February 18, 2012 – In an interview which appeared today in MiTechNews.com, DTE spokesperson Len Singer said the utility will propose, in a filing with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) next month, an opt-out provision for customers. He indicated that his company recognizes this is an “extremely emotional issue” for some, but that the company still believes the meters are safe and has no plan to halt or slow down ongoing installations.
A spokesman for Consumers also stated that his company will propose an opt-out in a filing due next month under the terms of the MPSC Order that opened the current investigation. This company plans to start installations of the new meters this summer.
No details are available as yet regarding either company’s opt-out proposals – such as what the alternative to the smart meter would be, who would be eligible or what fees, if any, might be charged for not accepting the smart meter.
There is much that remains to be accomplished. We still think the MPSC needs to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation of the possible health effects of these new meters and the ‘mesh networks’ required to operate them. We also think the Commission needs to declare a moratorium on any further smart meter installations until such a health study has been completed.
We believe it is as important as ever that the legislature enact some smart meter protections for the public. There are fundamental social and moral issues – including health, privacy and property rights. These are not just details that should be worked out by a regulatory commission that seems more comfortable when dealing only with rate issues.
Still we think that today’s announcement represents a major breakthrough. We are cautiously optimistic.