Bill would let customers opt out of smart meters

Posted at 11:21 PM, Sep 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-28 23:21:12-04

Some state leaders want power customers to have a choice when it comes to those controversial smart meters.

I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who say they’re getting their power turned off because they don’t want a “smart meter.”

Now several state lawmakers want to give energy customers the power to say no thanks – to the power company.

Olga Puste isn’t the only one who feels strongly about the new digital meters that transmit - in real time - how and when you’re using electricity.

Earlier this month, 7 Action News showed you how DTE cut the power to this 92-year-old’s home after she put a lock on her analog meter to prevent the installation of a “smart” meter.

Now Representative Gary Glenn has introduced a bi-partisan bill that would let homeowners choose whether they want an advanced smart meter – or whether they want to opt out of the program.

Glenn says in a press release that the smart meter initiative is raising cyber-security concerns and that consumers should be able to decide to limit their data sharing.

The new bill would also prevent utility companies from penalizing people who don’t want the smart meters and it would allow them to charge no more than $5 a month to opt-out of the advanced metering programs.

Right now, companies like DTE and Consumers Energy can charge $10 a month for those who want to opt-out.

At the time of Olga Puste’s shut off, DTE told us they had to “act in the best interest of the customer and the community by turning off her power.”

“All I can say is, this the way they treat me? I pay all my bills,” Puste told us at the time. “I’ve lived here since 51. Nobody has to chase me for money, for bills.”

It is against the law to put a lock on your meter. if you don’t want one of these smart meters, you should start talking to your power company before you get shut off.

DTE issued the following statement about the legislation:

DTE Energy has had a near 100 percent acceptance rate of the 2.7 million advanced meters installed so far. We are confident in the safety, security and benefits provided by the meters.

Customers have the choice of opting out, but must bear the costs of doing so. The fee was approved by the MPSC and upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals to allow DTE Energy to recover the costs of maintaining separate billing and meter reading systems.