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January 14th, 2014: Yesterday about 15 of us attended oral arguments on the DTE ‘opt-out’ program before a 3-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals. We have two appeals before the Court. Cynthia Edwards, LindaHall of Justice - large front view Kurtz and Leslie -Panzica-Gloppa, who are represented by attorney Kurt Koehler, filed the first. The second was filed by Dominic and Lillian Cusumano, representing themselves.

The judges listened passively to prepared statements first by Mr. Koehler, followed by the MPSC attorney and then the DTE attorney. The MPSC attorney spouted all the usual stuff we have seen from them in the past, including quite a number of blatantly false statements. A typical falsehood was that the issues of health and privacy, which they had refused to consider in the opt-out case, had somehow been decided by an earlier case. Another falsehood was that interveners in this case, who sought to raise these issues only as they related to the adequacy of the opt-out meter, were trying to introduce evidence on these points as related to the wisdom of the entire smart grid in Michigan.

The DTE attorney was new to the case and did not seem entirely up to speed on the facts. He stumbled more than once over pronunciation of the name of DTE’s star witness. Finally Mr. Koehler was given a few minutes to rebut, but apparently there wasn’t time enough to rebut all the falsehoods the Court had heard. Almost no questions were asked by the judges, or none, at any rate, that would provide any clue as to which way the judges were leaning. There was no presentation by the Cusumanos who had not requested oral argument.

The passivity of the judges we don’t feel should be taken as any reflection on their opinion of our appeals as we sat through hearings on 4 other cases before ours and they were the same way on all the cases.

At the end the presiding judge indicated that our cases were “submitted” for decision by the Court. Our understanding is that the Court’s decision will likely be mailed to us within 2-3 weeks, though there is nothing definite about that.

If the Court overturns the DTE’ opt-out’ plan, they will most likely remand it back to the Public Service Commission for a do-over with some specific instructions as to what they found lacking in the original hearing that must now be remedied.

For more detail on the issues in these twin appeals please see our earlier article: http://michiganstopsmartmeters.com/2015/01/04/appeals-of-dte-smart-meter-plan-will-be-heard/

 

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LET’S MOBILIZE OUR FORCES

Hall of Justice - large front viewWho Should Come? All of us who are angry about ‘smart’ meters and DTE’s unconscionable threats to turn off power to those of you who have been defending your homes!

What We Will See Tuesday: A hearing in front of a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals. The issues are whether DTE’s ‘opt-out’ plan is legal and whether the Public Service Commission (MPSC) did its job properly in evaluating that plan. There will be oral arguments presented by an attorney on our side and by attorneys representing DTE and MPSC. Most interesting will be questions that some of these judges will pose to the attorneys. This may give us an early indication, which way the wind is blowing. For a more detailed discussion of what these appeals are all about see our earlier post: Appeals of DTE Smart Meter ‘Opt-Out’ Will Be Heard!

Just Added: Full brief of the Cusumano Appeal!

Where? The Michigan Hall of Justice, 2nd Floor. This building, shown above, is at 925 West Ottawa Street, in Lansing between Ottawa Street on the north, Allegan Street on the south and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard on the west. It is on the opposite end of the mall from the Capitol Building.

When? Tuesday, January 13th at 10 am. This session of court runs from 10 am until noon. It is likely that other appeals will be heard before ours is called.

Why Should We All Come? This will not be a forum for us all to express our discontents. It is a legal proceeding in a courtroom in which only the named parties may take an active role. But it is important the judges see that there is strong public support for the parties who have brought this case. People watching in courtJudges are supposed to rule strictly according to law, but judges are human. And judges are often feeling pressure from the political establishment and from powerful special interests to uphold policies and programs we find unacceptable. If they look out upon a mostly empty courtroom their courage to buck the establishment may falter. But if they look out upon a courtroom that is jammed with people who CARE about the issue before them, and SUPPORT those who have brought the complaint before the Court, it may make a difference!

Who Has Brought This Issue Before the Court? There are actually two appeals. One was brought by Cynthia Edwards, Linda Kurtz and Leslie Panzica-Gloppa. The other by Dominic and Lillian Cusumano. Both appeals are by people who took part, two years ago before the MPSC, in the so-called DTE ‘opt-out’ case. Both appeals argue that DTE’s ‘opt-out’ plan, as approved by that Commission, is illegal and needs to be retooled so that people have a real CHOICE.

