The California Public Utilities Commission delayed adopting privacy rules covering customer energy usage data gathered by \u201csmart\u201d meters amid ongoing controversy over how to handle third parties. Commissioners delayed action June 22 against the backdrop of ongoing protests about the potential health effects of radio emissions from the meters, as well as the expected proliferation of in-home energy management devices that communicate with the meters via radio signals. Privacy rules could affect the ability of telecommunications, cable television, and internet service providers to tap the meters for data and offer automated energy management services to power utility customers. The controversy pits privacy and consumer advocates against companies that want unrestricted access to the data to offer such new services. CPUC president Mike Peevey said regulators are \u201cvery much sensitive\u201d to not stymieing innovation and competition in the emerging energy management technology and service market. California energy policy prioritizes energy efficiency while reducing energy use. Earlier this month, privacy and consumer advocates voiced support for the commission\u2019s strategy to apply the standards to third-party companies that get energy usage data on the customer side of the meter, as well as those that get it from utilities. For instance, in a filing with the commission, Division of Ratepayer Advocates attorney Lisa-Marie Salvacion called for applying the standards \u201cto all third parties.\u201d She wrote that would be the most effective way to ensure customer energy usage data remain private. However, Jeanne Armstrong, an attorney for CTIA--The Wireless Association, stated the CPUC is overstepping its authority by seeking to cover third-party companies that get data from smart meters through devices placed on the customer side of meters. Covering those companies, she wrote, is likely to result \u201cin the unintended consequence of reducing the number of competitors in the market, and thus decreasing service offerings and increasing prices.\u201d The association represents companies, such as AT&T, which are interested in obtaining data from the meters to offer a variety of energy information and management services to utility customers.