Nevadans will be able to pay a fee to opt out of NV Energy's smart meter program. The utility's proposed charges were approved by regulators last week after they heard from citizens who added hair loss, insomnia and dead pets to the more frequently cited objections to smart meters.
According to a Las Vegas Sun report, customers in southern Nevada will pay an estimated $98.75 as a one-time fee and $8.14 per month over a four-year trial period if they want an analog meter. NV Energy customers in northern Nevada who don't want smart meters will pay even more, an estimated $107.66 upfront and $8.04 per month during the trial.
The one-time opt-out fees and monthly charges we've been seeing as a handful of utilities around the country set up opt-out programs seem to vary widely. For instance, Lakeland Electric recently became Florida's first utility to approve an opt-out program with a $16.25 monthly fee and no one-time equipment replacement fee if customers opt out by a certain date. Otherwise there's a $65 equipment fee as well as the monthly charges.
In Maine, where opt outs were approved way back in the spring of 2011, the upfront fee for keeping a meter that has to be read manually is $40 with a $12 monthly charge. Or customers can get a smart meter but have the transmitter turned off; that option carries a $20 upfront charge and $10 monthly fee.
Still, opt outs are rare, according to Chris King, chief regulatory officer at eMeter. He noted in a recent article posted at Electric Light & Power that the number of customers who opt out of smart meter programs is less than 1 percent.
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