Map, Directions and Parking: The travel time from Detroit is about 1- 1/2 hours. Longer during rush hour or if there are adverse road conditions. Parking can be a challenge for first timers. Much helpful information at this link: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gtfcj/Directions_to_the_MI_Hall_of_Justice_184038_7.pdf

Appropriate Attire: We have been advised that we will make a better impression if we are conservatively dressed. For the men a suit and tie is recommended. Blue jeans are out!

What Can We Hope For? A decision overturning the DTE ‘Opt-Out’ plan that was approved by the Public Service Commission. The case would then likely be remanded to the MPSC for a do-over, but with specific instructions as to issues that must be considered and evidence that must be heard. The forced installations and threats we are seeing now would stop until a new plan is approved. Alternatively, the Court might uphold the DTE ‘opt-out’ plan, in which case forced installations would continue and we would have to seek a remedy by starting a new action in a trial court.

There is a tentative plan for us all to go out to lunch at a restaurant within walking distance of the Hall of Justice. Meet after hearing in rotunda, outside courtroom.

 SEE YOU THERE!

 

 

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December 17, 2014 – Michigan Stop Smart Meters Points to California group for ideas on what we could do here! We post their Califonia map from free digital images newsletter below. 

Do any of you think we need to be more confrontational here? Comments encouraged!

(Image courtesy of koratmember at freedigitalphotos.net)

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Stop Smart Meters! Bulletin
Vol. 25- December 2014
http://www.StopSmartMeters.org
Contact: info@stopsmartmeters.org
PO Box 682 Portola, CA 96122 US

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH (Thx to the Cecils!)

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008), Russian Author

CONTENTS

  1. THIS THURSDAY DEC 18TH: PRESS CONFERENCE/ DEMONSTRATION AT CALIFORNIA PUC IN SF AS PEEVEY DEPARTS AND OPT OUT VOTE LOOMS
  2. STANDING UP TO THE SLEAZE AND ROT THAT KILLS: BUILDING THE RESISTANCE MOVEMENT
  3. SAN ANTONIO CONDOS LOCKING UP ANALOGS- JOSH HART VISITS TEXAS AND REPORTS- VIDEO
  4. ONTARIO CANADA AUDITOR SLAMS DUMB METERS; SAYS ‘FEW BENEFITS’ FROM SMART METER PROGRAM
  5. MORE THAN 200 PACK MICHIGAN SMART METER HEARING
  6. MOBILIZE – DOCUMENTARY ON CELL PHONE DANGERS- SCREENED WEDNESDAY IN SAN FRAN
  7. PALO ALTO CA SCREENING OF TAKE BACK YOUR POWER JAN. 14
  8. CORNET RF/LF METERS NOW AVAILABLE DIRECT FROM STOP SMART METERS! AT $139.95 EACH IN TIME FOR HOLIDAYS
  9. SUPPORT SSM! PLEASE MAKE AN END OF YEAR DONATION — WE ALSO NEED VOLUNTEERS
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  10. THIS THURSDAY December 18th: Press Conference/ Demonstration at CA PUC in SF: End Smart Meters & Corruption

California Public Utilities Commission
Thursday, December 18 8:30 AM/ Meeting 9:30AM
Van Ness at McAllister, San Francisco

Give CPUC President Michael Peevey the send-off into retirement that he deserves after a dozen years of corruption and complicity with corporate utilities.

Demonstrate against the CPUC’s proposed decisions in the ‘smart’ meter opt out proceedings. Show strength in unity against their proposals that ignore serious public safety hazards
and:

– Continue to impose coercive extortionate opt out fees
– Violate laws, and deny customer and disability rights
– Prohibit opt-outs for communities, apt buildings, and businesses
– Reward utility companies with millions $$$ more for smart grid failings

Join us in demanding:

-A Rejection of the proposed decisions

– Rescinding and refunding of all ‘opt out’ extortion fees

– Halting of the ‘smart’ meter program

Bring any other past or present grievances against the CPUC (toxic dumping, nuclear plants, gas line explosions, accessibility, public power, etc.) We will be raising our demands both outside before the meeting, as well as inside. Please come prepared to make some noise and be seen.

