Duke Energy to allow smart meter opting out

Don't Waste Your Money

6 years after Duke Energy began installing smart meters in it's Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio market area, the provider will finally allow homeowners to "opt out" of having one of the meters in their home.

Ohio's PUCO has just approved Duke's plan to allow opt outs for a fee, after it began allowing it in several other markets.

Until Now, Could Not Refuse

Until now, refusing an advanced digital meter was not allowed in the State off Ohio. In 2012, a Madisonville woman, Sharon Kinder, had her power shut off after she refused to allow Duke workers to install a smart meter on her home.

She was worried about possible heath effects, even though energy companies say there is no proven link to health issues.

At the time we spoke with her, she was running her house with a generator,  saying "I have a right to choose what goes on in my home. I want a safe home for my child, I want a healthy environment for her."

Other homeowners have worried about the risk of fires after several highly publicized reports, including a recent fire in Kansas City.

But the meter manufacturers say just a tiny fraction of one percent of meters have had issues, and say most were due to faulty wiring leading up to the meter, or incorrect installation.

Duke Energy reports no fires caused by these meters in the Cincinnati area, since deployment began in 2009.

But it Won't Be Cheap

But as of September 1, 2016, Ohio Duke customers will now be allowed to refuse a smart meter, or request the one already installed be removed.  But it won't be cheap.

The PUCO has agreed to allow Duke to charge:

  • A one time replacement fee of $100
  • A $30 a month meter reading fee, for a Duke employee to drive out to your house for an old fashioned reading. It appears calling in the reading will no longer be an option.

This means refusing a smart meter will cost you $100, plus $360 a year thereafter, which may give some critics of the meters second thoughts.

Read below for more information from Duke.

As always, don't waste your money.

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FAQS From Duke Energy:

Why must you charge a fee for a non-advanced meter?

There are extra costs involved in offering the Advaned Meter Opt-out (AMO).  The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio requires Duke Energy Ohio to offer AMO and ensure that all costs caused by AMO customers are not borne by standard meter customers.  It would be unfair to ask the vast majority of our customers who have a standard, advanced meter to pay for the very small number who have asked for an exception to Duke Energy Ohio’s standard meter.

What do the fees cover?

These fees cover the costs to:

Set up and administer the AMO for each customer Install a non-advanced meter, if necessary

Modify the billing system and maintain the systems and processes needed to ensure you have the correct meter type installed based on your metering choice

Conduct physical visits to your non-advanced meter for monthly meter reading and other service events that can be conducted remotely for advanced meter customers

I’ve been reading a lot about radio frequency (RF) exposure from the meters. Should I be concerned?

Wireless technology is prevalent in our everyday lives.  Everything from cellphones and wireless Internet routers to baby monitors and garage door openers use RF to operate.  In most cases, the digital electric meter Duke Energy is installing uses Power Line Carrier technology to send data from the meter to a communications node mounted a short distance away on an outside transformer.  This setup uses a very low power RF signal that actually travels along the power line as opposed to through the air. The PUCO also studied our meters and ensured they were well within safety ranges.  Beyond that, recent studies conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) and the Utilities Telecom Association (UTC) conclude that advanced meters pose no health threats.

 

BENEFITS AND FEATURES

ADVANCED "SMART METER"

ADVANCED METER OPT-OUT

Convenience of remote meter reading—no estimated bills for hard-to-reach meters and no more waiting for someone to come to your home

YES

NO

Hourly usage data to resolve billing questions more efficiently

             YES

NO

Faster disconnection and reconnection of electricity

YES  

                    NO

Improved outage detection and faster restoration.  Ability to use this feature after major storms to restore power more efficiently.

YES

NO

Ability to detect whether an outage is caused by our system or something within your home

YES

NO

Enrollment fee for Advanced Meter Opt-out service

None

$100

Monthly AMO surcharge

None

$30

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