Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers will have to pay more than $130 a year if they want to opt out of plans to install smart meters at their homes, the Maryland Public Service Commission has ruled.
The regulatory panel determined that BGE, Potomac Electric Power, Delmarva Power and Light and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative must let customers keep existing meter technology in exchange for an upfront charge, followed by monthly fees.
The fees, lower than those originally proposed by the utilities, will take effect after July 1.
BGE, which serves all of Anne Arundel County, would charge $75 up front and then $11 a month. The fees would total $207 in the first year, and then $132 in the following years.
BGE's monthly rate was the lowest of those approved by the commission.
Utilities have been rolling out smart meter technology over the last few years, saying it will save money by providing better understanding of use patterns and outages, and will cut the expenses involved in having meter readers visit properties monthly.
Opponents of the technology have said the meters infringe on privacy because they transmit information about power use, and that there may be health risks associated with the transmissions.
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