Wear black. Rain or shine.

For more information about the proposed decisions,visit these links:

Listen to CPUC Commissioners talk about the smart meter opt out proposed decisions

Read comments on proposed decision by EMF Safety Network

Commentary “Extortion by Smart Meter” by Jim Heddle of EON

Read more- and spread the word.

See you this Thursday Morning!

 

  1. Standing Up to the Sleaze and Rot that Kills

Are we doomed to submit comments to be ignored at the PUC and accept the consequences of smart grid proliferation? Spend thousands of dollars on lawsuits just to be tossed out of court by corrupt, system-loyal judges?

Watch as our friends and families and perhaps ourselves get sick and die of cancer? As our homes burn down at 3am and the utility blames the wiring? As we are disconnected one by one from essential services because we refuse to agree to pay not to be harmed?

Read more here.

  1. San Antonio Condos Locking Up Their Analogs- Josh Hart Visits

Last month I visited the City of San Antonio, TX, interviewed local residents and confronted utility officials about their smart meter/ smart grid program. We put a video together, trying to figure out what exactly it is that CPS energy “is going to do to us” and how to stop it. During our visit we found residents up in arms, locking down their analogs, and refusing to back down. We found the typical utility propaganda, deception, and coercion. CPS is now threatening disconnection to disabled and elderly people 2 weeks before Christmas. The Grinch is alive and well this holiday season, everyone.

Wherever utilities force smart meters using false and misleading information, people will resist and spread the truth, stand up and fight back. Now is the time to fight back and demand a halt, a recall, and a ban. Anything less will not do. Thank you San Antonio for showing us the way. Watch video here

 

  1. Ontario Canada Auditor Slams Dumb Meters; Says ‘Few Benefits’ From Smart Meter Program

In Canada, a report into smart meters in Ontario has slammed every aspect of the program as well as the stakeholders involved including utility Hydro One.  The auditor-general of Ontario’s legislature said the CAD2 billion (US$1.7 billion) smart meter program for hydro utilities had delivered “few benefits for the hefty cost”, reports the Toronto Star. Bonnie Lysyk delivered the findings this week as part of the annual report of the independent office that conducts value-for-money and financial audits of the provincial government, its ministries and agencies. More.

 

  1. More than 200 Pack Dec. 2nd Michigan Smart Meter Hearing — Public United Against New Meters

About 200 people showed up for the December 2nd, 2014 smart meter hearing before the Michigan House Oversight Committee chaired by Tom McMillin. 72 of these filled out cards to speak. Everyone who spoke, except for the corporate people and MPSC people, was against the new meters. Read More Plus Video of Testimony

  1. Mobilize, a Film about Cell Phone Radiation- Screening this Wednesday in SF and Online

Best Documentary Feature at the California Independent Film Festival Screens for Free at San Francisco Library this week.

Mobilize, a feature-length documentary about cell phone radiation, premiered on September 12, 2014. The film won the Slate Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 17th Annual California Indie Film Festival.  The film explores the potential long-term health effects from cell phone radiation and examines recent scientific research and the challenges politicians face trying to adopt precautionary legislation. Featuring interviews with experts, wireless industry representatives and prominent politicians, the film illuminates how industry’s economic and political influence can undermine public health.

Wednesday December 17 5:30 – 7:30 PM
San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, SF, CA

The film was directed by Kevin Kunze and produced by Ellen Marks, Joel Moskowitz, and Devra Davis.

It can be viewed online or downloaded from Vimeo and is available on DVD from Disinfo. More info here

  1. Palo Alto, CA Screening of Take Back Your Power Jan. 14th

Promoted by Citizens for Civil Liberties

Wednesday, January 14 7:30PM

at Landmark Aquarius  430 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA, 94301

Reserve Tickets Here   Buy the DVD

  1. Cornet RF/LF Meters Now Available Direct From SSM! at $139.95 ea. in Time For the Holidays.

We have lowered our prices on these pocket sized accurate and useful RF/ LF analyzers that measure invisible radiofrequency and low frequency radiation from smart meters, cell phones, power lines, etc.

