More and more smart people are opting out of so-called smart meters. They know the opt out fees, dreamed up out of thin air by BGE and PEPCO, are a punitive device to try and force us into submission. Smart people know that the time-of-use rates we will be charged through smart meters will cost us more than any fees imposed ("Indoor meters present challenges in smart-meter rollout," April 28).
So how are we going to reach the greenhouse gas reduction goals set forth by the 2008 Empower Maryland legislation? How will the utilities manage the load on the grid during peak demand and still maintain their record profits?
Smart meters will allow curtailment, that's how. Curtailment is mentioned in the legislation as a possible tool that could be used to manage peak demand.
Some argue that curtailment will not be necessary because everybody will study their computer readout from their handy smart meter and modify their behavior in order to save money on their electric bill. We will switch most of our electric usage to off-peak hours to save money while at the same time saving the planet.
People who think that they don't have to worry because they are at work all day and can turn their thermostats up or down haven't considered the big picture regarding peak demand times. What about their employer's electric usage, and those of businesses, schools and hospitals?
This techno boondoggle called the smart grid will inflict huge costs to our economy in addition to the $3.4 billion stimulus we have already paid to dole out grants to utilities. One could argue that the price is a small one to pay to improve our power grid and save energy. The only problem is that smart meters do not save energy. They actually use energy, unlike the old safe, reliable analog meters. In addition, smart meters are making our power grid weaker because of their lack of cyber-security protection.
Other states that allow time-of-use rates, sometimes given cute names like dynamic pricing, are experiencing huge consumer backlash. Maryland consumers can relate to this already. Those who fell for the deregulation scam and switched suppliers got hit with the variable polar vortex rates this winter. Utilities have even been accused of switching peak demand times and rates to suit their profit margins. Imagine that.
The Maryland Public Service Commission should be hearing from the public. Where is the justification for the opt-out fees? Where are the numbers?
The PSC met with utilities behind closed doors, and neither the public nor our legislature has access to this information. BGE executives testified in Annapolis that so far, smart meters have saved them tens of millions of dollars with the potential to save them hundred of millions. So why are they charging opt-out fees if we believe their claim that only a small percentage of customers have opted out?
If you are as outraged as I am, call and write to the PSC. Demand that Maryland Smart Meter Awareness be allowed to review the numbers. They have filed a legal motion with the PSC for just that purpose. Three state attorneys general have weighed in on this massive consumer issue because the cost benefit analysis shows benefits only for the utilities, not the consumer. I have been hounding our attorney general, Douglas F. Gansler, but I guess he's too busy running for governor to do his current job.
Lynn Beiber, Bowie
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