Letter to Answer DTE Opt-Out Notice

(your name)
(your street address)
(your city, state, zip)

(date you will send letter)

Advanced Metering Team
DTE Energy Company
One Energy Plaza,
Detroit, MI  48226

This letter is in response to your letter describing the “opt-out” program DTE has established with respect to “smart” electric meters.

We understand that the Michigan Court of Appeals (COA), in January 2015, declined to reverse the decision of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) with respect to your “opt-out” program. But the MPSC decision itself did not make smart meters a condition of service, but merely asserted that MPSC had no jurisdiction to specify the types of meters you could use. The COA decision, in turn, merely agreed with MPSC that it had no jurisdiction in this area. Hence neither decision actually made smart meters a requirement of law or a condition for receiving electric service.

Please be advised we do not choose to enroll in the opt-out program as described in your letter because it does not provide a true opt-out as was demanded by over 400 customers and 35 city governments.  Your letter states that a “non transmitting digital meter” will be installed, but it is our understanding this meter is an “advanced meter” or “smart meter” with the radio turned off.

We believe your company does not have the right to force installation of any “advanced meter” which will cause customers health problems or invade their privacy.  Your tariff, MPSC regulations and state law all give you the right to install a “meter” as that term is defined in the law.  The definition of meter does not encompass a surveillance device or a device that may be injurious to health.  We insist on the right to have our electricity usage monitored by the traditional analog or electro-mechanical meter, at least until such time as another acceptable alternative can be made available.

We will refuse installation of any “advanced meter”.  To that end we have posted a sign next to the meter denying such installation, and may take further steps such as the placing of a lock on the meter housing or maintaining a locked gate to deny entry to your installers.

Any retaliatory action by your company, including termination of electrical service, will result in our bringing or joining a lawsuit in defense of our rights as utility customers.

 (your signature(s) )

 (your printed name(s) )

27 thoughts on “Letter to Answer DTE Opt-Out Notice

    • Dr. Kabish, If you have any kind of word processor such as Microsoft Word, simply copy and paste the suggested letter from our website into your word processor. The green text or “comment lines” can then easily be replaced by information that is applicable to your own case – such as your name and address, the date you plan to mail the letter and so on. If you do not have a word processor you could simply type the letter using our web page as a guide and modifying as needed.

  1. Thanks for the info. Just 2 days ago I got a notice posted to my door about needing to enter my house for the gas meter that is in my basement. The electric is on the outside of my house. I did not even know they were also going to put one on the inside of my house too. As I type I see the Gas truck parked on my street. Is this gas meter a smart meter too? I have not called or officially opted out yet for either. My husband just told DTE at the door we were still educating our self on the meters. Our meter in the yard is locked. Not sure what to do except wait it out. Kathy

    • Kathy,DTE has a program called “Meter Move Out” (MMOP). The purpose is to move gas meters from people’s basements to the outside of their home, so that meter readers will have better access and there will be fewer estimated bills. Also to facilitate meter inspections, safety inspections, and replacement of meters when needed. This program may or may not also involve attaching a smart gas module. It is quite possible that, once all the meters in a neighborhood are outside the houses, a separate DTE crew will come through the neighborhood to attach the smart gas modules. They are going to tell you that MMOP is mandatory and if you don’t go along they will likely turn off your gas. This has happened to others. The Public Service Commission has never issued an order making outside gas meters mandatory, just as they have never issued an order making smart meters mandatory. Instead they try to sneak these things through by pretending they are only approving a cost recovery for smart meters or for meter move outs. You will be in a better situation to prevent a smart gas module if you can keep it in the basement. But if you choose that course be prepared for a battle before the Public Service Commission or in court. I am currently assisting someone who fought the MMOP and is currently without heat under severe winter conditions.

    • We just got our letter from DTE here in Grosse Pointe that they will be “upgrading” our elec and gas meters with smart meters in the coming weeks. of course, they offer the opt-out program to disable the radio communication. We’ve had a tater guard on our elec meter (located outside at rear of home) for several months now. The gas meter is in the basement. I’m curious what you make of this recent development in Macomb county where DTE actually turned off her service due to her refusal to install a smart meter and installation of a lock over the analog meter…

      http://www.macombdaily.com/general-news/20150409/some-smart-meter-foes-in-macomb-county-have-electricity-shut-off

  2. I’m in Dearborn and they have warned me that they’ve tried to install twice and this will be my last time. I don’t know what they will do after that time. My house was built in 1935 and really cant withstand the new digital meter. I’ve got the original wires in my home. I am afraid once they install it I will be in fear of fire for the rest of my time in this house, and children live here. I already have trouble with my electricity in half my home, that I cant afford to fix at this time. I really think the digital meter will push it over the edge. I will try the lock but there the hole for the lock is very small. My gate is broken where the lock should go and don’t have money for a chain right now. I cant spend much time outside in the cold due to asthma. I am so nervous about this. I DO NOT want the new meter installed.

