On June 11, Pepco said 70 customers had opted out of smart meters and by Tuesday, June 26, the number had grown to 202, according to Pepco.
The number of Pepco customers in Maryland is 531,000, according to Pepco.
"We think the low number of customers who want to opt out indicates the majority of our customers have looked at all the scientific data and found nothing to be alarmed about," Pepco stated in an email to Patch Monday night.
More than 190 comments have been posted on Patch's initial article about customers who opted out of smart meters. Below are excerpts from what our readers had to say.
Readers' Speak Out on Smart Meter Pros and Cons
"I think the smart meters will be a good idea for smart billing. Rates increase during high-demand hours and decrease during low-demand hours. This would result in trends where people start doing their laundry and similar type of activities during low-demand time." —Anton Fisher, June 12
"Our electricity grid has basically been unchanged for more than half a century. It is inefficient, subject to outages where the power company has no clue how to find without people calling…" —Morris Zwick, June 12
"The Electric Power Company does not need Smart Meters to tell them where the power outages may exists. There are rate payers on the other end and they have telephones." —George Karadimas, June 20
"And, you can turn off your cell phone, keep it away from your body etc - take precautions. You cannot do that with a SMeter. It is more exposure than cell phones and whole body exposure." —Traci M. Radice, June 21
"If rates go up because Pepco increases them, it's not because of the meter. If you pay more because your old meter had you underpaying, I'm cool with that. In my case, as I suspected, I was OVER-PAYING. I think you are making false connections to serve your purposes." —Theresa Defino, June 21
Smart Meters and Opting Out
Smart meters are devices that send information about household energy use to a power company via electromagnetic radiation or radio frequency. A smart meter replaces a traditional electricity meter, which a power company representative must visit every month to get a electricity usage reading.
In the face of customer concerns that smart meters pose health and privacy risks, on May 24, the Maryland Public Service Commission issued an order telling Pepco, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and Delmarva Power, “the utilities shall refrain from installing a smart meter in the home or business of any customer who notifies the utility in writing that they do not wish to have a smart meter installed.”
Pepco says the meters do not pose a health risk. On Monday Pepco stated, "We strive to give our customers all relevant scientific data from credible institutions such as the World Health Organization and the Federal Communications Commission, who in double-blind studies have found no correlation between people who claim ill health effects and exposure to low power radio frequency fields."
Nonetheless, pending the commission's final decision, Pepco is allowing customers to opt out for now.