Free priority shipping in the US and these carry a 1 year warranty from the manufacturer. Order by Thursday Dec.18th for guaranteed delivery by Dec. 24th. Click here to purchase a Cornet meter or browse the other outreach materials available in our online store (brochures, cards, stickers, videos, etc). Any proceeds help support Stop Smart Meters! advocacy work.

 Stop Smart Meters! Online Store

  1. Support SSM! Please Donate and Volunteer

If you support what we do, please donate to Stop Smart Meters! today. Your donation goes directly to expand our advocacy and technical and strategic support of local groups. If you can’t donate, how about volunteering? Donate here or make checks payable to: Stop Smart Meters! and send to: PO Box 682 Portola, CA 96122 Inquire about tax deductible donations — THANK YOU and Happy Holidays.

Follow Stop Smart Meters! on Twitter For the latest campaign updates and links to breaking news stories, follow us on Twitter! We are “stopsmeters.” Please retweet and encourage your friends to follow us!! Our latest tweets also appear on the upper right hand side of our website. Click here to follow us on twitter.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

 

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December 10, 2014

About 300 moviegoers gathered at the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak, MI this evening for a showing of Josh del Sol’s smart meter film titled ‘Take Back Your Power’. The film was very well received and was free of charge. This was made possible courtesy of organizer/backer Andrea McNinch who also arranged to fly in film producer Josh del Sol.

Following the film many stayed for a 2-hour meeting that had been billed as a question and answer session with the film producer. But as it turned out Josh turned the meeting over to another speaker, not an attorney, who outlined a very unconventional legal theory for keeping a smart meter off the home.

We understand there is to be a meeting on December 11th for those wishing to sign personal documents to apply this legal theory to their own struggle to keep a smart meter off their home..

Michigan Stop Smart Meters can readily understand the appeal of such an approach, particularly with its biblical overtones, but we are not prepared to endorse this method at this time. We have not seen or heard any evidence demonstrating that the approach ever worked in an actual courtroom.

 

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(Revised 12/10/14)

About 200 people showed up for the December 2nd, 2014 smart meter hearing before the Michigan House Oversight Committee chaired by Tom McMillin.  72 of these filled out cards to speak.  Everyone who spoke, except for the corporate people and MPSC people, was against the new

Laurie Eboff-Milford meters. At least 45 submitted written evidence for the record that may be viewed by the public (see below).

Rep McMillin asked very astute and probing questions when the representatives of DTE, Consumers and MPSC were making their statements. The hearing did not get under way until 5:30 but continued to nearly 10 pm.

Earlier in the day there had been large demonstrations on the Capitol steps and many had participated in having the Sergeant-At-Arms call out their elected representative from the Senate and

Demonstration at state capitolHouse sessions to discuss with them the smart meter issues. Many who participated earlier were not able to attend the hearing due to the late starting time. The total number participating in the day’s events may well have reached 300.

A preliminary transcript of the hearing should be posted on the Committee’s web page soon. Those of us who participated believe this hearing will serve as a catalyst to get a smart meter bill passed in the next legislative session.

Bloomfield Twp Supervisor and Kathy

A  video (youtube) of the entire hearing can be seen now by following the two links below.

Click here for Part 1 (2 hours)

Click here for Part 2 (2 hours)

For your convenience, near the end of Part 1 a link appears on screen that will load Part 2.

Click here to access the written evidence submitted

The above link will take you to the Oversight Committee page, where you scroll down to where there is a box that says “Testimony” and “Select One”. Clicking on the down arrow next to “Select One” will display a drop down list of all the people that submitted evidence (with the exception of a few folks who submitted evidence that was too massive to scan).  Clicking on a name from this list will display that person’s submitted evidence.

Note also there is a box with a drop down list where you can select and view the minutes for any meeting of this Committee.  At this time, however, only the proposed  minutes of a very short meeting that happened earlier in the day on December 2nd are up for viewing.  We are hopeful that the proposed minutes of the much longer smart meter hearing will be up within the next few days.

