City of Southfield Becomes 4th Michigan City

October 17th, 2011 – The Southfield City Council unanimously approved a resolution to the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC) “to initiate a careful review and analysis of the expressed public concerns

relative to potential health effects of smart meters, privacy issues, and the lack of consumer/homeowner options to either opt-out of the installation in the first place or to have the smart meter removed after installation, as a result of consumer/homeowner concerns that may have arisen after said installation.

Council also asked for the MPSC to set up “open public forum” for discussion of these issues.

Here is link to the resolution:

City of Southfield Resolution on \’Smart\’ Meters

Warren Wants to Drop ‘Smart’ Meters

October 11th, 2011 – The Warren City Council voted unanimously on this day to petition the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to go slow on ‘smart’ meter deployment.  Warren is the latest public body to adopt a resolution “asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to investigate whether the meters are dangerous to the public’s health and invade privacy.”

The company plans to begin installations in the city in 2013.  “City Council wants to be assured that the installation of smart meters will not adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Warren,” the resolution states.

Opposition to smart meters by residents has centered on the possible health effects caused by the radio transmissions of the new meters, and also on the assault by the new meters on resident’s Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.  The new meters measure electrical consumption in great detail and report usage every few minutes.  The new meters are also equipped to listen to individual appliances within the home that are equipped with the new smart chips, and ultimately to be able to control those appliances.

This resolution is non binding.  Some Council members expressed a desire to take stronger action up to or including an outright ban on the new meters, or a requirement that DTE obtain a license from the city prior to installing these meters.

Here are links to the resolution itself, and to a story which appeared in the Macomb Daily concerning this action:

Warren City Council Resolution

Warren Wants to Drop Smart Meters

Shelby Township Passes ‘Smart’ Meter Resolution

August 16th, 2011 – The Board of Trustees of Shelby Township, Michigan unanimously passed a resolution to the Michigan Public Utilities Commission (MPSC), asking that state regulatory body to “perform a careful analysis of the potential health and safety effects which may result from the universal installation of smart meters for electric and gas utilities.”

At the time the resolution passed no mass deployment of the ‘smart’ meters had yet happened in the township.  The resolution further calls for a delay in deployment of the meters pending conclusion of the above analysis.  Much of the language echos that of the Oak Park resolution reported earlier, except that this one also adds a specific request that the MPSC “perform a careful analysis of the potential privacy issues regarding available and future ‘smart meter’ technology.

This resolution came about as a result of months of persuasion at meetings of the Board by residents of Shelby Township and other citizens of Macomb County, Michigan who complained of the “no opt-out policy” announced by the electric utility Detroit Edison (DTE).

Many citizens felt that Shelby Township Board should have taken stronger action such as a moratorium or ordinance banning the new meters.

Full text of the resolution can be found here:
Shelby Township resolution

Oak Park Passes Resolution Against Smart Meters

June 20, 2011 -The City Council of Oak Park, Michigan unanimously passed a resolution on this day to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) “expressing Council’s concern with the installation of DTE Energy Smart Meters and a request to explore the health and safety effects.”

Emblem of the City of Oak Park, MichiganAt the time the resolution was passed DTE had already installed the new meters in the majority of Oak Park homes.  Some homeowners had refused installation and had been put on a “delayed install list”.  The utility had informed them that sooner or later they would have to accept the new meter.

Council noted that ‘smart’ electric meters provide a benefit to utilities by allowing remote meter reading and eliminating the need for someone to go onto each customer’s property to read a meter.

At the same time Council noted that a significant number of persons, including residents of Oak Park, have expressed their concerns about potential health effects of the ‘smart’ meters, as well as other concerns regarding their universal deployment in the City.

As one who attended and addressed Council at a number of these meetings, I can testify that concerns expressed by residents were about equally divided between health concerns and privacy concerns.  Many noted that a great deal of information about a homeowner’s daily activities could be gathered by these new meters and that homeowners could have no assurance that the utility would not sell this information to marketing companies, or that the data could not be hacked into by others, including burglars.  Others spoke of having medical conditions known to be aggravated by electromagnetic radiation, or spoke of heart pacemakers and other such devices.

Speeches at these Council meetings were often heated largely because the utility had an announced policy of “no op-outs”.  The utility was, in fact, threatening homeowners who refused the new meters with having their electric power cut off.

The MPSC was requested to “delay the deployment of smart meters, pending a conclusion by MPSC, that such meters are safe and will not have short-term or long-term negative consequences to the citizens of Oak Park” and to “carefully examine other concerns that may be submitted to them  by residents … to insure that all aspects of the issue are considered before final determination …”

The city’s Mayor, Gerald Naftaly, also expressed an intention for the city to work in cooperation with other Michigan cities through an inter city organization known as the Michigan League of Cities to express common concerns of all the city governments to the MPSC.

The full text of the resolution can be found here: Oak_Park_Smart_Meter_Resolution