HB 368 – Smart Meter Customer Rights (2013-2014)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB_368
HB 368 requires electric utility companies to obtain customer consent before replacing traditional electrical meters with “smart meters,” which monitor consumer electricity usage and communicate this information back to the utility company. It also requires that utility companies provide plain-language descriptions of exactly what information will be monitored and remotely communicated to the company by the meter. Lastly, it allows consumers to choose not to have a smart meter installed and allows those who already have one installed to require its removal for any reason, while prohibiting utility companies from charging additional fees to these individuals.
Primary Sponsors:Rep. Lynch (R)
Secondary Sponsors:Rep. Becker (R), Rep. Brenner (R), Rep. Cera (D), Rep. Thompson (R)
Committee:Public Utilities (H)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/hou130.nsf/House+Bill+Number/0368?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
The ACLU of Ohio supports HB 368 because it provides consumer protections for Ohio energy customers, neither requiring nor prohibiting smart meter use but instead giving decision-making power back to the consumer. While installation of smart meters is encouraged because of their environmental and cost benefits, there have also been growing numbers of consumer complaints regarding safety and privacy concerns. Simply put, Ohioans should be allowed to choose whether or not they want a device in their homes that monitors all their energy usage data. The home is, after all, afforded the greatest level of privacy protection under the US constitution. HB 368 allows Ohioans to interact with their electric utility companies in the way they see fit, and the ACLU of Ohio supports this bill and other legislation that strengthens the right to privacy in the home.