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(Updated May 29th, 2017)

May 27th, 2017 – An Opportunity to Show Support for Chairman Glenn’s Efforts to Move Michigan Toward a Freer Energy Environment – We strongly encourage all smart meter activists who can to attend the hearing of the Michigan House Energy Committee on Tuesday May 30th at 9 am in the Anderson House Office Building, Room 519, at 124 North Capitol Avenue, Lansing. There is a parking ramp 2 blocks north of the Anderson building on Capitol Avenue.

Chairman Gary Glenn has arranged for two of the leading proponents of replacing some of the regulation with more competition in the energy markets. This program should be quite different from some of the industry and state government people who have testified up to now.

Smart meters are just one example of what happens when there is too much monopoly power. Utilities in Michigan are forcing us to take these unwanted meters while at the same time charging us some of the highest rates in the midwest and providing less reliability and fewer choices.

The experts Glenn is bringing in can provide competent testimony about what happens when utility customers have more choices:

Todd Snitchler is former Chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). He was first appointed in 2011 by Governor John Kasich and served on that commission until 2014. He is now a practicing attorney. Under Snitchler’s leadership Ohio made major progress in moving its utility industry away from a highly regulated model toward more competition and innovation. A scholarly article discussing utility deregulation in that state with many citations to his contributions can be found here:

http://cua6.urban.csuohio.edu/publications/center/center_for_economic_development/ElectricityMarketsInOhio

Dr. Gary L. Wolfram, an adjunct scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, is a Professor of Economics at Hillsdale College. In 2015 he released his new study Improving Michigan’s Electric Utility Industry. In the study, Wolfram highlights inefficiencies in Michigan’s regulated energy sector and recommends that legislative action is needed to control costs, reduce pollution and improve outcomes. A discussion of his work may be found here:

http://www.micef.org/press/2015/9/17/hillsdale-economist-gary-wolfram-releases-energy-study-improving-michigans-electric-utility-industry-released-today

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MARCH 5TH, 2017 – The Michigan House Energy Committee will hold its second hearing Tuesday March 7th at 9 am, on House Bill 4220,energymtg2-02212017 proposed legislation that would assure utility customers (electric, gas and water) of a choice to have or keep their analog meters at a minimal fee or no fee if they self read.

please-attend-hearingPlease attend the second Analog Meter Choice hearing this coming Tuesday. If you want to present testimony, please come prepared to speak and fill out a card before start of meeting. Those who come to speak should dress professionally. However, since the hearing is only 90 minutes long, know that there may not be time for your testimony to be heard this Tuesday. More hearings may be scheduled in the future. You can always email your testimony to the members of the Energy Policy Committee before House Bill 4220 Analog Meter Choice legislation is voted on in Committee.  We don’t know when this vote will take place, but we will keep you posted.

INFORMATION FOR THOSE ATTENDING

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by Jeanine Deal

March 1st, 2017 – Before next Tuesday, please call one or more of the Energy Policy Committee members, and ask them to support HB 4220, Utility Meter Choice.

Then, please plan on attending the next public hearing for HB 4220 in Lansing on Tuesday, March 7th, at 9 am, in the Anderson House Office Building (across from the Lansing Capitol Building).

Please pass this message on to all you know in favor of this legislation.  Thank You!

Energy Committee members and contact information (sponsor and co-sponsors noted, no need to call them):

Gary Glenn (R) Committee Chair 98th District (Sponsor of HB 4220 – no need to call unless to say “Thank you!”)
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/glenn/
Phone: 517-373-1791
Email: GaryGlenn@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/098.pdf
Bay County (part):  Auburn city, Beaver Township,  Fraser Township,  Garfield Township,  Gibson Township.  Midland city (part):  Mount Forest Township,  Pinconning city,  Pinconning Township,  Williams Township.  Midland County (part):  Homer Township,  Jerome Township,  Larkin Township,  Lee Township,  Lincoln Township,  Midland city (part),  Midland Township

