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Consumer Privacy A Concern With New "Smart Meters" In Md.

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Owings Mills resident Mike Fold reads a statement from BGE which shows his electricity rebate for cutting consumption on peak days. Rebates are part of BGE’s new Smart Grid program.
Cathy Duchamp
Owings Mills resident Mike Fold reads a statement from BGE which shows his electricity rebate for cutting consumption on peak days. Rebates are part of BGE’s new Smart Grid program.

By Cathy Duchamp

This time next year Baltimore Gas and Electric will begin to swap out conventional electric meters with digital ones that the utility says will save customers money. But BGE’s so-called “smart grid” plan goes beyond new meters.

So-called ‘smart meters’ will allow you to see how much electricity you use on a daily, even hourly basis. That could inspire you to change your energy habits, and cut consumption across the region.

"It means a lot of new power plants that don’t have to get built and a lot of new transmission lines to deliver that power don’t have to get built," says BGE's Mark Case.

Consumer privacy is a concern, given that BGE can also see how much and when you’re using electricity. But Case says the utility will not sell your information without your consent.

"We view a customer’s energy usage information as information that belongs to a customer," he says.

Even so, manufactures will be lining up to sell you smart appliances that can talk to your smart meter, and tell you the best time of day to run that dishwasher.

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