Augusta, ME, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 19, 2011 – The Maine Public Utilities Commission has voted to require Central Maine Power (CMP) to offer an opt-out program with costs for customers who choose not to have a standard smart meter installed.
CMP customers will have two new opt-out options: the availability of the smart meter with its transmitter turned off, which will carry an initial charge of $20 and a monthly charge of $10.50, and the ability to retain their existing meter, at an initial charge of $40 and a monthly charge of $12.
In order to inform customers about the program CMP also is required to develop and implement a communication plan.
“Based on sound public policy, we conclude that offering a smart meter opt-out option is reasonable and in the public interest,” commented Commissioner Vendean Vafiades. “For the long term success of smart meter implementation and to maximize its potential to the fullest, the public needs to be actively engaged in monitoring their usage and real-time price of electricity and modifying their behavior accordingly. To achieve this goal, we need to shift the focus to the benefits of smart meters and allow the small minority to opt out.”
Prior to the vote, “every filing, every complaint and every letter sent to this Commission regarding smart meters” had been reviewed, added Commissioner David Littell.
At the same time, and in the light of the outcome of the vote on the opt-out, the Commission dismissed a complaint requesting an investigation into safety issues including fires associated with CMP’s smart meters and addressing the training of the meter technicians working to install the meters. In addition a second complaint was dismissed requesting an investigation into the interference of CMP smart meters with consumer electronics and medical devices, on the grounds that CMP is adequately addressing these concerns and that the relevant federal agencies (Federal Communications Council, Federal Drug Administration) have the required expertise in this area and had approved the smart meters for use.