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DTE Proposes $87 Fee to Swap Smart Meter for Traditional Meter

There will also be a monthly charge for meter-readings, the company proposes.

If you choose to opt out of DTE Energy's smart meter program, it will cost you.

In a report filed this week with the Michigan Public Service Commission, DTE Energy outlined its proposal for allowing customers to opt-out of the new meter program that is being implemented in Farmington and Farmington Hills. The proposal involves a one-time $87 fee in addition to monthly $15 fees. 

The report follows months of impassioned pleas by energy customers and investigations by both the MPSC and the energy companies.

Why smart meters?

DTE is installing 825,000 smart meters, also known as AMI meters, in southeast Michigan as part of an $83.8 million grant. Smart meters measure and record electricity usage with digital technology instead of the traditional gears and dials. The technology involves the use of radio frequency waves to transmit data to DTE.

In Farmington Hills,  urging the MPSC to investigate concerns about safety and privacy of the meters. 

DTE has said the new meters are more efficient and allow power outages to be restored faster.

In response to the resolutions from a number of cities, the to provide them with information on safety and privacy issues related to the smart meters; the MPSC also asked about the feasibility of an opt-out option.

Opting out

In a report issued this week, DTE provided details on the opt-out program.

"DTE's AMI Opt-Out Program will provide an opportunity for individual residential customers who voluntarily request to participate in the program to have a non-transmitting AMI meter installed at their residential service address instead of the Company’s transmitting AMI meter," the report stated.

"Customers may opt out for any reason and will not be required to communicate the reason to the Company."  

The customers will be charged the initial $87 in equipment fee for the alternate meter. The $15 monthly fee will cover the cost of a manual meter reading.

"Customers who elect to participate in the AMI Opt-Out Program should be advised that they are giving up certain benefits attributed to the use of AMI at their service location including increased restoration capability, access to timely metering data and other benefits that promote the efficient operation of the electrical distribution system."

DTE's proposal must be approved by the MPSC.

Read the full report here or in a file attached to this story.

Christine Koenig August 02, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I think these new meters are a "good thing"! Especially like the fact that your power is restored faster and you do not even have to call anymore, they already know! =) plus, no more coming into our yard to read the meter, and always having to check to make sure they closed the gate! We have a dog, and there were a couple of times the gate did not get closed, hmmmm, what do you think happened? You are not always aware of when they come, and if you don't see them, then you do not make sure the gate is closed! 2 times is 2 times too many! Now, we do not have to worry at all anymore!
Duddly October 30, 2012 at 08:22 AM
This is a form of blackmail. Just because one chooses the old style meter DTE will punish you for opting out. They never charged $15.00 a month before so how should it be legal that they should charge a fee now? I say no, you can not charge for manual readings. How about we charge you for RF power usage, crooks?
Jim Sparks October 30, 2012 at 02:02 PM
It IS their equipment, and you're opting out of an effort to streamline what used to be a labor-intensive job. It costs far less to be able to monitor meters from a central location than it does to send actual human beings out to your house to read them. At least they're giving you a choice - not that they are required to. 1947 is calling - they want you back...

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