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BGE has bungled smart meter roll-out [Letter]

Regarding Jonathan D. Libber's critique of smart meters ("BGE Smart Meter fees amount to 'protection money,'" May 19), I think building a "smart grid" is probably a good thing, but I certainly can't applaud the utility's means of going about it.

Attempts to sell customers on their supposedly newfound ability to lower utility bills are laughable. We know how to do that now: use less heat and AC, cook during off-hours, do the laundry at 3 a.m. But imposing a penalty for "opting out" is not funny; it's absolutely galling and has no place in the Free State.

Those with safety and privacy concerns about this latest application of invasive digital technology have every right to opt out without consequence. If BGE has to carry two systems for a while until more people are persuaded to sign on, so be it — smart meters were their idea, not ours. They, and our public service commission, should rethink this heavy-handed tactic if for no other reason than no one likes to be bullied.

Robert I. Cottom, Baltimore

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