Roger Hauck (R) Majority Vice-Chair, 99th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/hauck/ Phone: (517) 373-1789
Email: RogerHauck@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/hauck/district-map/
Isabella County, Midland County (part),  Coleman city,  Edenville Township,  Geneva Township,  Greendale Township,  Hope Township,  Ingersoll Township,  Jasper Township,  Mills Township,  Mount Haley Township,  Porter Township,  Warren Township

Tom Barrett (R) 71st District (Co-sponsor of HB 4220 – no need to call unless to say “Thank you!”)
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/barrett/
Phone: 517-373-0853
Email: 
TomBarrett@house.mi.gov
District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/071.pdf
Eaton County (part),  Bellevue Township,  Benton Township,  Carmel Township,  Charlotte city,  Chester Township,  Delta Charter Township,  Eaton Township (part),  Eaton Rapids Township,  Grand Ledge city (part),  Kalamo Township,  Lansing city (part),  Olivet city,  Oneida Charter Township,  Potterville city,  Roxand Township,  Sunfield Township,  Vermontville Township,  Walton Township,  Windsor Charter Township

Tristin Cole (R) 105th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/northernmi/cole/
Phone: 517-373-0829
Email: 
TristonCole@house.mi.gov
District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/105.pdf
Antrim County, Charlevoix County, Montmorency County, Oscoda County, Otsego County

Jim Tedder (R) 43rd District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/southeast/tedder/
Phone: 517-373-0615
Email: 
JimTedder@house.mi.gov
District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/043.pdf
Oakland County (part),  Independence Township,  Lake Angelus city,  Village of Clarkston city,  Waterford Township (part)

Joseph Bellino (R) 17th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/southeast/bellino/
Phone: (517) 373-1530
Email: JosephBellino@house.mi.gov
District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/017.pdf
Monroe County (part):  Ash Township,  Berlin Township,  Exeter Township,  Frenchtown Township,  London Township,  Monroe city,  Monroe Township (part).  Wayne County (part):  Flat Rock city,  Rockwood city,  Sumpter Township

Diana Farrington (R) 30th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/southeast/diana-farrington/
Phone: 517-373-7768
Email: DianaFarrington@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/030.pdf
Macomb County (part):  Shelby Charter Township (part),  Sterling Heights city (part),  Utica city

Beth Griffin (R) 66th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/griffin/ Phone: (517) 373-0839
Email: BethGriffin@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/066.pdf
Kalamazoo County (part):  Alamo Township,  Cooper Township,  Parchment city, Van Buren County

Steven Johnson (R) 72nd District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/westmi/johnson/
Phone: (517) 373-0840
Email: StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/072.pdf
Allegan County (part):  Dorr Township,  Leighton Township,  Wayland city,  Wayland Township.  Kent County (part):  Gaines Township,  Kentwood city

Beau LaFave (R) 108th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/up/lafave/
Phone: (517) 373-0156
Email: BeauLaFave@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/108.pdf
Delta County, Dickinson County, Menominee County

James Lower (R) 70th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/lower/
Phone: (517) 373-0834
Email: JamesLower@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/070.pdf
Gratiot County (part):  Alma city,  Arcada Township (part),  Bethany Township,  Emerson Township (part),  Pine River Township,  St Louis city,  Seville Township, Montcalm County

John Reilly (R) 46th District
Web page: http://gophouse.org/representatives/southeast/reilly/
Phone: 517-373-1798
Email: JohnReilly@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://gophouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/046.pdf
Oakland County (part):  Addison Township,  Brandon Township,  Oakland Charter Township (part),  Orion Township,  Oxford Township

Donna Lasinski (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 52nd District
Web page: http://housedems.com/state-rep-donna-lasinski
Phone: (517) 373-0828
Email: DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://housedems.com/district-52-map
Washtenaw County (part): Ann Arbor city (part), Bridgewater Township, Chelsea city, Dexter Township, Freedom Township, Lima Township, Lodi Township, Lyndon Township, Manchester Township, Northfield Township, Salem Township, Saline city, Saline Township, Scio Township, Sharon Township, Sylvan Township, Webster Township

