No gas meter, no service

Senior citizen blames BGE for shutoff

EDGEWOOD, Md. - Billed as the gas meters of the future, this version is making 67-year-old Linda Dolan's life miserable.

"I have no gas service,” said Dolan, “The temperatures have been in excess of 90 degrees.  I am a senior citizen, and I have paid the opt-out fee.  I resent having my privacy invaded.  I resent the security issues it presents, because these meters can tell when you're home, when you're not home, what you're using, when you're using it, how often you use it."
    
Dolan paid $75 up front and now $5.50 a month to avoid BGE's smart meters, and Maryland State House Delegate Glen Glass says it's not fair for the company to try to outsmart customers by installing them against their wishes.

"BGE has a history of switching out meters without permission,” said Glass, “They switched out my meter at my house without permission and I was the only one in the neighborhood that who a smart meter and when they put this meter on my house, my bill doubled with the smart meter."
    
But BGE says this isn't a smart meter at all.
    
It is what's called an encoder receiver transmitter or ERT meter that's been around for more than two decades.
    
The Maryland Public Service Commission has ruled the company can switch out that type of meter whether the consumers like it or not.

"The Public Service Commission really hasn't done anything,” said Glass, “They seem to just go along with BGE, Exelon, Pepco and they just go along with them and they really don't stand up to the electric companies."
    
In a written statement, BGE Communications Manager Justin Mulcahy says in this particular case, the company installed the ERT because "the customer's meter was a model not performing well and no longer supported by BGE."

"You have no way of proving that the old meter was working properly,” said Dolan, “That was one of the excuses they gave me.  First, it was no access.  Then, it was not working correctly.  It's inefficient.  Many different reasons and they take the old meter away and you don't have no way to prove it."
    
BGE says to restore service, it must access the customer's natural gas appliances, and it appears in this case, no access means no service.

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