Kentucky PSC decides against mandating smart meters throughout the state

Published on April 15, 2016 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) completed its review of the use of smart grid technology on Wednesday, deciding against mandating the use of the technology after customers voiced health, safety and privacy violation concerns.

The PSC voted for the third time on the adoption of smart grid technology, granting utility companies flexibility on the issue. There are three types of smart meters – digital meters, automated meter reading (AMR) meters and advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) meters. Digital meters give off digital readings, compared to traditional analog dial technology, but do not often allow data transmission. AMR meters allow meters to be read remotely, but do not receive data. AMI meters allow for data transmission and reception, including allowing utility companies to discover and respond to outages more quickly, while providing digital, real-time viewing of electricity usage so customers may save on utilities.

At a hearing held to discuss the potential adoption of federal smart grid technology standards, customers strongly opposed the adoption of smart grid technology, saying that it would increase exposure to radiation and be an infringement on citizen’s privacy. Utility companies responded that there was no scientific evidence to support health and safety concerns, and that privacy concerns were also unfounded.

The PSC will now allow each utility company to decide for itself what is best, but companies will be required to submit plans of action to the PSC. Customers may also be allowed to opt-out of smart grid options.

Many utility companies already use AMR meters and are considering charging customers who opt out the associated fees of manually reading meters and tracking usage.