and questions accuracy of the smart meter.
254— Following smart meter installation, the usage as recorded on the bills, jumped from 3.3 kwh to 50 kwh. Customer is rarely home and says nothing has changed that should increase the kilowatt hour so significantly. Customer’s meter was tested and according to the utility company, was accurate.
284–Customer’s bill increased with smart meter. After smart meter was removed the usage returned to normal. Customer would like to be reimbursed for the overcharges.
285—Customer’s bill went from $200 to $685 per month without a change in usage behavior. Last Dec. 12 the customer’s bill was 1021 kwh and this year, Dec. 13, it was 3022 kwh.
287—Customer experienced increases in electric bills and so checked with neighbors to see if they had similar experiences. According to customer, all of their utility bills had increased 2 to 2.5 percent since installation of a smart meter.