Story Updated July 27, 2016
The Village of Burr Ridge, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, has formally requested “that Commonwealth Edison take action to work with the ICC [Illinois Commerce Commission] and General Assembly to amend its rules to allow for property owners to permanently opt out of its Smart Meter installation Program.”
A resolution encouraging Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) to allow its residents a permanent refusal option passed unanimously on June 27, 2016, by the Village Trustees. A follow-up letter was sent to the President of ComEd, dated July 5, 2016, stating:
“Our objective is not to demonize Smart Meters or to insinuate that Smart Meters are somehow worse for a person’s health compared to any other device. What we are saying is that the one big difference between Smart Meters and all other RF radiation emitting devices is that people have a choice as to whether or not to own an RF device. People who own homes within the ComEd service area do not have a permanent choice whether or not to accept a Smart Meter, but can only postpone the installation until the installation process has been completed service area wide, after which time, ComEd currently has the authority under the law to install a Smart Meter on their property. This lack of choice regarding their own property creates a problem for many of our residents.”
“It is the position of the Village Board of the Village of Burr Ridge that ComEd can correct this problem by rethinking its position regarding the Smart Meter opt out process and to seek legislation and/or regulatory changes that will allow concerned customers to permanently opt out of the Smart Meter Program.”
We have previously communicated through this website on how ComEd customers are being mistreated by not having a permanent smart meter refusal option even though downstate Illinois customers of Ameren do have such an option.
The concerns cited by the Village Board of Burr Ridge pertain solely to health risks related radiofrequency (RF) exposure although other smart meter issues could have been mentioned, including privacy invasions, cyber threats, and the increased risk for catastrophic meter failures.
Smart meters can also be opposed on a cost basis, but unfortunately, consumers normally end up paying more money when refusing smart meter installations due to “opt-out” penalty fee and not being relieved of any system-wide installation costs involved with deploying smart meters.
In addition, the Illinois Attorney General recently issued a “consumer alert” that utility customers with smart meters may be subjected to “relentless advertising and marketing pitches” by third parties wanting access to their energy usage data and offering energy-related products and services.
According to the minutes of a meeting held between ComEd officials and the Village of Burr Ridge on June 17th and according to one ComEd manager, “this issue has been and will continue to be discussed at the highest levels of ComEd, but it may be several months before any final decisions are made.”
Meanwhile, ComEd customers are encouraged to defer installation of smart meters in accordance with the current program, which is described below. The Village of Burr Ridge has also created a web page specifically for smart meter information, available here.
Updated July 27, 2016:
ComEd has responded to the Burr Ridge resolution with a letter (link below) that states in part:
“I understand that our customers have concerns. We have worked hard to respond to these concerns, nonetheless we know neither the Village nor your residents are currently satisfied. We value our relationship with your Village and our customers, your residents. It is important to us that we work with you on a resolution that will respond to the concerns that have been raised.”
“As a result, we are currently exploring both technological options and regulatory paths that would respond to the concerns that have been raised about digital metering and we will proactively engage with you as we develop our plan.”
Additionally, the City of Lake Forest, Illinois, another Chicago suburb, passed a resolution on July 18, 2016, almost identical in language to the Village of Burr Ridge resolution: