(WXYZ) - There are new electric meters being installed on homes in metro Detroit and they're causing controversy. They are called smart meters and they use electromagnetic frequency to send DTE information about power use.
This gets rid of the need for meter readers and notifies the power company about outages. It also cuts down on costs to the power company, and allows for quicker response should you lose power. Some customers have also used it to monitor their power use online and save money.
However, some say the EMF from the meters is making them sick.
"I suffered headaches, body aches… flu-like symptoms," said Lillian Cusumano.
She says she didn't know about smart meters when she started feeling sick only at one of her two homes. It was a neighbor that pointed out that DTE had just installed a smart meter on the Addison Township home. She says it isn't a coincidence.
"I did go look at smart meters online, and realized I had the symptoms," said Cusumano.
She and her husband asked DTE to remove the meter. When the company refused, they say they removed it themselves. Now the utility company is suing them.
"Removing or tampering with an electric meter is a felony under state law – and also a significant safety hazard," said Len Singer, a spokesperson for the utility company.
"DTE Energy has installed almost one million advanced meters in Southeast Michigan, and we expect to have 1.25 million in service by the end of this year. We are confident in the safety, security and benefits provided by advanced meters," said Singer.
The power company says it has only received a small amount of complaints.
A judge has put the lawsuit on hold while the Michigan Public Service Commission works on a plan to allow people to pay to not have smart meters on their homes. The fee would cover the cost of having someone read the meter.
DTE said it hopes that the opt-out plan in the works addresses the needs of customers concerned about EMF.
Many devices emit EMF, including cell phones and microwaves.