A Michigan lawmaker has introduced legislation to stop a proposed DTE Energy plan to charge customers who don't want new wireless "smart meters."
The Oakland Press reported Thursday that state Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) has introduced legislation that would allow DTE customers to opt out of the new meters without paying a proposed $87 one-time fee and $15 monthly fee.
[What do you think about DTE Energy's new wireless "smart meters," Saline? Leave a comment!]
“I have spoken with residents of our communities who say they have had serious health issues caused by smart meters, and I believe these apprehensions are legitimate," McMillin told the newspaper, adding he believes the meters also raise "privacy concerns."
DTE is installing 825,000 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.
DTE has said the new meters are more efficient and allow power outages to be restored faster.
Customers like Dexter resident Bob Wroblewski, however, remain adamantly opposed to the meters.
"I had signs and locks on my electric and gas meter, so their meters were not installed on my home," Wroblewski said.
"Now I'm told I'll be charged $86 for not having a meter, and a $15 additional charge on my monthly bill. I was also told that I will have to have a digital meters that will replace my analog meters. These meters are supposed to have on/off switches, and the switch will be set to 'off.' I was told I will have no choice, that these new digital meters will be installed on my home. As far as I’m concerned if these meters can be turned off, they can also be turned on," he said.
In response to complaints from residents across the state, the Michigan Public Service Commission asked the utility 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.
AnnArbor.com reported Monday that Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a brief with the Michigan Public Service Commission that affirms the right of citizens to opt out and disputes DTE's fee calculations. In his brief, posted on the MPSC website, Schuette argues the one-time fee should be eliminated and the monthly fee reduced to under $10.