Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) customers in Illinois have the availability of a temporary refusal or deferral program so that they can retain their current analog electrical usage meter. Unfortunately, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has ordered ComEd to install new wireless smart meters for all customers as part of the “Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act” over a ten-year period.
As part of a ruling by the ICC issued on February 5, 2014, customers can refuse to have smart meters installed at a cost of $21.53 per month. “If customers make the decision to refuse a [smart] meter now and incur monthly charges associated with this choice, it should be with full knowledge that this refusal is simply deferring the inevitable,” the Illinois Commerce Commission said in its order. Beginning in 2022 the ICC has stated that customers will receive the smart meters regardless of whether they want them or not.
[Updated June 2014: Note that ComEd has accelerated smart meter deployments and now intends to complete its installation by the end of 2018. See link at: ComEd Receives Approval to Accelerate Smart Meter Installation. Note the biased nature of the article in that it states that: “New timetable advances customer benefits three years ahead of schedule.” It also, of course, advances the schedule for the many risks and hazards related to smart meter technology. Regarding benefits, … ComEd’s own pilot program demonstrated that:
“A new report by independent researchers shows that less than 9% of about 8,000 randomly selected households used their newly installed smart meters to save money by adjusting thermostats or turning off appliances during the afternoon or on hot days. As part of the test, ComEd imposed higher rates or offered rebates during peak- demand hours to encourage consumers to cut back. Overall, reduced demand from those paying variable rates was ‘statistically insignificant,’ the report says. In a few cases, some households inexplicably used more energy during peak hours when rates were higher, which the report called ‘counterintuitive’ …”
Based upon a review of documents submitted to the Illinois Commerce Commission, ComEd is assuming that 0.5 percent of total customers (about 20,000) will refuse smart meter installations during the term of the smart meter deployment. In addition, all non-smart meters are now planned for conversion during 2019, the first year after the last year of the smart meter deployment period, which is 2018.]
When contacted by ComEd that a smart meter installation is scheduled for your home, SkyVision Solutions encourages customers to take advantage of the deferral program if they possibly can afford the monthly penalty fee. At this point it is not clear whether ComEd will even advertise or inform consumers of the available option. It is likely that consumers will need to contact ComEd and insist that a new smart meter not be installed due to any number of reasons, including health issues, invasions of privacy, targeted home invasion/ physical security concerns, cyber threats, fire and safety concerns, billing issues, consumer choice, environmental impact, etc. As a customer, you can initially call ComEd at 1-866-368-8326 to request a deferral. A follow-up letter to document any phone conversations with ComEd is recommended.
A lot can change in the months and years ahead. Continued push-back on smart meters by consumers is essential. Let’s hope that people in authority at the ICC and elsewhere come to their senses and realize that the costs and risks associated with smart meters far outweigh any purported benefits.
For a related blog posting on how ComEd compares smart meters to baby monitors, refer to the following link:
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