February 23rd, 2012 – 109 Texas Citizens Press Texas Public Utilities Commission to Act on “Smart” Meters – In a legal filing today Texas utility customers asked for legal relief against the bullying actions of a number of Texas electric utilities.   They are seeking to have their case heard by an Administrative Law Judge.  A key assertion was that:

“In order to persuade consumers to permit the installation of smart meters on their residences and businesses some and, perhaps all, utilities and purveyors have engaged in egregious misconduct, engaging in deliberately fraudulent representations and fraudulently withholding vital information material to the consumer’s informed consent, and where fraud was insufficient such utilities and purveyors have engaged in unlawful duress and even unlawful force.”  (Does this sound familiar folks?)

Many specific examples of fraudulent statements are cited, including “implicating personnel of the PUC … by persuading them to fraudulently respond to complaints and inquiries by concerned citizens that ‘Customers do not have the opportunity to opt out of having their meter replaced with an AMS meter’ even though the PUC official could not pretend to be unaware of … “ (Texas law to the contrary)  (Does this sound familiar?)

The parallels to our own situation here in Michigan seem all too obvious.

The specific remedies sought by the Texans are very enlightening.  If they get even half of what they are asking for they will have killed smart meters in their state.  Their filing was prepared by or under the supervision of an attorney.  Click here to review their entire petition. 

Where are we here in Michigan?  We have a Public Services Commission which has failed to exercise proper supervision of the meter rollout in our state, and whose staff people routinely tell consumers they have no choice but to permit installation of a smart meter – even though they know that is NOT the law.

We have a Public Services Commission that was asked by the governments of 9 Michigan cities to:

  1. Institute a review of the health effects of the meters.
  2. Impose a moratorium on further installs pending results of a health study.
  3. Do more to educate the public about the nature of the smart meters and the risks they pose.
  4. Allow for individual opt-outs.

Our MPSC issued an Order on January 12th that did not include 3 of the above 4 requests by the city governments. 

While our Commission “investigates” for the next 6 months, it is also permitting DTE to install possibly as many as a half million more ‘smart’ meters without the informed consent of the utility’s customers.  If we take no major action to change things, all we can expect from this investigation is probably some sort of individual ‘opt-out’ involving the payment of onerous fees for the ‘privilege’.  The outcome would likely be similar to what happened in California – where they must now fight the fees.  What about whole communities opting out? What about the informed consent of the governed?  What about the possible health damage to millions of citizens from their own or a neighbor’s smart meter?

Is it not time we Michiganders followed the example of the Texans and filed a similar legal document with our MPSC?  Who is ready to add their name to such a complaint?  Who is ready to attend a public meeting to discuss where we go from here?  And if our complaint is denied by the Commission, who is ready to take it all the way to the State Supreme Court?

Please post a comment here and send an email to Vigilant Dave at the address shown at the bottom of this page if you are willing to participate or help in some way.