Reese Legislation Seeks Repeal of Smart Meter Requirements
HARRISBURG – Legislation to allow consumers to opt out of having so-called “smart meter” technology installed at their premises during a mandated 15-year period is being introduced by Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset). In addition, a second bill will require consumer consent in order to share information from electric meters with government agencies.
“Before I came to Harrisburg, a law requiring electric distribution companies to install smart meters at homes and businesses according to a 15-year schedule was passed,” said Reese. “I don’t believe that government should be throwing that kind of a mandate at residents. Even though there are legitimate uses for the information from these meters, this should be purely optional for the consumer.”
Reese said the partial repeal he seeks is in Act 129 of 2008. In it, the smart meter requirement was added as part of an overall plan to make electric distribution companies develop energy efficiency and conservation plans and to help educate consumers. Reese calls the installation requirement a case of government over-reaching into consumer decision-making.
Reese said he has already received co-sponsorship commitments from Reps. Tim Krieger (R-Westmoreland), Eli Evankovich (R-Allegheny/Westmoreland), Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington) and Jim Marshall (R-Allegheny/Beaver), with more expected to sign on.
Reese is also introducing legislation that will make certain that information obtained from smart meters not be shared with government agencies unless consent is specifically granted by the consumer.
“The information from these meters is certainly helpful to the electric company for proper billing practices, and to some that have ancillary services involved, which makes sense,” said Reese. “The problem I have with this is that government agencies can have access to this without permission. I want the consumer to have control over this decision, not government.”
Krieger said he believes this is a privacy issue for residents.
“After speaking to a number of my constituents, I support this legislation because when it comes to collecting and storing private information and so many other areas of protecting public privacy, the customer, not the government, is always right,” said Krieger.
Saccone said he heard from many constituents in his district who are wanting action on the matter.
“I have received a large number of complaints about the smart meter mandate from irate constituents,” said Saccone. “Citizens will be quite pleased that we are acting on the issues they are concerned about.”
Marshall added that he has heard from a large number of residents as well.
“At the request of several of my constituents, I have co-sponsored this legislation,” said Marshall.
The next step involves the bills being formally introduced and assigned to a committee.
State Representative Mike Reese
59th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Raymond Smith