Scott Dianda (D) 110th District (Co-sponsor of HB 4220 – no need to call unless to say “Thank you!”)
Web page: http://housedems.com/state-rep-scott-dianda
Phone: (517) 373-0850
Email: scottdianda@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://housedems.com/district-110-map
Baraga County, Gogebic County, Houghton County, Iron County, Keweenaw County, Marquette County (part): Ishpeming Township, Powell Township, Ontonagon County

John Kivela (D) 109th District
Web page: http://housedems.com/state-rep-john-kivela
Phone: (517) 373-0498
Email: johnkivela@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://housedems.com/district-109-map
Alger County, Luce County, Marquette County (part): Champion Township, Chocolay Township, Ely Township, Ewing Township, Forsyth Township, Humboldt Township, Ishpeming city, Marquette city, Marquette Township, Michigamme Township, Negaunee city, Negaunee Township, Republic Township, Richmond Township, Sands Township, Skandia Township, Tilden Township, Turin Township, Wells Township, West Branch Township, Schoolcraft County

LaTonya Garrett (D) 7th District (Co-sponsor to HB 4220 – no need to call unless to say “Thank you!”)
Web page: http://housedems.com/state-rep-latanya-garrett
Phone: (517) 373-2276
Email: LaTanyaGarrett@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://housedems.com/district-7-map
Wayne county (part), Detroit city (part), Highland Park city

Darrin Camilleri (D) 23rd District
Web page: http://housedems.com/state-rep-darrin-camilleri
Phone: (517) 373-0855
Email: DarrinCamilleri@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://housedems.com/district-23-map
Monroe

Brian Elder (D) 96th District
Web page: http://housedems.com/state-rep-brian-elder
Phone: (517) 373-0158
Email: BrianElder@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://housedems.com/district-96-map
Bay County (part): Bangor Township, Bay City city, Essexville city, Frankenlust Township, Hampton Township, Kawkawlin Township, Merritt Township, Monitor Township, Portsmouth Township

Patrick Green (D) 28th District
Web page: http://housedems.com/state-rep-patrick-green
Phone: (517) 373-1772
Email: PatrickGreen@house.mi.gov

District Map: http://housedems.com/district-28-map
Macomb County (part): Center Line city, Warren city (part)

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by David Sheldon

February 27th, 2017 – All of us who care about the meter choice issue owe a debt of gratitude to Mark Lerner and the organization he represents, Constitutional Alliance. Mark has given generously of his time and experience in legislative matters to assist us in achieving meter choice legislation. Constitutional Alliance has, as its main issue, a campaign against forced biometrics. One of the central principles of his group is A free society and a surveillance society cannot be reconciled. Biometrics is the linchpin to a surveillance society.”

Forced biometrics involves the Real ID Act, any requirement that people submit to high resolution facial photographs or retina scans for id purposes. These technologies pose an unprecedented threat to human freedom, in a society where there are high resolution cameras on every street corner. Individuals can be tracked with precision and all their movements stored in a central database. The ability of individuals to participate freely in political discourse or protest demonstrations becomes chilled in direct proportion to this breakdown of anonymity.

Mark saw in our smart meter movement issues and positions, particularly those dealing with privacy, freedom from surveillance and property rights, very much in harmony with what those for which his organization stands. Mark regularly works with legislators in many states to resolve issues involving privacy and biometrics. He has worked with us in recent years to help persuade Michigan legislators of the need for meter choice legislation. His efforts, along with our own, have brought us to the point where we have House Bill 4220 being heard by the House Energy Committee and a real shot at getting this legislation passed – at least by the House.

Michigan Stop Smart Meters is and has been from the beginning a non-partisan organization. We are not right or left. We have not so far endorsed any candidate for political office. If we do so in future, we will pick candidates who have helped us in our smart meter fight, regardless of party. Mark has written an excellent commentary on similar principles his organization follows titled My own appreciation for the organizations that work together to protect our freedom” here.

Again, thank you Mark for all you have done!

