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DTE Proposes $87 Fee to Swap Smart Meter for Traditional Meter

There will also be a monthly charge for meter-readings, the company proposes.

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 that is being implemented in Rochester and Rochester Hills. 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 825,000 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.

In Rochester and Rochester Hills,  to approve resolutions urging 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 Rochester, Rochester Hills and 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.

Opting out

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.

Patricia August 02, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Nice--DTE replaced meters where there were signs & notices-they bullied their way especially where cities were putting resolutions through. They have yet (as well as Snyder) to answer questions from individual communications. They insulated themselves from the public. Meters they swapped out without notice that were behind "locked gates" and fences, that were tagged as "do not remove this meter and do not replace with the Smart meter" should be put back at no charge. In addition, if the residents call in and record their consumption send someone out only two or three time a year, no need for the $15.00 a month. We need competition in this State. DTE has no right to "broadcast usage" every hour--they can collect the data once a day. Safety and privacy is what this about, choice. if they can't get their way, they make it unaffordable so they do.
Liz August 02, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I can;y believe am reading this!! I get so sick of being bullied,not told the truth,big companies getting their way. Why should I be surprised,it's just like the oil companies, Does DTE have legal right to do this??
David Gifford August 02, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Mankind did live, uncomfortably, for thousands and thousands of years without the electrical grid. Another option is to try and find a quiet running bio-diesel generator to power our household needs and remove our houses from the grid. Other than that I don't see another alternative in the near future unfortunately. Big energy is hard to compete with or get away from.
Jeff Olejniczak August 02, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I have read about this for a while now, but still don't know why everyone is so upset about the new meters? Is there a worry that they pose a health risk? It seems to me that this is a win win for everyone. My meter has already been swapped, and DTE explained every step before they installed the meters.
Debbie August 03, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Nice! Give us something we don't want and then charge us to remove it! Good money maker, DTE!

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