Twenty four units of local government have now taken a stand asking authorities in Lansing to slow or halt deployment of ‘smart meters’, to investigate health, safety and privacy consequences of these meters, and to permit opt-out by any and all customers without charge or penalty. The detailed list with links to most of these resolutions follows.
Whether based on advice of counsel, or on a desire to avoid expensive litigation, most cities have based their resolutions on the idea that the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC) has exclusive, or at least primary, jurisdiction, when it comes to setting rules for what a regulated public utility may or may not do in dealing with its customers. While the Michigan Supreme Court case of DTE v. City of Wixom does allow cities to establish zoning ordinances that would, under some conditions, limit some activities of a public utility, no city so far has chosen to go that route.
This is to acknowledge the hard work of two very tireless campaigners – John and Pauline Holeton, who have gone from city to city to educate people and work with local citizens in each town to persuade city councils to take a stand against smart meters. Without their work we would not be where we are today!
July 23rd – City of Troy – unanimously passed a resolution supporting the right of all utility customers to opt-out of a ‘smart meter’ without unreasonable costs or penalties, and also supporting House Bill 2411 proposed by Rep. McMillin. This resolution, like all the others, has no force of law. Its purpose is to urge the Governor, Attorney General or state legislature to act. The resolution erred in stating that the MPSC had already ordered a moratorium against further installations. No such moratorium has been ordered to date and installations are proceeding throughout Oakland County at a brisk pace. Click here for certified resolution.
June 21st – Oakland County Board of Supervisors – unanimously passed a resolution supporting the right of all utility customers to opt-out of a ‘smart meter’ without cost or penalty, and appealed to the Governor, Attorney General, Michigan Public Services Commission and state legislators from Oakland County to make that a reality for Oakland County residents.
June 20th – Charter Township Board of Bruce – passed by 4-0 with one supervisor absent, a resolution to delay installation of ‘smart’ meters in the township until a thorough MPSC review and analysis has occurred with an opt-out provision in place.
May 14th – Charter Township of Ypsilanti – unanimously passed a resolution seeking intervention by Michigan’s Attorney General to stop ongoing deployment of smart meters until the plan for opt-outs is finalized by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). This resolution will be formally submitted to the Attorney General by the state representative who was in attendance at this board meeting. Another resolution, largely symbolic, was also unanimously passed asking the MPSC to impose a moratorium on further installs pending completion of their investigation. These resolutions make Ypsilanti the 21st unit of local government calling upon the MPSC to do its job. They were passed soon after the township board saw a Power Point presentation by DTE defending its program and listened to the DTE representatives field questions from quite a few angry customers.
May 1st, 2012 – Charter Township of Van Buren – passes a moratorium on any installations of ‘smart’ meters by DTE until further notice, as well as a resolution asking the MPSC to investigate the health, safety and privacy issues that have been the subject of complaints by residents. This represents the 20th unit of local government to call upon the MPSC to do its job. Click here for resolution.
April 12th, 2012 – Macomb County Board of Supervisors – passes a resolution asking the MPSC to investigate the safety and effectiveness of smart meters and “whether adequate safeguards are in place to protect the privacy of the public. This represents the first County government and the 19th unit of local government overall to call upon the MPSC to do its job. Click here for resolution.
April 10th, 2012 – City of Dearborn Heights – passes a resolution urging MPSC to investigate smart meters. This city becomes the 18th local government body to call upon the MPSC to do its job.
March 21st, 2012 – City of Livonia Has 2nd Thoughts – In a reversal of the decision apparently reached in committee 2 days earlier, and at the urging of Infrastructure Committee Chairman Maureen Brosnan, Council passed a resolution urging the MPSC to investigate the health, safety and privacy concerns of Livonia residents and also provide some way for those objecting to the new meters to opt out. This resolution differs from the resolutions passed by most of the other cities only in that it does not call for a moratorium on further installations while the MPSC conducts its investigation. This city becomes the 17th local government body to call upon the MPSC to do its job. Link to article in the Observer & Eccentric newspaper which covered this meeting.
March 20th, 2012 – Village of Almont – passes a resolution asking MPSC to provide an opt-out for customers objecting to the new meters. This village becomes the 16th local government body to call upon the MPSC to do its job. Click here for resolution.
March 19th, 2012 – City of Grosse Pointe Woods – passes a resolution specifically asking the MPSC to investigate the health, safety and privacy concerns of customers and also to consider options for homeowners who already have a smart meter and want it removed. This city becomes the 15th local government body to call upon the MPSC to take appropriate action. Click here for the resolution.
March 12th, 2012 – Charter Township of Harrison – passes a resolution specifically asking the MPSC to perform an investigation into the privacy issues surrounding the smart meters, as well as investigate the health and safety questions, and to order the utilities to provide an opt-out. This becomes the 14th local government body to call upon the MPSC to take appropriate action. Click here for the resolution.
March 5th, 2012 – City Council of Farmington Hills – passes a resolution specifically asking the MPSC to allow customers to opt-out of the new meters. This city becomes the 13th Michigan city to call upon the MPSC to take appropriate action. Click here for Observer & Eccentric news story.
January 23rd, 2012 - Madison Heights City Council – passed a resolution, subsequent to the announcement by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) of an investigation into the smart meters, “supporting” that investigation, and specifically asking that it cover all of the areas of health, safety and privacy, and further asked for homeowners to be allowed to opt-out and for those who already have the ‘smart’ meters to be allowed to have them removed. The request for study of the health effects was made after DTE had presented the Council with a copy of an MPSC staff report issued August 3, 2011 which purported to be a study of the health effects. In addition the MPSC was requested to provide an “open public forum” for the public to participate in its review process. We have not been able to obtain a certified copy as yet, or the minutes, but City Clerk advises that draft #1 passed. Will replace this document when a certified copy becomes available. This city becomes the 12th Michigan city to call upon the MPSC to take appropriate action. Click here for draft resolution #1
January 17th, 2012 - Village of Grosse Pointe Shores - passes a resolution, subsequent to the announcement by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) of an investigation into the smart meters, and specifically asking that it cover health (not mentioned as part of the scope of the official investigation) and that any final decision include “unrestricted ability for citizens to opt-out” of having a smart meter. This city becomes the 11th Michigan city to call upon MPSC to take appropriate action. Click here for the resolution.
January 19th, 2012 – Charter Township of Royal Oak This body becomes the 10th Michigan city to call upon MPSC to take appropriate action. Click here for the resolution
Other City Resolutions Attached to MPSC Order – Not Previously Reported:
Charter Township of Brighton – 11/21/2011
Rochester Hills – 12/12/2011
City of Rochester – undated, uncertified copy
We previously posted stories about resolutions passed by the City Councils of Oak Park, Shelby Township, Warren, Southfield and Sterling Heights. With the exception of Sterling Heights, which actually enacted a temporary moratorium, all of the above cities took the position that they had no jurisdiction to pass any ordinance directly binding on a public utility such as DTE. Instead they passed resolutions, calling upon the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC) to undertake a careful review of the health, safety and privacy concerns which have been raised by residents.