    • Edie, I recommend that you call John Tatar at (734) 968-4715. He will come to your home and install what we are calling the ‘Tatar guard’ at a price you probably can afford. It is a device that will attach to your meter housing (your property) and prevent replacement of the meter without your knowledge and consent. I would also strongly recommend you put a sign next to your meter stating that “I refuse consent for installation of a so called ‘smart meter’ or similar device”. On this sign you might also indicate that one of your reasons for refusal (in addition to health and privacy) is fear of fire due to the age of wiring in the house. The last I heard everyone who has installed one of these guards and continued to stand their ground has NOT had a smart meter installed and has NOT had their power turned off. Good luck!

    • I am in Dearborn and locked my meter and gate and they were out to the house this last week and my husband told them we were still educating ourselves on the meter and had not decided yet. Today we got the letter that they will shut off our power in 30 days if we do not have it installed.

      • Kathy, The 30 day letter you mention has been received by many others (more than 30 days ago) and they have not been shutoff. The 30 day letter is designed to scare people into submitting to a smart meter. We have not heard of a single instance of an actual shutoff due entirely to a refusal to permit a smart meter installation. The time to be concerned is when you get an actual shutoff notice. It would say “Shutoff Notice” in large letters at the top, followed by a date certain on or after which electricity will be shutoff, and list your appeal rights.

  3. I refused july 17, 2014…installation of a smart meter. .I just received a letter saying i have 30 days to give access to install smart meter, or they may shut off ot terminate service….Please advise….What about the covers i have seen on internet…do they work??

      • Jason, Good for you man. We are in an area of law that is not well settled. There will likely be no resolution of this issue until one of us manages to get a test case ruled on by a Michigan circuit court AND manages to survive the inevitable appeal. The letter I have recommended people send is designed, not to stop DTE in its tracks, but to establish an appropriate legal foundation for later action in court. To stop them some person or group WILL have to bring a lawsuit seeking a court order or injunction declaring DTE’s forced installations to be illegal and commanding them to cease and desist from this practice. We are hopeful we can organize a multi-plaintiff suit for that purpose so that the costs for any one plaintiff can be minimized. All I can tell you at this point is that those who have firmly defended their original analog meters still have those meters and have NOT had their service interrupted. As to those who have replaced a smart meter with an analog meter, there have been two test cases so far that were filed two years ago. In one the judge ruled against DTE. In the other the judge ruled for DTE but the case is currently in the Michigan Court of Appeals. For more information please see my essay “Is There a Silver Bullet for ‘Smart” Meters in Michigan?” at this link: https://michiganstopsmartmeters.com/2014/10/29/is-there-a-silver-bullet-for-smart-meters-in-michigan/

  4. On Halloween the power to half of my house went out. I was told by DTE that a tree branch had burned out a wire connected to one of the terminals. They came out the next day and “fixed” the issue, however they have left my analog meter hanging. It is not currently hooked up to record my power usage. DTE has told me that they are going to install a smart meter and would let me know with a letter when they will come back to do this. We DO NOT want a smart meter. It’s been two weeks and they still have not sent a letter or returned. My issue is, how can I avoid a smart meter installation if my analog meter is already unhooked? I fear is that they will refuse to reinstall my analog meter an force a digital. What’s the best thing to do? Should I hire an electrician to reinstall the analog meter?

    • YES! This is a bizarre situation – that they would let you have electricity for free for 2 weeks. There must have been damage to the meter socket for them to leave things like this. They will not be able to plug in either an analog or a smart meter until this problem is fixed. If you own the house it is your responsibility to provide the wiring and the meter socket. All their people do is plug a meter into your socket. They do not provide the socket or mount it. My suggestions are: (1) take a photo to document how things were left 2 weeks ago by their workers, (2) hire an electrician to install a new meter socket and repair any wiring, (3) plug the analog meter back in so that you are paying for the electricity you are using, (4) take a photo to document that the situation has been corrected, (5) promptly notify the utility by certified letter that you have completed repairs and do not consent to the installation of a “smart” meter and (6) make sure you post a sign next to the meter that you do not consent to installation of a “smart” meter. You might want to attach copies of the before and after photos to your letter. If you wait for the utility to resolve this whole situation you will wind up with a smart meter. Another concern would be if much time passes with no action and you can’t prove that utility workers left the meter hanging, you might be charged with using unmetered electricity.

