Maryland PSC allows customers to defer smart meters installations

The Maryland Public Service Commission has entered an order allowing individuals who are opposed to smart meters to defer installation until the Commission issues a final, permanent order on whether to allow customers to opt out of receiving a smart meter.

The commission’s order is effective immediately and affects customers in the Baltimore Gas & Electric, Potomac Electric Power Co. and Delmarva Power service territories.

Order No. 84926, in reference to Cases 9207 and 9208, explicitly states that “the utilities shall refrain from installing a smart meter in the home or business of any customer who notifies the utility in writing that they do not wish to have a smart meter installed.” Also, customers who already have smart meters installed, but do not wish to have one may inform their utility in writing. The utility cannot activate those customers’ smart meter transmitters until the Commission issues its final decision on these issues.

The Commission also stated emphatically that “we have not reached any decision as to whether to permit the customers of the utilities in these cases to “opt-out” of receiving a smart meter permanently or, if so, what the terms of any possible future opt-out might include,” and that “[t]his Interim Order should not be read to suggest or foreshadow anything beyond the purely interim directive it contains.”

The matter of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI, or “smart meters”) has been before the Commission since 2009. After extensive proceedings, the Commission approved smart meter deployments in the BGE and Pepco territories in 2011 and in the Delmarva Power territory in 2012.

A hearing and opportunity to comment on opt-out options was held on May 22, 2012, during which time official parties and members of public were allowed to address the commission.