 

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AN EXCELLENT BILL THAT NEEDS A TWEAK
(Revised 2/27/17)

by David Sheldon

February 25th, 2017 Last Tuesday we filled the hearing room and much of the overflow room of the House Energy Committee. This was the first of two hearings for testimony on House Bill 4220, the proposed law that would guarantee meter choice to utility customers. energymtg2-02212017The second meeting on the bill will take place March 7th at 9 am, again in the House Office Building, Room 517, 124 North Capitol Avenue, Lansing, at 9 am. We urge as many as possible to attend this hearing as well.

WATCH 90 MINUTE VIDEO OF THE MEETING HERE!

The meeting began with a very strong presentation by Chairman Glenn, the bill sponsor, as to why his proposed legislation is needed. Glenn stressed “this is not a technical bill” and “does not require Committee members to have technical knowledge” of the utility business. It is, he stated, a “philosophical bill” that only requires a simple recognition that people should have control of what is done on their property. He said it is “none of our business” why people don’t want the advanced meters, whether it be privacy, health or something else.

This was followed by a number of spirited presentations by advocates for the bill that covered the health, privacy and fire issues. Included were presentations by electrical engineer William Bathgate, by retired fire chief Duane Roddy and by former Rep Tom McMillin who had chaired the smart meter hearing two years ago. Many who had signed up to speak were unable to do so in the limited time and may get their chance at the March 7th continuation of hearings on this bill. As it is possible there will again not be time for all to speak, we recommend taking your written comments or exhibits to the hearing with 25 copies to hand out. If you are not able to attend the hearing you may submit your comments by email to the Committee Clerk, kgawronski@house.mi.gov

We are optimistic about what this bill will do. The bill respects property rights and freedom of choice for utility customers. If passed in its present form it will allow utility customers to choose whether or not to give up privacy in order to gain other touted benefits of the new technology. The bill, as written, will also allow every customer who had a smart meter installed before the effective date of this legislation, to have that meter removed and replaced with a traditional meter – all at no charge. That would cover nearly all of the 3 million plus smart meters already installed. Going forward, the $150 smart meter removal fee could only be charged to customers who agreed to take a smart meter and then changed their mind after it was installed. The bill also will eliminate ongoing monthly opt-out fees for all customers who are willing to report their own meter readings.

We must acknowledge the contribution of another smart meter leader who has pointed out, correctly, that a certain ambiguity in the present language of the bill could allow some utilities to claim that digital electronic meters they were installing long before smart meters are, in some sense, “traditional”, and thereby satisfy the requirements of the legislation. While this is a concern to many of us, our legislative process provides opportunities to remove these ambiguities. Some of us who will testify on March 7th will raise this issue but we hope none will forget to emphasize what is right with the bill and our appreciation for the efforts and risks legislators have taken to bring it to this point.

At this critical time, we need to focus on building momentum for a bill that resolves many of our issues. We have lived too long without a bill that will protect us. Let’s work hard together right now to get the bill passed.

Hearings on this bill will continue on March 7th at 9 am. Consumers Energy was expecting to testify at this hearing but time ran out so that they are now scheduled to be first up at the next hearing.

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The Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission will be making an extended presentation to the Energy Committee on February 28th. There are several proposed laws before the Energy Committee now in which MPSC has an interest. Keep in mind that the reason for our present predicament is the deceptive conduct and miserable failure of her agency to protect the utility customers. She will try to defend her agency’s performance. She might include in her testimony the view of her agency on our proposed smart meter bill. It may be worthwhile for any of our movement who can do so to attend that hearing also and to sign up to make a short public comment expressing our frustration with how her agency has dealt with us.

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PARKING INFORMATION:

Townsend parking ramp – at corner of Capitol and Allegan streets.
This one is the closest – 2 block walk to House Office Bldg, but sometimes this ramp is open to permit holders only.
http://mi-lansing.civicplus.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/Townsend-Ramp-120

North Capitol parking ramp, 316 North Capitol Ave
This one is 2 blocks north of House Office Bldg.
http://mi-lansing.civicplus.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/North-Capitol-Ramp-119

South Capitol parking ramp, 320 South Capitol Ave
This one is 4 blocks south of House Office Bldg.
http://mi-lansing.civicplus.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/South-Capitol-Ramp-118

On street (metered parking) – is available on a number of streets near House Office Bldg. But there is a 2 hour time limit and rate is $1.25/hour.