 

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January 8, 2013 – Michigan Administrative Judge Shows Bias - Today, at a hearing of the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC), administrative judge Dennis Mack excluded nearly ALL opposition evidence from being considered in the smart meter opt out case, U-17053.  Nearly all evidence that had been offered by multiple intervenors has been stricken from the record on the transparently false claim that health, safety and privacy issues are “outside the scope” of this proceeding.  This, despite the fact that the MPSC had been ordered to hear evidence on these issues by the Michigan Court of Appeals, and had already refused to hear such evidence in its general rate case, U-15768.  Administrative judge Theresa Sheets in that newly reopened case also denied rights to 4 people who sought to intervene to raise health and privacy issues the original intervenors had waived.  All on the theory that it was three years too late to intervene, even though the case had just been reopened to hear the very issues these intervenors wanted to raise.

Administrative law judges in Michigan are assigned to MPSC cases by another state agency and they are supposed to function independently in making their determinations.  Today we saw that this was not the case.  Some had initially taken false comfort from the judge’s pleasant and patient manner in dealing with the intervenors, many of whom had little prior experience representing themselves in a legal setting.  But at the end of the hearing, when it really mattered, nearly every one of his many rulings favored the exclusion of evidence, just as he had been asked to do by Detroit Edison’s attorney and by an attorney representing MPSC staff.

The evidence that was excluded in this case would have established the harm that smart meters are causing our entire society and also the particular hardship suffered by people who are entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The point was well established that this entire opt out case was begun prematurely since the Commission has yet to hold an evidentiary hearing on whether smart meters should even be legal in this state.  The judge was not even willing to consider health testimony as it might relate to the type of opt-out meter to be allowed.

Much of the health testimony offered by Linda Kurtz and Cynthia Edwards was specifically designed to show, based on the personal experiences of at least 5 witnesses, that a smart meter with its radio turned off causes nearly as much trouble for the electro-sensitive people as a smart meter with the radio turned on.  This goes directly to the type of meter that should be allowed as part of an opt-out policy and is very clearly within the scope of this case.  None of this testimony was allowed.

The reason a smart meter with its radio turned off causes so much mischief has to do with the switched mode power supply contained in all the new electronic meters, but not contained in the old analog meters.  The Cusumanos were offering an expert electrical witness who would explain what it is about the new meters that causes this problem.  That witness was excluded along with the personal testimonies.

A very young attorney, representing Michigan’s Attorney General, sat mute through the entire proceeding, never objecting to anything that was done or making any contributions of a positive nature.  We were appalled today, just as we were in the U-15768 case, by the failure of the Attorney General to protect the interests of the people of this state.

This judge also ruled that five people who had submitted personal sworn testimony concerning how their lives have been diminished by smart meters were “not expert witnesses” and therefore not qualified to speak as lay witnesses even as to their own health and to their personal experience and observations as to how their health had been affected by smart meters.

Finally the judge refused to grant expert witness status to a Red Seal electrical consultant from Canada who has testified before numerous legislative bodies on matters within the scope of his professional competence.  These testimonies included the Texas Senate, Oregon Senate and the Parliament in British Columbia, Canada

Today’s developments were not entirely a surprise since we have encountered dishonesty and foul play at almost every turn in dealing with this state agency.

We need to launch an appeal of what happened here today.  We are fighting a battle, not just for ourselves, but for the people of the State of Michigan.  Dishonesty in state officials makes us angry!  Does it make you angry too?  We need your HELP!

OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR

We at Michigan Stop Smart Meters have, in concert with others, been struggling for nearly two years now to raise health, safety and privacy issues with respect to so called “smart meters” now being deployed by Detroit Edison on the east side of state, and by Consumers Energy on the west side.  In concert with others we petitioned city and county governments to endorse our cause and got the backing of 24 local governments.  This resulted in a pretend MPSC investigation, but also led to the introduction of two proposed new laws.  We sponsored this website and public educational meetings in Ferndale, Plymouth, Holland and soon in Muskegon.  We have been interviewed by Macomb Daily, Oakland Press, Detroit News, Hometown Newspapers, by Holland radio’s “Talk of the Town” program, Fox17 News in Grand Rapids, and by Channel 13 in Grand Rapids.

