Augusta, ME, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- January 7, 2010 - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is to open an investigation to determine if Central Maine Power’s policy of not providing its customers an opt-out option for smart meters is “unreasonable, insufficient or unjustly discriminatory.”

In particular the Commissioners – who voted unanimously for the investigation – agreed that it should examine the possibility of local opt-outs to the program already being implemented and installed by CMP, the possible effect of such an opt-out on the Department of Energy (DOE) stimulus funding for the program, the availability of hard-wire alternatives from CMP, and cost implications for any alternatives to the current program.

The investigation also will seek to discover what alternatives are available that are technically feasible, and yet not adverse to overall smart grid implementation goals, nor cost prohibitive.

CMP launched its $192 million smart meter project – of which $96 million is being funded with an ARRA grant from the DOE – to replace all of its 550,000 meters, following its approval by the PUC in February 2010. However, the program has run into opposition from residents, particularly around the alleged of health effects of smart meters. However, the present investigation will not cover health issues and a recent investigation by the Maine public health directorate found there were no adverse health effects from smart meters.

CMP has said that smart meters will continue to be installed during the PUC investigation.