  5. Has anyone notified dte that they want to keep their existing meter and dte has complied I do not want this smart meter I want to keep my existing meter. I am planning to opt out do they send a letter. Today I came home there was a note in the door informing me that dte was performing upgrades in the area over the next few weeks but I have not received any letter giving me the option to opt out of having the meter installed. The note stated that it was wire upgrades more trimming and that they would send a letter out if service would be disrupted. Don’t they have to turn off power to install. I don’t want this smart meter and I don’t want to come home and find it installed with out having the chance to opt out

    • Deb, DTE is now forcing installation of smart meters even on some of the people who padlocked their meters and posted signs. Nevertheless we strongly recommend that you discourage an installation by putting a padlock on your meter housing and posting a sign next to your meter that says “We do not consent to a smart meter installation”. You should also write a letter to DTE refusing a smart meter installation. DTE seldom if ever informs any customer that there is an opt-out plan unless they have first met with some resistance on installing a regular smart meter. We suggest you send the sample letter on this page. Just eliminate the first 2 paragraphs since they have not yet told you about the opt-out plan. Know also that their “opt-out meter” is a sham. It is still a smart meter (with radio turned off) and that they will be charging you extra fees indefinitely for the privilege of having this sham meter. Your best course of action is to hang on to your analog meter as long as you can.

  6. I just received this letter today, it states that over the next two weeks they will be in my area (Garden City) to be putting these meters in and of course if I wish to opt out byt they still put these smart meters in. I have a locked yard where my electric meter is, in the summer they just removed my gas meter out of my basement to the out side but that is right by my bedroom window on the side of house that is out from yard. I am sick and have no idea how to lock up these meters or cage the gas meter and lock it up. I feel lost. When they get this letter I fear they will be here immediately. Some sites say they send you letter 1, then 2. This letter I got today doesn’t say that the state (as in letter 1) said they can do this. This is the very first and only letter I’ve gotten stating in two weeks they will be in this area putting these meters in but I can opt out, blah, blah, blah.

    I do not want the removal of my analog meters. But I’m a 56 yr. old woman that has multiple medical problems and have no idea how to lock up my meters. Hell I’m out of work living on a dwindling savings account with no $ of any kind coming in.

    Is there anybody I can contact to help me. I would have to buy, and I’ve been on other sites they are talking steel link chains, special locks, other things to leave no space so they can be cut off by DTE. my God I feel overwhelmed. Would there be somebody I could contact if I buy what is needed to do the work. But in reality I don’t much money to pay anybody to do this for me. I feel right now with this two week letter I may find them already here.

    I don’t want them on my property. I questioned this move out (gas meter) out of the basement crap. I knew I had no gas leak as they claimed. Obvious now what it was really for.

    Feeling helpless right now.

    • Longshot, All you really need is a sign and a padlock you can buy in any KMart for about $5.00. There is no guarantee they won’t cut the padlock off but we are finding in most cases this is enough to sotp them. Some people have gone in for much more elaborate things like iron bars or cages, but this may be overkill. The sign you can print on your home printer or hand letter. It just needs to say that you do not consent to installation of any smart meter whether radio is turned on or off and it needs to be laminated in plastic to protect from the weather. You can get this done at most office supply stores or at Fedex/Kinkos for a couple of bucks. You should also send DTE a letter indicating your refusal. The form letter at the top of this page only needs your name, address and the date added and it is already correctly addressed to DTE.
      Good luck!

    • longshot ,,,im in westland ,,ill come over and look at it ,,did mine today was a bit overkill on mind,,,but we are talking about our health

      • Gas Meter Chained & Locked, Electric Locked with multiple locks and objects to cover loop. 4 signs up. Sad we have to go through all this. This is My House, I paid for it and I own it not DTE. I feel like the Peter Finch character Howard Beale in Network.

        They’re crazy.
        It’s like everything’s going crazy. So we don’t go out any
        more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we live in
        gets smaller, and all we ask is please, at least leave us alone
        in our own living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV
        and my hair-dryer and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say
        anything, just leave us alone.

        Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad —

        All I know is first you got to get mad. You’ve got to say: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more. I’m a human being, goddammit. My life has value.”

        Damn Right.

  7. I had an agreement with DTE back in 2002 that they would put back my analog meter and never install digital, I was a test house back then and my bills doubled. I filed court papers with my local court and DTE chose to settle out of court instead. They adjusted my bill AND PUT BACK ON THE ANALOG METER WHICH THEY KNEW I HAS GOING TO LOCK AND IS STILL LOCKED TO THIS DAY. Of course when I call to remind them of this agreement they say they don’t have documentation from back then and give me the run around. Thank you for your information I will be sending out the letter to Opt-Out tomorrow.

  8. Thanks for the sample letter. One comment – is there a typo in the last sentence? – should it read “… lawsuit in defense of our rights as utility customers.”

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