House Bill 878 - Public Utilities -Smart Meter Opt-Out Option

Smart Meters

One of my bills, which may be the most important I have introduced, is
House Bill 878 – “Public Utilities - Smart Meter Opt-Out Option” bill. The utility companies are replacing our meters with Smart Meters.

One of several problems I see is there is evidence that suggests these meters may be dangerous to our bodies and the environment. In addition, these meters are very intrusive because they monitor what is happening in the home and also give the utility companies the ability to shut your electric off at any time. Because of this and other reasons, I believe we have the right to choose to opt-out but a law needs to be established to protect our citizens.

Below is a YouTube video of Dr. David Carpenter, a Harvard Medical School trained physician who also headed up the New York State Dept. of Public Health for 18 years before becoming Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Albany and currently directs the Institute for Health and the Environment, speaks of the effects of radio frequency radiation from Smart Meters (highlight the link, right click then select ‘open hyperlink’ to view the video).    

There is a press conference scheduled for noon on Thursday, March 15, just before the hearing, which is 1 p.m. in the Economic Matters Room No. 231 in the Lowe House Office Building in Annapolis. If you would like to testify at the hearing or have any questions, please contact my office at 410-841-3280. 


Thank you very much,
Delegate Glen Glass

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Andy Eisner March 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Hello Delegate Glass, Thank you for introducing a bill that actually helps/looks out for the people you serve. I for one am also not a fan of BGE or it's smart meter policy. They actually installed one at my last home, without my consent while I was not at home. I find it refreshing that you, a law maker, actually works on legislation that people need and also is important. I remember last session when gas, the housing crisis, rising taxes and unemployment were on most peoples minds, Annapolis was more concerned with the gay marriage bill! In my opinion, Sen Jacobs and yourself are the only 2 from our county that are actually in touch with everyday people. Thank you for continuing to do a great job!
Bob March 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM
This isn't convincing enough after reading the delegates comments that meters "may" be dangerous, shut off risk (and other unstated reasons). I watched the you tube vid where the physician said there is no evidence against smart meters (only against some RF). I had a home with smart meter installed and benefited from usage data in achieving my own savings. Worried about whether the utility can turn off your service? Pay your bill.
Andy Eisner March 14, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Paying my bill is not the issue. When it's 90+ outside I dont like the fact they shut my ac off remotely. If I was worried about savings, I can simply turn it off myself. I don't need big brother to do it for me
1ke March 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I would not attach the meter to my La-Z-Boy any more than I would store my cellphone in my underwear or supplement an electric blanket with an microwave oven.
Mike Tarbert March 14, 2012 at 01:17 PM
If installing the Smart Meters were a benefit to the consumers the electric companies would Not be installing them.
CB9678 March 14, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Since smart meters cost less over time, cost savings I assume they would pass on to the consumer. I want to pay less than those who opt out!
Bob March 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I wasn't suggesting that electric companies didn't benefit. Here's how they benefit me, the consumer… Instead of seeing a single bill for 300 dollars, I can see utilization by the hour, within a day, and immediately know what drove the cost such that I can do something to minimize it. You can also get alerts of excess usage. Waiting a month to learn that the kid who left the refrigerator open in the garage added 60 bucks on the bill is too late. I did not know that it was smart enough to control your air conditioner, but if that is the sacrifice needed to avoid a grid malfunction and extended outage, then so be it.
CB9678 March 14, 2012 at 04:18 PM
No one forces you to have your AC cycled you choose to let them do that in exchange for a cost savings
Dave in BR March 14, 2012 at 05:06 PM
The Smart Meter is not the same as the Smart Thermostat or the Start Switch which BGE can use to cycle your AC - if you enroll in the program. The Smart Meter replaces the electric meter that every house has. The video is interesting. But really, the Dr. isn't saying they are dangerous. He simply says that there needs to be evidence that they are safe. The lack of evidence that they aren't dangerous isn't the same thing. SOME types of RF exposure (based on strength and how frequent) can be dangerous.
Leroy Smith March 14, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Everyone isn't as fortunate as you that they can guarantee that they will be able to pay their electric bill in full every month. For you to say in one of your earlier posts quote, "I had a home with smart meter installed and benefited from usage data in achieving my own savings. Worried about whether the utility can turn off your service? Pay your bill." shows that you are indifferent to people who may have trouble paying their monthly utility, medical, food and other bills which need to be paid off by people living on a fixed income. I am retired and I pay my bills on time. I can sympathize with those who can't. I have a "smart meter" installed which BGE uses to shut off my air conditioner and electric water heater. Last summer when we had some really bad hot and humid weather my AC was shut off for periods of time where the temperature in my house rose to eighty and ninety degrees. I have COPD which made it unbearable to get comfortable in my own house. I called BGE and their response was well I should have called them to let them know of my health problem. They seemed very indifferent to the problem.
