On January 24, 2013, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PaPUC”) entered orders dismissing two formal complaints filed by PECO customers requesting to opt-out of smart meters. In the Theresa Gavin v PECO Energy Company case and Maria Povacz v PECO Energy Company, the Commission’s Orders adopt the Initial Decisions (“ID”) issued by the ALJs. In support of dismissing the complaints, here are some of the interesting points the orders make (emphasis added):
- Section 2807(f)(2) of the Public Utility Code, states
(2) Electric distribution companies shall furnish smart meter technology as follows:
(i) Upon request from a customer that agrees to pay the cost of the smart meter at the time of the request.
(ii) In new building construction.
(iii) In accordance with a depreciation schedule not to exceed 15 years.
- In 66 Pa. C.S. §2807(f)(2), the use of the word “shall” in the statute indicates the General Assembly’s direction that all customers will receive a smart meter. The statute does not have a provision for customers to “opt out” of the smart meter installation.
- The Commission has interpreted current law to require smart meter installation. The Commission cannot regulate in violation of a statute.
- Pennsylvania electric utilities are following the law by not permitting customers to opt-out.
Yes, there are some jurisdictions who have said no to opt-out. Maybe this will be a new trend.