PSC Sets Fees For Opting Out Of Pepco Smart Meters

Smart meter installation, via PepcoWTOP – by AARON KRAUT

The Maryland Public Service Commission on Wednesday announced it has decided on fees for Pepco customers who opt-out of the company’s smart meter installation program.

Residential and small commercial customers who decline to have smart meters installed will have to pay a $75 up-front fee and $14 monthly fee starting in July.   

Pepco, just as other electric companies in the state, asked for significantly higher fees. Pepco requested a $100 up-front fee and $58 monthly fee for those who opted out of the smart meter program, arguing that allowing opt outs would mean an expensive separate infrastructure to maintain.

Pepco and the PSC both have said smart meters will allow for more efficiency, cost savings from the elimination of manual meter readings and reliability and resiliency benefits. The digital meters send signals directly to Pepco so the company can improve customer service and eventually see when power outages happen.

But the PSC ruled that the utility companies must give customers the opportunity to opt-out of the program. Pepco said it’s using $68.5 million in federal stimulus grants to help fund its smart meter program in Maryland.

For those customers who previously elected to defer installation of a smart meter, the utilities have been directed to communicate with these customers within 60 days of the order. If no action is taken by these interim opt-out customers, it will be assumed that they wish to remain as opt-out customers and will be subject to the opt-out fees.

Customers who are not scheduled to receive a smart meter until after July 1, 2014, may opt out immediately or after receiving notice from their utility of the installation schedule. These customers will not be charged opt-out fees until the first full billing cycle after the meters have been installed in their community.

The PSC, which some local residents have accused of caving to Pepco by awarding it a controversial “tracker payment” in a recent rate case, said its decision in the opt-out fee case is consistent with decisions made by state public utility commissions in California, Florida and Illinois.

Commissioner Harold Williams issued a dissenting opinion in the order. New Commissioner Anne Hoskins, who was appointed just last year, did not participate in the decision.

The Commission’s decision is posted online at as Order No. 86200 and also appears in dockets for Case Numbers 9207, 9208 and 9294.

Photo via Pepco


7 thoughts on “PSC Sets Fees For Opting Out Of Pepco Smart Meters

  1. So it’s either a punishing financial hit, or the health effects and loss of privacy from the smart meter. Sorta reminds me of Obamacare except even more of an extortion.

    1. You have that right Paul been saying this to friends and family for sometime now. Just like any other situation where money can be made for nothing except the general population cant or is not allowed to do the same without severe regulation or control by government.

      1. yes Mark H i agree. ppl here have no clue whats coming in this area. It hasn’t shown it’s ugly head here yet, but it will.

  2. Nobody needs the power company anymore with LED lights and laptops and stuff. Physically cut all ties and see them try and charge you for not providing you service.

  3. I live in GA and all the homes were converted to SmartMeters in 2010 without notification. I called our electric company and they would charge 15.00/month for a read. My question is this. Has anyone read about the layoffs at electric companies? One reads about Bank of America laying off 2000 employees or Delta Airlines laying off employees. But I haven’t read anywhere about the mass layoffs at Electric Cos across the country.

  4. I live in GA and homes were converted in 2010 without notification. I haven’t read about any mass layoffs at Electric Co across the nation. I contacted my electric company and it will charge me 15.00/month

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