If you are following the policy development of Opt Out offerings for utility AMI programs, two recent news items are worth noting. Within the last couple of weeks, the Vermont Legislature approved a measure stating that utility customers in the state who don’t want a wireless smart meter on their home or business can now opt out of the technology for free. What’s happening in Vermont differs from the trend in other states where Opt-Out fees have been approved: are growing: California; Illinois (City of Naperville); Oregon; and Maine.
The last example with Maine relates to the second significant news event. Central Maine Power (CMP) submitted a plan that was approved by the Maine Public Utilities Commission in which customers who choose to keep their existing mechanical meter or receive a digital smart meter with the wireless transmitter turned off must pay fees. The CMP program is now being challenged through the judicial system in Maine, in which the state’s Supreme Court is evaluating appellants’ claim that the Maine PUC was negligent in approving the fee requirements of CMP’s Opt-Out program and are asking the court to overrule that decision.
Disparities in Opt Out policy are likely to increase as more states make decisions on the issue in response to submitted utility programs. It’s shaping up to be another fierce battle in the AMI sector as opponents of smart meters continue the fight against having any additional costs associated with the retention of the analog meter.
I will be covering all these issues in a webinar scheduled for Wednesday, June 20. More information and scheduling information will be distributed soon.