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March 3rd, 2015 – Sterling Heights City Council to Request Legal Opinion from Michigan’s Attorney General.
By unanimous consent of Council, at their February 28th meeting, the city administration has drafted a new smart meter resolution. This one calls for a legal opinion from Michigan’s Attorney General as to whether Sterling Heights, or any home rule city, has the legal power to enact a smart meter ordinance. Councilman Romano made the proposal and gave a full update to Council on the city’s smart meter efforts, beginning with the unenforceable 2012 moratorium. His talk can be viewed in the below video:

Councilman Romano w counter(Click here to bring up the video of entire Council meeting, then fast forward to 2:02:23 to reach beginning of Romano’s statement)

The opinion being requested from the Attorney General asks three questions:

“Whether a Michigan home rule city has the authority to prohibit the installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (a/k/a Smart Meters) on residences?”

“Whether a Michigan home rule city has the authority to regulate the installation of Smart Meters to protect residents who prefer to retain their electromechanical meter as an alternative to the non-transmitting Smart Meter available under the utility’s opt-out program?”

“Whether a Michigan home rule city has the authority to prohibit the imposition of a fee for those customers who elect to participate in the Smart Meter op-out program?”

To read the full text of the agenda item and proposed resolution, Sterling Heights – Atty Gen Opinion Requested

This resolution is to be voted on tonight, March 3rd. There is little doubt it will pass since Council was unanimous in requesting that it be drafted and it appears to have full support of the city administration and city attorney.

Apparently a request for such a legal opinion must come from a state legislator, so Rep Henry Yanez, who recently chaired a meeting on smart meters, will be requested to make the formal request to Attorney General Bill Schuette.

If the Attorney General indicates that the city has certain powers to act in this matter, even if those powers are somewhat circumscribed, the city seems ready to pass an ordinance that would afford some protection to residential customers. The opinion will, in all liklihood, determine whether we can get other cities to do the same.

Jackie Ryan, a Sterling Heights resident, has been spearheading the citizen protests in Sterling Heights.