A bill introduced in the Tennessee Senate would allow customers to opt out of installing “smart meter” technology on their homes and businesses without penalty. Passage of this bill would enable Tennesseans to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.
Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) introduced Senate Bill 1679 (SB1679) on Jan. 18. The legislation would ensure utility customers can easily opt-out of smart meter programs.
Smart meters monitor home energy usage in minute detail in real time. The devices transmit data to the utility company where it gets stored in databases. Anybody with access to the data can download it for analysts. Without specific criteria limiting access to the data, these devices create significant privacy issues. Smart meters can also be used to remotely limit power usage during peak hours.
SB1679 would prohibit utilities from installing a smart meter on a home or business without the customer’s written and signed consent. It would also prohibit utilities from punishing customers who refuse to install smart meters by discontinuing service or charging a fee. Under the proposed law, utilities could not charge a customer for removing an existing smart meter….