ANNAPOLIS (WUSA9) -- Smart Meter opponents in Maryland took their fight to the state capital on Thursday.
They're asking lawmakers in Annapolis to pass a bill that would prevent power companies from installing these new meters at their homes.
Nearly 30 people testified before the Economic Matters Committee in support of the Smart Meter Opt Out Bill, which is sponsored by republican Delegate Glen Glass.
"This bill is about freedom of choice," said Glass. "Citizens of Maryland should not have to pay to receive something that they don't want."
Smart meter opponents have two key areas of concern: public health and privacy.
They're worried that the wireless radiation that these meters emit is bad for their health. They're also worried that these real-time,wireless readings of their electricity usage could be shared with the wrong people.
If approved, House Bill 1039 would do two things:
A. It would allow Pepco and BG&E customers to keep opting-out of the smart meter program at no cost.
B. It would fine those companies if they release any of the data that it collects to third party advertisers.
At Thursday's hearing, representatives from Pepco and BG&E said that those privacy concerns are unfounded, that smart meters reduce costs for both the companies and their customers, and that the meters are safe. But when one of the committee members asked those same representatives about the number of studies that have been done at the federal level to test the safety of smart meters, Michael Butts from BG&E said this:
"To the extent of my knowledge, there is no study specific to a smart meter from the federal government. I will say that smart meters are a relatively new phenomenon and that might be one reason that that's the case."