Illinois and Massachusetts require Smart Meters. Isn’t that illegal?

The federal 2005 Energy Act is very clear – Smart Meters are to be offered to customers and only installed if they request them.


(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 111(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2621(d)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(a) (14) Time-Based Metering and Communications.—(A) Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this paragraph, each electric utility shall offer each of its customer classes, and provide individual customers upon customer request, a time-based rate schedule under which the rate charged by the electric utility varies during different time periods and reflects the variance, if any, in the utility’s costs of generating and purchasing electricity at the wholesale level. The time-based rate schedule shall enable the electric consumer to manage energy use and cost through advanced metering and communications technology.

(B) The types of time-based rate schedules that may be offered under the schedule referred to in subparagraph (A) include, among others— (i) time-of-use pricing…,(ii) critical peak pricing…,(iii) real-time pricing…, and (iv) credits…

(C) Each electric utility subject to subparagraph (A) shall provide each customer requesting a time-based rate with a time-based meter capable of enabling the utility and customer to offer and receive such rate, respectively.

(f) FEDERAL ENCOURAGEMENT OF DEMAND RESPONSE DEVICES.—It is the policy of the United States that time-based pricing and other forms of demand response, whereby electricity customers are provided with electricity price signals and the ability to benefit by responding to them, shall be encouraged

That hasn’t stopped states from running roughshod over the public.

In California, the PUC exceeded its legal authority by requiring Californians to accept Smart Meters. It then backtracked and illegally, offered an opt-out, when the Smart Meter program is actually opt-in. In Oregon, the opt-out fee for Portland General Electric is so high that only a handful of customers are enrolled.

In at least two states, Illinois and Massachusetts, public officials are flatly stating the public must have Smart Meters.

The Illinois Commerce Commission has mandated Smart Meters. Their “delay” list is only temporary.

“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 full ICC press release is here.

And in Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick is under the same illusion that he can require Smart Meters, perhaps because he is from Illinois.

Pick up a copy of “Take Back Your Power” and show it in your community. We need to take back our power and stop this costly, invasive, and hazardous program now.

As stated in the Smart Grid Awareness article above, “A lot can change in the months and years ahead. Continued push-back on smart meters by consumers is essential.“

Is Gov. Patrick’s Smart Meter Mandate illegal?

Posted: April 30, 2014

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has issued an order that will require the state’s major utilities to submit a 10-year grid modernization plan (GMP) by summer 2014 that includes smart metering with advanced functionality such as outage detection and restoration, smart appliance communication and control, and power quality support, and voltage reduction. [Note that National Grid’s pilot results will not meet this deadline as the pilot installation hasn’t yet been completed]

To speed up the smart meter program, in January of this year, Governor Patrick announced that the state will pour millions of dollars into “demand response systems” that will advance a mandate to install wireless so-called “smart meters” in Massachusetts.

The federal government has set goals for states and utilities to upgrade their electrical grids, and has awarded $4.5 billion in grants to encourage this.  However, the federal government does not mandate the installation of smart meters, or even wireless smart meters.

On February 1, 2011, press officer Thomas Welch of the U.S. Department of Energy press officer responded to questions about whether the federal government has made the installation of wireless smart meters mandatory.  He wrote:

No.  The Federal government, including DOE, does not have any role in regulating the installation of smart meters, nor does it have a policy about the mandatory adoption of smart meters.

THERE IS NO FEDERAL SECURITY MANDATE FOR SMART METERS, according to George W. Arnold the national coordinator for smart-grid interoperability at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This agency of the U.S.  Department of Commerce is said not to be involved in regulations but is only tasked with promoting standards among industries.

While both the 2005 and 2007 energy bills were codified into public laws, NO part of them creates a federal law pertaining to individual consumers or dictating that the public must be forced to comply with provisions of SMART Grid.

Contrary to the bleating of manufacturers and utility talking heads,  who claim there is no “opt out”, the fact is you, the consumer must be offered the meter, or request a meter and “OPT IN”.  No one can be forced to comply with an unrevealed contract between private corporations, and to which you were never a party and had no knowledge of.

Massachusetts has approximately three and a half million electricity customers, the vast majority of which are served by an investor-owned utility. NStar, which serves most of the greater Boston area and National Grid (NGG) are the state’s largest utilities. NStar’s pilot results determined the utilities response that there is no rational basis for smart meter program going forward. National Grid hasn’t completed installation of its pilot so no data is available.

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