Community concerned over smart meters

(WXYZ) - Thousands of smart meters  have been installed on homes in metro Detroit.  They send information about energy use by radio frequency.

DTE says it allows the company to remotely turn off power when there is a gas leak, to read meters from a distance, and to instantly know about outages.

"On the backside of the storm we will know when power is restored as well," explained Robert Sitkauskas of DTE Energy's AMI Technology Group.

John and Pauline Holeton know the benefits, but don't want one on their Shelby Township home.
They say their work has convinced 22 communities and two counties to issue moratoriums against smart or advanced meters.

They site stories like the one 7 Action News told you about last week, where a smart meter was being blamed for an electrical box fire in Ann Arbor, and fears about  health issues they say are tied to  the radio frequency emitted.

"I don't feel safe with one on my home," said Pauline."I shouldn't have to have one."

DTE says the meters are safe, and the RF is miniscule and sent out over the course of only 100 seconds per day.

Holeton is rallying behind House Bills 5411 and 5439  which would require that utility companies allow customers to opt out of having an advanced meter at no cost.

In the meantime, DTE has submitted for approval of a paid opt-out plan to the Michigan Public Service Commission.  It would require an $87 fee for a non-smart meter installation and a monthly $15 fee to cover the cost of sending out a meter reader.

The Commission is scheduled to take up the issue in March. Public comment is welcome until then. Seven Action News will follow up on what happens.

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