DTE Proposes $87 Fee to Swap Smart Meter for Traditional Meter
The power company also proposed a monthly charge for meter-readings.
If you choose to opt out of DTE Energy's smart meter program, it will cost you.
In a report filed this week with the Michigan Public Service Commission, DTE Energy outlined its proposal for allowing customers to opt-out of the new meter program, which is being implemented in many communities around Southeast Michigan, including Orion and Orion Township. The proposal involves a one-time $87 fee in addition to monthly $15 fees.
The report follows months of impassioned pleas by energy customers and investigations by both the MPSC and the energy companies.
Why smart meters?
DTE is installing 600,000 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.
Some rommunities, including Rochester and Rochester Hills, urged the MPSC to investigate their concerns about safety and privacy of the meters. They shared before both city councils their fears about the radio frequency waves and also that the energy companies would have too much information about customers' energy consumption.
DTE has said the new meters are more efficient and allow power outages to be restored faster.
In response to the resolutions from a number of other cities, the MPSC asked the utilities 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.
In a report issued this week, DTE provided details on the opt-out program.
"DTE's AMI Opt-Out Program will provide an opportunity for individual residential customers who voluntarily request to participate in the program to have a non-transmitting AMI meter installed at their residential service address instead of the Company’s transmitting AMI meter," the report stated.
"Customers may opt out for any reason and will not be required to communicate the reason to the Company."
The customers will be charged the initial $87 in equipment fee for the alternate meter. The $15 monthly fee will cover the cost of a manual meter reading.
"Customers who elect to participate in the AMI Opt-Out Program should be advised that they are giving up certain benefits attributed to the use of AMI at their service location including increased restoration capability, access to timely metering data and other benefits that promote the efficient operation of the electrical distribution system."
DTE's proposal must be approved by the MPSC.
Read the full report here or in a file attached to this story.