Dave in BR March 14, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Leroy, that sounds pretty horrible! Sounds like you are in the PeakRewards plan - that allows them to turn your AC and hot water heater off - in return for credits on your bill. Are you able to drop out or change the amount of time that BGE is allowed to shut you off?
Bob March 14, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Leroy, I'm sorry and admit that statement was harsh. I said it knowing that some can't make ends meet, but they can still negotiate with utility companies and take advantage of assistance programs. I relate to your COPD condition as both parents suffered terribly from it. I though it would be high risk had their power been cut intentionally while they were on their machines. Its good to see it can be avoided if you let them know in advance.
Tom Fitzpatrick March 15, 2012 at 09:59 PM
The Smart Energy program, which allows BGE to cycle your AC has nothing to do with Smart Meters. I have wanted a smart meter for years, for exactly the reason Bob mentioned. It tells me how I use my energy. It's not simply an arcane list of gas and electric, and a host of surcharges and boiler plate. This will eventually lead to demand pricing, which will incentivize people to adopt better management practices and learn how to take advantage of off peak power. Heavy industry has had demand metering for decades. Of course, one could always opt out and go off the grid. That possibility is becoming more and more promising every day.
franking March 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM
I wouldn't assume any such thing. They had a rate hike several years ago, and when consumers started conserving in mass and enough to affect their projected profits, they raised fees that didn't have anything to do with how much energy is used.
s.west March 16, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I attended the committee hearing yesterday. There was impressive testimony confirming the horrendous health problems caused by smart meters, as well as the insidious invasion of privacy. (the 24/7 home data capture and transmission to central site is clearly a 4th amendment violation, given the home surveillance without a warrant). More telling, though, was the incredibly WEAK testimony from utility reps. When BGE rep (Mr. Butz) was asked if there was a single federal safety study that might allay Maryland citizens' health concerns, his reply was: "None that we're aware of". Also, when another utility rep tried to defend by noting a federal study had been done on the RF emissions - when then asked if the study simulated the 24/7 constant RF emissions frequency, he weakly admitted: "No, that study was done using only two-minute bursts". GEE - I GUESS WE CAN ALL FEEL SAFER NOW? Every Maryland citizen needs to attend the PSC hearing in May and demand an opt out - as well as refuse to accept the smart meters until adequate safety testing is done!!!
Bob March 16, 2012 at 06:35 PM
s.west, was the impressive testimony fact-conclunsion based? I haven't seen anything yet that is (for either arguement). I also can't draw a link to invasion of privacy. It simply monitors energy consumption and isn't watching you (as surveillance implies) or stealing your credit card information.
Robert J. Cervantes March 16, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I'm ok with an opt out. As long as both positions are explained well to the consumer, let them make the choice.
Mike Tarbert March 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Here is an interesting article http://www.prisonplanet.com/cia-head-we-will-spy-on-americans-through-electrical-appliances.html
Tom Fitzpatrick March 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Tell me, is Comcast's ability to follow what you watch on TV, or the fact that the phone company knows every number you dial and who dials you, a violation of your "Fourth Amendment rights"?
Mike Tarbert March 20, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Tell me, is Comcast's ability to follow what you watch on TV, or the fact that the phone company knows every number you dial and who dials you, a violation of your "Fourth Amendment rights"? YES it is but, no one cares.
CB9678 March 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM
I think since you voluntarily subscribe to those services and it is covered in the user agreement with private companies makes it legal. The fourth ammendment covers you against government. Not someone you agreed to let do it.
1ke March 20, 2012 at 01:41 PM
We live in a mass society and the only thing anyone cares about is the chance to sell you something Refuse to spend and the TV goes blank, the Internet crashes and nearly everyone loses his or her job. Try that one if you really want to get paranoid.
pauline holeton September 03, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Steve September 03, 2012 at 06:38 PM
It was just a matter of time before one of the weak minded brought up the "Agenda 21" phony conspiracy theory. $100 says your a Birther too!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »