BGE is now allowed to assess the opt-out fees to customers who have not responded to attempts to upgrade their electric and gas meters. The fees are a one-time $75 charge (billed in three installments of $25) and a monthly fee of $11.
BALTIMORE (December 3, 2014) – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) can consider customers who have not responded to multiple requests to install a smart meter as opting-out of the meter upgrade, based on the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) order issued on November 25, 2014. After 15 attempts at contact, BGE will automatically enroll these customers into the smart meter opt-out program and assess the related fees. The latest PSC order on smart meters follows an order from February 2014 that stated that Maryland customers who do not want a smart meter can have a standard meter at an initial cost of $75, billed in three installments of $25, and an additional monthly fee of $11. BGE will provide 30-day notice to customers who have not responded to installation attempts before assessing the opt-out fees.
Opt-out fees are to cover utilities’ costs of providing service to customers who do not want a smart meter, including the additional costs to maintain systems, including meter readers and equipment, special data processing and other services.
“Smart meters are already providing benefits to most of our customers, and we would like all of our customers to have the opportunity to use the energy and money-saving tools that come with these meters,” said J. Andrew Dodge, vice president of technical services for BGE. “For customers who do not want a smart meter, we can now confirm this information so we can complete our system upgrade. We urge those customers who want a smart meter to call us as soon as possible to avoid the opt-out fees.”
Customers who do not yet have a smart meter should call BGE at 855.470.8800 to schedule an appointment.
BGE has been upgrading both electric and gas meters since 2012. There are currently close to one and a half million upgraded meter devices installed across BGE’s service territory. For customers with outdoor, accessible meters, no action is necessary for the upgrade. Customers must make an appointment if at least one meter is located indoors, behind a locked gate, or otherwise inaccessible. If a customer has one upgraded meter, but an additional meter that BGE cannot access, BGE will assess the opt-out fees.
BGE and authorized vendors currently make attempts to contact customers through several mailings and phone calls and a visit to their home. Based on the November 25 PSC order, BGE will attempt to contact customers four additional times. In addition to the 30-day notice that customers will receive by mail, customers who do not contact BGE to schedule a meter appointment will receive a door hanger before they are automatically enrolled into the opt-out program. BGE will also call customers and send them a confirmation letter to inform them that they have been enrolled in the program and opt-out fees will begin appearing on their bills. BGE will waive the opt-out fees for customers who schedule a smart meter appointment within 30 days of receiving their first bill with these fees.
Customers with smart meters can benefit from the technology by accessing the online BGE Smart Energy Manager® for daily information about their household energy use and tips that can help save money. Customers are also able to participate in a voluntary program during the summer called BGE Smart Energy Rewards® to earn bill credits for reducing energy use in ways that are simple and convenient.
For more information on smart meters, including details on savings programs, opt-out fees and common customer questions, visit bge.com/smartenergy.