The House and Senate approved a bill June 6 to commission a study on the impact of so-called “smart meters” being installed by Central Maine Power Company.

The House voted 79-67 to direct the Public Utilities Commission to conduct a study that would look at the cyber security and privacy issues. The PUC is to report back to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2012.

The Senate also approved the bill but with no roll call vote.

The bill approved by the Legislature is an amended version of the original bill sponsored by Rep. Heather Sirocki, R-Scarborough.

The original bill would have required the PUC to establish terms and conditions governing the installation of wireless smart meters. The terms and conditions would have allowed customers, at no cost, to opt out of having a wireless smart meter installed or to have any wireless smart meter that has been installed removed.

The majority of the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee had recommended the amended version of the bill.

In the House, local legislators were divided on the bill but not along party lines. Voting for the amended version were Reps. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro; Chuck Kruger, D-Thomaston; Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland; Joan Welsh, D-Rockport; and Jonathan McKane, R-Newcastle.

“This is a reasonable compromise. I don’t have a problem with smart meters, but I’m fine with people opting out,” Kruger said.

Welsh said the meters can help people cut their electricity use by making them more aware of how their daily activities affect their costs.

“Yet there are legitimate concerns about the effect of having these meters in homes. This study should help answer the questions,” Welsh said.

Voting against the amended bill were Reps. Wes Richardson, R-Warren; Andrew O’Brien, D-Lincolnville; Walter Kumiega III, D-Deer Isle; and Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea.

Kumiega said he is uncomfortable forcing people to use wireless technology like that, when wired technology is available.