November 23, 2010

Smart electric meters:
Folly, or energy's brave new world?

CMP moves ahead as foes seek to halt the Maine program.

By Tux Turkel
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Zach Pomelow, wearing face and hand safety equipment, installs new smart meters at homes on Brackett Street in Portland.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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“It would be up to the commission to permit (customers to opt out of the program or have smart meters hard-wired to the network), but our goal is to have a uniform technology,” said John Carroll, a CMP spokesman.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Boxer-Cook wants CMP to consider allowing customers to opt out of the program, or have smart meters hard-wired to the network.

Those options would be more costly and would dilute the benefits of the project, said John Carroll, CMP's spokesman. "It would be up to the commission to permit that, but our goal is to have a uniform technology," he said.

Carroll was on hand Monday as Zachary Pomelow, a VSI technician, moved along his meter change-out route. Pomelow made quick work of a five-unit apartment building on Brackett Street; no one answered the door when he called.

Across the street, Leonard was at home. She expressed health concerns, and asked about losing power and the impact on her cable television and furnace. Pomelow politely answered her questions, and gave her a card with CMP contact information.

"We were better off when we didn't know, and you guys could just do your thing," Leonard said at one point.

CMP and VSI are doing their thing at 1,500 homes and businesses a day while the PUC process plays out.

The PUC is waiting for Boxer-Cook's formal response to CMP's request to dismiss the complaint. The commission then could seek more information, dismiss the complaint or open a formal proceeding. No time frame has been set.

In a separate complaint, the PUC is asking for more information to consider a claim that installing new meters could cause fires in homes with old wiring.

CMP typically changes out 15,000 meters a year as they age or malfunction. It has hired electricians to fix wiring problems in old houses that could interfere with the installation of smart meters. Typically, customers have to pay for that work.


Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:


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Additional Photos

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The old meters are on the left and the new meters are on the right.


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