Update on Smart Meter Refusals for ComEd Customers

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions


Back about ten years ago, Illinois passed legislation for a “Smart Grid Advanced Metering Infrastructure Deployment Plan.”  This legislation required ComEd to deploy advanced metering (“smart meters”) for all of its electric customers.

As opposition to smart meters grew for a variety of reasons, the utility company developed a program to allow customers to defer installation at a cost of $21.53 per month for manual reading of the meter.  The ultimate goal was to coax all customers to eventually accept a smart meter or potentially face disconnection at some point down the road.  In past filings with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), the “sunset date” for the deferral program was to be June 30, 2022.

Non-AMI Metering to Be Allowed Beyond June 30, 2022

There are about 5,000 customers within the ComEd service territory in Illinois that have continued to refuse smart meters and presumably are paying $21.53 per month for the privilege of maintaining an analog meter to measure electrical usage.

ComEd has received approval from the ICC to continue allowing those customers to keep their old meters indefinitely.  It has been a matter of legal interpretation that a 100% compliance standard was not practical in terms of meeting the requirement that “all” customers receive a smart meter.  Thus, ComEd has been judged to be in “compliance” with the statutory language of implementing an advanced metering infrastructure plan.  Quoting from the ICC Order:

“Accordingly, ComEd believes that its best course of action is:

(1) to recognize that at the conclusion of the AMI meter deployment period there will remain a relatively small number of Rider NAM [Non-AMI Metering] participants;

(2) to accommodate customers’ participation in Rider NAM beyond the end of AMI deployment;

(3) to cap the number of such participants in order to preserve AMI mesh network performance;

(4) to continue to collect reasonable charges (as they may be updated from time to time) from the refusing customers as provided for in the tariff; and

(5) to continue to inform customers of the benefits of AMI, encourage acceptance of AMI meters, and phase out Rider NAM through the voluntary acceptance of AMI Meters

ComEd’s planned approach is superior to ComEd being compelled to undertake burdensome and costly new or expanded efforts in an effort to move to a ‘perfect score’ of 100%. …

Requiring ComEd to engage in expanded or additional efforts to achieve AMI meter deployments at all the remaining locations by July 2022 would not be reasonable or beneficial from practical perspectives for customers or the utility. In so stating, the Commission is not finding or suggesting that customers can or should reject AMI meters.

Accordingly, the Commission concludes that ComEd will have achieved full compliance … if it has implemented the AMI Plan, as revised, without material deficiencies, through the end of the implementation period.” 

Not Really a Formal Opt-Out Program

So going forward, what we have here is not really a formal opt-out program for smart meters at ComEd, but customers who have refused them up to this point can breathe a little easier that they will not be forced to convert to a smart meter after June 30, 2022.

In some of the documentation ComEd has available at the company website, I can see that ComEd has placed a “Participant Cap” on non-AMI metering at 5,500 customers within its service territory. This potentially allows for about 500 additional customers to seek non-AMI metering, but I see no real mechanism for this to  happen other than pestering customer service personnel until they finally relent to your request and your understanding that you would pay something like an additional $21.53 per month going forward.

References and Background Information

1. Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Order pertaining to ComEd Customer Smart Meter Refusals, available at: https://skyvisionsolutions.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/icc-order-on-smart-meter-refusals-nov-2020.pdf

2. “Illinois Commerce Commission Mistreats Consumers Refusing Smart Meters,” SkyVision Solutions Blog Article, October 2014, at https://smartgridawareness.org/2014/10/21/icc-mistreats-consumers-on-smart-meters/

3. “Chicago Suburb Formally Requests Permanent Smart Meter Refusal Option from ComEd,” SkyVision Solutions Blog Article, July 2016, at https://smartgridawareness.org/2016/07/10/chicago-suburb-formally-requests-smart-meter-permanent-refusal-option/

