Bill would allow utility customers to choose not to have a smart meter

Lansing (WXYZ) - DTE has installed smart meters on hundreds of thousands of metro Detroit homes. They send information on power use to the power company using electromagnetic frequencies, eliminating the need for meter readers.

But some say they bring up both privacy and health concerns.

"Feeling like your head is in a vice," described Linda Kurtz when asked about the side effects she thinks are brought on by the meters..

"Trouble sleeping, and tinnitus, ringing in my ears," said Cynthia Edwards.

They aren't alone.  Studies show it is possible the electromagnetic frequency used when information is sent may cause problems.

Tuesday, Representative Tom McMillin introduced a bill that would require utility companies let people opt out of having a smart meter,  and let them keep their analog meter at no cost.

"There are legitimate concerns," said McMillin.  "They shouldn't be forced to have them on their home."

Rep. McMillin says he is also worried about personal information being hacked from such meters. 

DTE  says the meters are safe and secure.

A spokesperson wouldn't comment on this new bill, but said  DTE is already working on an opt out plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission.  The plan in the works would let people have their smart meter turned off for a monthly fee.

Rep. McMillin says that's not right and that is why he introduced a smart meter bill today, like he did last year.

"Last year they said they weren't going to allow an opt out," said McMillin.  "Then I filed my bill."

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