Pepco wants to charge customers who don’t switch to smart meters

WASHINGTON – Upgrade your iPhone, and you expect to pay more. Keep your older model, and pay no additional charge.

So why isn’t it the same if you decided to opt out of the smart meter that many utilities have installed?

Pepco has asked the Maryland Public Service Commission to allow it to charge a $75 up-front fee to those customers who opted out of the smart meters. And the utility wants to charge an additional monthly fee as well.

Marcus Beal with Pepco explains maintaining the old meters represents an added cost, including sending out meter-readers, so the added fee to maintain your old-school meter is justified.

The Maryland Office of the People’s Counsel apparently agrees. In an email statement to the Gazette newspaper, People’s Counsel Paula Carmody wrote that customers who opt out of the new smart meters “should bear responsibility for the costs.”

According to the Gazette, Maryland Delegate Glenn Glass, R-34-A, isn’t buying the notion that it will cost Pepco more to let customers stick with their old meters. While the commission considers the issue, the Harford County Republican plans to submit legislation barring the fees when the Maryland General Assembly returns to work in January of 2014.

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