About SkyVision Solutions

Raising public awareness and finding solutions for smart grid issues related to invasions of privacy, data security, cyber threats, health and societal impacts, as well as hazards related to radiofrequency (RF) radiation emissions from all wireless devices, including smart meters.
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12 Responses to Update on Smart Meter Refusals for ComEd Customers

  1. Pearl says:

    also, currently in Illinois, the gas meter and the water meter are still AMI meter which is still smart meters, why gas smart meter and water smart meter cannot be allowd to change back to analog meters? I am so confused. Could someone explain to me ? thank you , english is my second language, so ….I do not understand quite well

    • Utility meters are controlled by different organizations, and they all have their own policies. For Nicor Gas, for example, I am not aware of any exceptions they have made for customers being able to keep analog meters. Water meters are generally controlled by the City (for city supplied water) and each City would have their own policies as they roll out smart-type meters. Some may allow people to keep analog meters and some not.

      • Pearl says:

        yes, my story is , for electricity meter I am still using analog meter; for my water meter which is very very far to my house, I have a very very long drive way and water meter is indeed in the street , even not in front of my house, so it is ok for me ; for my gas meter, yes, I am currently using AMI meter which is also kind of smart meter and i have contacted the gas company thousands of time, they insited this kind of gas meter barely has radiation so they finally came to pull my gas meter out from my basement and put in front of my house but they refused to allow me use the analog meter. Then I put a “Cornet ED88T Plus Tri Mode Meter Latest Version of The ED88T. EMF/RF Detector/Acoustic and Low Frequency Gaussmeter and Electric Field Meter with Soun” to test the radiation from the gas meter. I actually put almost the whole day to test, the final result was showing it seems they did not lie to me —-very very very low radiation, almost none. But I still put a smart meter cover on that. Gas company told me the gas meter is using battery and this battery can be used for at least 10 years which also means it has very very few radiation. Combing my test result , so far I want to say, it seems they did not lie to me. Maybe as they told me, every month only one day the gas company would drive a car nearby to collect the data—I mean only that day my gas meter would be activated once—maybe at that moment it would have big radiation lasting like maybe 10 seconds? I do not know. But again, I put my Cornet meter for almost the whole day and i also put aonther meter for the whole day to obesever the whole radiation , both are showing me inside my house almost zero radiation —-I put the Cornet agaist my window in my house to test —the other side of that window is my gas meter outside. So I am sharing my story here, hope it can relief a little bit about illnois gas meter worrying for some friends who is caring about health.

  2. Pearl says:

    so sorry about my english, I do not quite understand this article. Could you explain a little bit to me? I am one of the people who is
    currently using analog meter—I am living in Highland Park. I was worried I may be forced to use smart meter again after June of 2022,
    But in June of 2022 I got a mail from comed to tell me I can continue using analog meter infinitely, which is a good thing ,right?

    But I forgot to keep that mail, I may throw it away. I regret it so much. I should have kept that mail. So this night I wrote to Comed company customer service to request them to send me the same content mail again.

    I encountered your website. But I failed to understand. It seems you are still worried about it, why? we are told we can keep traditional analog meter forever ,why you are still worried, also I found some comments it seems still many people worried, i am worried  i failed to understand something I missed, so I am writing to you , could you explain why you are still worried?

    • It sounds like you initially refused a ComEd smart meter and are probably paying $21.53 per month to be able to do so. Consistent with the content of my article, it also appears ComEd notified you that you can keep the analog meter going forward. So yes, that is a good thing. Our concerns remain in a couple of different areas: 1) you will have to continue paying a monthly fee to maintain the same equipment which years ago cost you nothing (in terms of extra fees); and (2) other people who reluctantly switched to smart meters … because they were told they eventually would have no choice … may find it very difficult to get ComEd to come back and give them back an analog meter.

      • Pearl says:

        I am not happy to pay the extra $21.53, but compared to no choice and need to use smart meters, I think I can accept $21.53.