We have been closely following two cases in Oakland Circuit Court where Detroit Edison has sued local couples who changed their own meters when they became ill and could get no relief from the utility.  One of these cases is going well.  In the other case the couple has suffered an unjust decision and is in need of our help to mount an appeal.

Appeals are also needed for the two MPSC decisions that muzzled us from presenting necessary evidence on the record.

The decision has been made to proceed without legal representation, unless we can find an attorney to help us pro bono.  If we had an attorney on the clock at usual commercial rates the utility could easily bankrupt us.  Even though our members have enough experience to manage these cases without being represented by an attorney (if we must), we still need money for filing fees, for transcripts, for travel expenses of expert witnesses and for legal consultations.

If you are angry at what Detroit Edison and its cronies in state offices are doing to Michigan utility customers, PLEASE HELP US by donation or by volunteering your time!

click to Donate

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June 21st, 2012 – Oakland County, Michigan – Commissioners Support Smart Meter Refusal.  Today, on a unanimous consent vote, the 25 member Oakland County, Michigan, Board of Commissioners approved a resolution that supports the right of every utility customer to be able to opt-out of a ‘smart’ electric meter without cost or penalty.  The resolution also contains language calling for it to be forwarded to the Governor, the Attorney General, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), and the members of the legislature who represent Oakland County.  Our heartfelt thanks go to Commissioner James Runestad for proposing and spearheading this fine document, and to Christine Long and her General Government Committee that earlier held a very thorough and well run hearing on this where DTE was given its chance to defend its program and many citizens expressed their passionate support for the resolution to escape the DTE program.

One of the highlights of the “Public Comments” was an emotional talk by Dominic Cusumano, who spoke of the illness experienced by his wife soon after being exposed to a smart meter on their home in Addison Township.  He explained how this objectionable device had been installed on their home without their knowledge or consent, how he had demanded its removal, and how unresponsive the utility had been to their predicament.  Ultimately he stated that he had to remove the meter himself in self-defense.  For that he is being sued by the utility and is currently awaiting a decision from the Oakland County Circuit Court.  A video of his brief talk can be seen in the linked news story by Oakland Press.

We understand that, just before the public session of the Commission, there was an apparently desperate (but unsuccessful) last minute effort by DTE representatives to lobby Commissioners not to do this.   When the public session began, the Runestad resolution was on the “Consent Agenda” and it quickly became apparent that there was not a single Commissioner asking it to be removed to the “Regular Agenda” where it might have been debated and a roll call vote taken.  About 20 citizens had come to this Commission meeting prepared to speak for the resolution during “Public Comments”.  When it became apparent the resolution had already passed, most used their time at the microphone to thank the Commission for doing the right thing.

None of the above events would have been possible but for the climate of opinion created in southeastern Michigan.  This foundation was developed by the efforts of many individuals.  I would love to name them here but am concerned that in remembering some, I might overlook others.

Two who must be singled out were John and Pauline Holeton, whose efforts for this cause were tireless!  These two went from city council to city council, many times driving an hour or more each way to go to a meeting where they were only allowed to speak for 3 minutes during “Public Comments”.  Often they were able to persuade others to go with them and also speak for 3 minutes.

At first John and Pauline faced an almost impossibly uphill battle, but gradually, little by little, their efforts began to bear fruit.  They distributed thousands of DVDs.  In time others joined in to help until the effort snowballed into what we saw today.

Before today’s action, twenty-one units of local government had passed resolutions urging caution in the rush to deploy smart meters, calling for investigation of the health and privacy effects, and supporting the right of citizens to ‘opt-out’.  As a result of these local government actions the Michigan Public Service Commission opened an investigation in January.  A report on that investigation is due out next week.

There are now two bills pending in the state legislature which would give citizens the right to opt-out, proposed by representatives McMillin and Opsommer, who also deserve our heartfelt thanks.  While these bills are currently languishing in the House Energy Committee, it is to be hoped that today’s action by Oakland County will help to move them along.  The utilities in this state have had too sweet a deal in Lansing for too long.  It is surely time to change that!

Click here for text of resolution.

Click here for news story in Oakland Press with video.