The Smart Meter Bill We Have Been Waiting For!

by David Sheldon

As previously announced, there will be a hearing in Lansing on HB 4220 sponsored by Rep Gary Glenn with 17 cosponsors. This is the smart meter legislation we have been waiting for. If passed, it will absolutely address the privacy issue for all utility customers and should go a long way toward addressing health issues experienced by some. We owe thanks to Rep Glenn and the cosponsors for going out on a limb to support this legislation. Now they need us to show our support if the bill is to have a chance to pass first the Energy Committee, and then the full house.

We are putting out this update to answer an impression in another newsletter that the legislation is somehow fatally flawed. It is not. That writer had a bold headline stating “New Bill Currently Does Not Require Utilities to Offer an Analog Meter Choice!” Still later the writer opines “If this bill is passed as it now reads, we have not won anything!” This, in my judgment, does an injustice to the drafters and supporters of the bill who have worked hard and taken risks to bring smart meter legislation to this point.

 The point of the newsletter was that the definition of “traditional meter” was not nailed down as tight as it might have been, allowing for the possibility that a utility might be able to construe a meter with a digital display, but containing no smart meter features, as being in compliance with the proposed law. It is far from certain that the proposed legislation would be so interpreted, but it is a possibility. Even were that to happen, so many of the problems with the new meters would have been solved!

 While any legislation might contain some feature that could be improved with the benefit of hindsight, the fact remains that this legislation would guarantee to all utility customers the right to say NO! No to a smart meter and no to a smart meter with the radio (allegedly) turned off. No to surveillance of personal activities. And No to paying an initial or monthly fee for that right, so long as the customer cooperates by sending in his or her own meter readings!  And perhaps best of all that protection extends to electric, gas and water meters!

So let us all get on up to Lansing on Tuesday morning, February 21st at 9 am, or at the follow-up meeting on March 7th. Let us express our appreciation and our support for this bill!

 

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5 thoughts on “The Smart Meter Bill We Have Been Waiting For!

  1. One of our readers emailed me with a suggestion that all of us should follow:

    “I just sent a brief email to all co-sponsors of HB 4220 and thanked them for their bi-partisan effort to protect the health and privacy of Michigan residents by introducing this bill. I encouraged them to fight hard for this bill to become law. the message was also copied it to my own representative and to Governor Snyder.

    “The email addresses of the co-sponsors have been included below in case you think that this information should be provided to newsletter readers.

    “I do think it is very important to stress to readers that the introduction of this bill comes as a result of a BI-PARTISAN effort. Readers should not only go to Lansing tomorrow if possible, but also contact these legislators thank them for their bi-partisan effort and encourage them to continue the support.”

    Here are email addresses of the co-sponsors of our bill:

    GaryGlenn@house.mi.gov, PeterLucido@house.mi.gov, MartinHowrylak@house.mi.gov, MikeMcCready@house.mi.gov, TomBarrett@house.mi.gov, TimKelly@house.mi.gov, FrankLiberati@house.mi.gov, adamzemke@house.mi.gov, JimRunestad@house.mi.gov, ShaneHernandez@house.mi.gov, SueAllor@house.mi.gov, EdwardCanfield@house.mi.gov, JeffNoble@house.mi.gov, MicheleHoitenga@house.mi.gov, rosemaryrobinson@house.mi.gov, JasonWentworth@house.mi.gov, LaTanyaGarrett@house.mi.gov, PamelaHornberger@house.mi.gov, governorsoffice@michigan.gov

    • The House TV service automatically tapes these hearings. They are usually available the next day on the House TV webpage, but are often very difficult to play on home computers. We will try to get a user friendly version of this recording up on this website within a day or two of the hearing.

  2. All these problems would be resolved if the customers had choice. You wouldn’t have to deal with meters and all that. What we need in Michigan is competition. That goes a long way in resolving much of the problems with Consumers and DTE. They don’t have to compete for customers.

    The legislatures have not given any power to the MPSC except for determining rates. The MPSC is a creation of the legislatures that controls what the MPSC can do. It is called the MPSC Enabling Act.

    Just remember the US Constitution controls the Michigan Legislature in what they do. The MPSC has gone way beyond its authority ever given to it. I’m writing a paper and you are welcome to publish it if your viewers are interested.

    The best way to get rid of these problems is though competition in the marketplace. If Consumers or DTE had to compete, they might be nice to their customers!

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