  3. CK Zehfus says:

    Involuntary pulsed microwave radiation is really THE issue. RF is a class 2b possible carcinogen according to the WHO in 2011. Current scientists say new science would make it a carcinogen. Period.
    Not everyone can biologically handle radiofrequency in their environment. Children, elderly and ill people should not be forced to have utility exposures in homes and at their properties. Period.
    Wireless trashes human rights because by nature, it trespasses. Fiber/cable offer the best connection with NO trespass or harm. All the technical talk about “progress” means nothing in light of basic human rights.

  4. Al Lloyd says:

    Folks: Pup & Horse show here. ComEd admitted in the Chicago Tribune article of known issues. ComEd had a 3 yr rollout extension granted to come up with a solution. Looks like this is the solution. ComEd gets to keep their $Billions of Federal $$$$.
    IMO There’re 4 basic main issues. I’ll expand on just 2.
    1) Safety 2) Health 3) Liability 4) Constitutional Issues
    1) Safety. Original meters had a surge arrestor for each single phase (2) connected to the GND ROD for safety as in if your home gets hit by lightning or a large power grid surge. Current flows in the path of least resistance thru the GND ROD. Smart meters DO NOT HAVE the ARRESTORS!
    3) Vicarious Liability. Home catches on fire. You file a Homeowners Ins Claim. Due to NO Ins Co will underwrite the Liability of these UNSAFE Devices, Ins Co tells you to contact your Utility. Co. Utility Co says it’s not their equipment, “You’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing in your home that caused the fire.”
    Poor homeowner now faced with dilemma. This is just a small list of issues.

  5. Douglas Campbell says:

    For what it is worth, I still have an analog meter. I formally protested to Comed CEO when they started to charge me the refusal fee and made copies of every bill and check I sent them with the following statement stamped on them “INVOLUNTARY AND COERCED PAYMENT UNDER DURESS” if the fee is overturned some day. I like to believe customers will pay more with “smart” meters than I will with the fee added.

  6. David Hine says:

    The issue with smart meters are the concealed circuit breakers hidden inside that the customer is NOT told about. This breaker, surrouded by a flamable plastic case has caused many fires due to arcing under load, as can be seen on Youtube. Also the interruption of supply due to hackers etc., will turn off freeezers and medical machines that may be in use. Get rid of those breakers, and there are no sensible other problems that are in anyway as serious.

    • Douglas Campbell says:

      David, you have selected one problem with the meters you think is “sensible”, you need to do more research, there is a long list of problems with these meters, obviously starting fires is probably the most serious, but don’t dismiss the others as being “not sensible”..

      • David Hine says:

        Hi Douglas, The “hidden from customer secret circuit breaker” is something that should be removed from ALL smart meters ASAP, due to fire risks from under a load arcing heat build up inside the flammable plastic casing. It’s not possible to prevent “the march of progress” towards computerised remote “auto billing”. So, it’s that “secret” internal breaker that REALLY worries me, as that directly threatens the SAFETY of my family, me, and the SAFETY of those that depend on using medical machinery at home, such as for kidney dialysis etc.. These breaker fire risks will greatly increase with future high demand currents for electric car charging AT NIGHT WHEN FIRES ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO KILL YOU & YOUR KIDS WHILE YOU SLEEP through smoke inhalation. If your smart meter is under the stairs, as it is in most UK housing, the fire danger is much more acute!!!! Perhaps we should bypass the secret breaker ourselves with a shunt, or spot weld the breaker so it cannot arc? With kind regards, David Hine.

        Comment by Editor: By “secret circuit breaker,” I am not sure if you are referring to what many of us call the “remote disconnect.” On this topic I previously wrote an article: https://smartgridawareness.org/2016/08/25/how-the-smart-meter-remote-disconnect-can-cause-fires/. Regarding spot welding such a switch, etc., that would seem risky as well and is not recommended.

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