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DTE Will Let Customers Say No to Smart Meters

The energy company will develop a program that will let residents in Shelby Township opt out of the new meter installation.

In a report filed Friday with the Michigan Public Service Commission, DTE Energy said it would allow an "opt-out" option on the controversial smart meters.

A customer would pay an additional cost for opting out, the report stated.

The report was in response to the MPSC's investigation into the meters that DTE and other regulated electric utilities are installing across the state. 

DTE is installing 600,000 smart meters, also known as AMI meters, in southeast Michigan as part of an $83.8 million grant. Smart meters measure and record electricity usage with digital technology instead of the traditional gears and dials. The technology involves the use of radio frequency waves to transmit data to DTE.

As of January, . Nevertheless, residents have raised concerns about their safety.

In Shelby Township, residents successfully urged the board of trustees in August to approve resolutions urging the MPSC to investigate their concerns about safety and privacy of the meters. In turn, the MPSC asked the utilities to provide them with information on safety and privacy issues related to the smart meters; the MPSC also asked about the feasibility of an opt-out option.

DTE's report to the MPSC is 98 pages; it can be read here in a file attached to this story.

"The overwhelming majority of our customers fully support AMI," the report states. "However, given the small group of concerned customers, Edison is developing an opt-out program."

Details about the opt-out program have not been fully developed, according to DTE. The report hinted that there would be costs for opting out and that those customers who choose not to have a smart meter would not benefit from the online monitoring of energy consumuption and other programs that smart meter customer would benefit from.

The report reads as follows:

"Edison’s major tenets of an opt-out program must consider: monthly meter reading costs, special field visit costs (which AMI could have eliminated), distribution management voltage detection, outage operations, customer billing options where an interval meter read is required, customer service billing system modifications to delineate the opt out customer from all AMI related benefits.

"The Company should be made whole for all incremental costs, the electing customers should bear the costs, and the opt out charges should be based on costs consistent with the provisions of PA 286, M.C.L. 460.6.

"The opt-out program shall not operate in a manner that contradicts or unreasonably interferes with the AMI benefits enjoyed by all other customers or negatively affect the reliability or operation of the electric system.

"Opt-out decisions must be initiated and made by individual customers and not by broader interest groups or municipalities on their behalf. Opting out will eliminate several individual customer benefits and conveniences and will subject the customer to additional charges, so permitting third party's to make this selection is inappropriate."

The report was clear in declaring that a customer choosing to opt out of the smart meter program "will be responsible for all costs associated with that choice and will not be absorbed by other customers accepting AMI smart meters."

Valarie Alspaugh March 20, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Seriously, what costs could be associated with opting out of having it installed?
Dennis March 20, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Like they said, opting out requires a person to read it that they have to pay. Not sure what the major concern is about the smart meters, but I'm listening....
Sammy V. March 21, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Smart meters = Edison (and Big Brother) knowing exactly what you're doing at any and all times. Running the dishwasher. Microwave. Etc. Etc. It's essentially looking into every household and deducing your actions by your power usage. Smart meters = firing all the meter maids. Opting out = Edison sticking you with the "meter maid" cost, even though we have been paying that cost since Day 1 of Edison. Basically, Edison wants to now charge people extra money for negating their "new" technology-reduced-costs. Personally, I was surprised the Board stuck up for our fundamental right to privacy.
jholeton jr March 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM
If you would like to learn more about smart meters, go to the MPSC webpage. Google MPSC U-17000, then hit E-Dockets. On this page, you will have a list of scientific and legal documents submitted against smart meters to the MPSC. I am very proud to say that I played a part in getting the people of Michigan and Shelby Township the right to say "no" to the installation of Smart Meters on their property. John Holeton for Shelby Township Trustee.
Bleeding Michigan March 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM
So let’s see… if EVERYONE… in Shelby, Rochester, Utica elects to opt out of the smart meter, whether because of radiation or because of privacy issues, then why wouldn’t the cost of sending a meter reader out be exactly the same as the current practice? Conversely, DTE in their March 16, 2012 submission to the Michigan Public Service Commission stated on Page 3 of 12 in their document that: “There are numerous cost savings and benefits associated with the installation of the AMI .…” So since a Smart Meter does not need a human meter reader, ALL THE SAVINGS should be passed onto the customer, and NOT be retained by DTE. I hope the Michigan Public Service Commission’s in their current review of the RADIATION safety of smart meters delves deeply into the facts, especially since the radiation emitted from a smart meter may be close to a child’s bedroom.
DanW August 02, 2012 at 07:26 PM
How can it cost them more if you opt out than it currently does? An exactly 100% identical way of saying it costs them $15/month for you to not accept their new meters, is to say that they will save them $15/month for you to take it!! Instead of being charged $15 for not taking it, it would be trivial to argue a class action lawsuit for a $15 credit per month FOR taking it!

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