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FIRST MEETING OF THE
MICHIGAN HOUSE ENERGY COMMITTEE

February 7th, 2017 – On this day the first (organizational) meeting took place for the Energy Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives, mich-house-energy-policy-committee-2017Chaired by Rep Gary Glenn. This is a new day for meter choice legislation because the new chairman, unlike his predecessor, strongly supports our cause and the cause of energy consumers generally.

We think all Michigan smart meter activists will be heartened to watch the entire first meeting under Rep Glenn’s leadership. Clearly he intends to fight for energy consumers at all levels – residential customers, school systems and large industrial users of electricity. He makes the point that school systems, for example, will be able to hire more teachers with the money they save when they have a choice of energy provider.

Rep Glenn believes the whole matter of whether DTE and Consumers should have a full monopoly in their respective service territories should be re-evaluated, notwithstanding the legislation that was passed in December of 2016.

Glenn stresses that the smart meter issue is basically one of property rights and a monopoly utility being able to force new and unwanted technology on its customers. Smart meter activists will find his remarks on that subject 12 minutes and 30 seconds into the meeting, which can be viewed HERE.

PLEASE CHECK OUR HOME PAGE FOR OTHER NEW ARTICLES!

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Poisoning of Drinking Water, Schools and Homes
By David Sheldon

There is much in the news about the Flint Water Crisis and rightly so. But the countless individuals and families who have been forced to accept a cancer causing surveillance device in their homes are not being so reported by our major news media. Nor are those who, refusing such a glass of polluted drinking waterhome invasion, have had their electric service cutoff! Even senior citizens dependent on medical machinery! What do a water crisis, a school health crisis and utility crisis have in common? A Michigan Governor we fault, not on partisan grounds, but because of his repeated tendency to make dangerous decisions through surrogates while assuming no responsibility for consequences!

News media following the water crisis are constantly asking the question about our Governor “What did he know and when did he know it?” It seems clear now that he knew for many months that the people of Flint were being poisoned with bad water and did nothing to remedy the situation. At the same time the news media is much reporting the situation with Detroit Public Schools where children are routinely exposed to mold and rats. Both of these crisis scenarios are apparently the result of decisions made by Emergency Managers our Governor appointed to make decisions that arguably should have been made by others closer to the scene, or by others democratically elected.

But there is a third crisis-in-the-making not much reported by our mass media. That is the sickness, breach of privacy and utility shutoffs caused by the so called “smart” electric meter programs. Countless individualsLogo of Liz Barris website and paper and families have had their lives turned upside down. Some by questionable devices forcibly installed on their homes without their informed consent. Other families, who refused these devices, are enduring a severe Michigan winter without electric service. Both DTE and Consumers Energy are doing this with the complicity of the Michigan Public Service Commission, the regulatory body that is supposed to protect utility customers.

The Governor’s hand can be seen in this too as the MPSC consists of commissioners appointed by the Governor who quite apparently are taking their marching orders from the Governor and his hand picked Energy Czar, Valerie Brader. The MPSC will allow no hearing on any of the health or privacy violations of the new utility meters. The Governor’s energy policies are also being advanced by the Chairman of the House Energy Committee, Aric Nesbitt, who refuses to allow any hearing concerning the new utility meters or of any energy legislation not favored by the Governor.

Where is this third crisis-in-the-making taking us? Not only to unjust utility shutoffs but to a future of ruined lives – of people who can no longer live in their own homes and those who have or will contract cancer or neurological illnesses such as Parkinsons disease or dementia. There are 12 members of the Michigan House that have cosponsored legislation to stop this violation of human rights. We think this too will lead once more to the question about our Governor “What did he know and when did he know it?”