As ComEd rolls out 4,000,000 Smart Meters in an effort to “modernize the electricity grid,” many Illinois residents are pushing for a no-cost or at least low-cost option to keep their existing analog meters. Instead of benefits to the consumer, these residents see risks and increased electricity bills associated with digital Smart Meters. They are not alone.

The National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy report calls Smart Meters “a canard—a story or hoax based on specious claims about energy benefits.” It goes on to say, “Congress, state, local governments, and ratepayers, have been misled about the potential energy and cost saving benefits paid for in large part with taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.”

Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General writes, “Utilities have shown no evidence of billions of dollars in benefits to consumers from these new meters. The utilities want to experiment with expensive and unproven technology, yet all the risk will lie with consumers. The pitch is that smart meters will allow consumers to monitor their electrical usage, helping them to reduce consumption and save money. Consumers do not need to be forced to pay billions for smart technology to know how to reduce their utility bills. We know how to turn down the heat and shut off the lights.”

Judge O’Connell of the Michigan Appellate Court writes in an opinion on an opt-out-rate case, “The Public Service Commission and Consumers Energy advance the notion that smart meters will save the public money on their utility bills.  Unfortunately, this argument is inherently illogical:  how can smart meters save money when Consumers seeks to add millions of dollars to the base rate to fund the AMI [Smart Meter] program?  It appears, as the Attorney General argues and as in other states, that the smart meter program actually increases rates.” ComEd promotes the same illogical reasoning.

 

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