Maryland PSC Will Examine Smart Meter Opt-Out Costs
In an Order issued on January 7, 2013, the Maryland Public Service Commission (“MPSC” or “Commission”) concluded the public interest required the customers of Potomac Electric Power Company (“Pepco”), Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (“BGE”) and Delmarva Power and Light Company (“Delmarva”) (collectively “Companies”) be provided with an additional option related to the installation of smart meters in their homes. However, the order states additional proceedings are necessary to determine the preferred course. It appears the Commission is considering two options: (1) to allow customers the option of retaining their current analog meter, or (2) to require all customers to receive a smart meter but with the option to have that meter installed to operate in an “RF-free” or near RF-free manner. Sometimes options result in additional financial responsibility; the Commission made it clear customers that exercise the option will bear the appropriate costs.
The Order went on to state the MPSC did not believe the record was sufficient regarding the overall system, as well as the customer-specific, cost-differential between these two options, and would therefore conduct additional proceedings to resolve these remaining issues. In the meantime, the Companies were ordered to continue to a moratorium for those customers wanting to opt-out. Additionally, on or before July 1, 2013, the Companies were ordered to:
submit to the Commission their proposals regarding a) the overall additional costs associated with allowing customers to retain their current analog meter, b) their proposals regarding cost recovery of these additional costs from customers, and c) their proposals for recovery of costs related to offering customers different RF-free or RF-minimizing options related to the installation of their smart meters. Additionally, we ask the Companies to provide this information scaled for different levels of customer participation;
- Maryland Public Service Commission Order, page 10.
2013 is shaping up to be another interesting year for smart meter decisions.