Customers Could Chose to Opt Out of Smart Meters on Homes

Customers Could Chose to Opt Out of Smart Meters on Homes

LANSING - Consumers Energy is updating its electric meter technology across service territory for its 1.8 million electric customers as part of a Smart Energy program.

They’ve installed more than 1.5 million meters on homes and businesses across Michigan, and expect to have all meters installed by the end of this year.

The meters ensure that customers receive an accurate bill every month, allow customers to view their energy usage online via our web portal, and improve restoration efforts with a new outage management system.

According to Roger C. Morgenstern, Consumers Energy's Senior Public Information Director, more than 99.5 percent of customers across installation areas have accepted communicating digital meters -- smart meters -- which allows them to utilize a web portal to monitor their energy use and benefit from actual versus estimated meter reads.

A new bill introduced to the house would give customers the option to opt out of these meters and have a traditional meter instead.

Under the bill, customers could choose between a smart meter or a traditional meter to record their water, natural gas or electric usage.

The legislation was created in response to concerns expressed by some customers over the increased use of smart meters, referred in the bill as "advanced meters," which use radio waves or broadband to measure usage.

The bill would require customers to be properly notified and given the option to opt out before a smart meter could be installed.

A one-time charge of $69.39 will be charged to cover the cost of the eventual replacement of the older legacy meter when a property is sold or a customer moves along with an additional $9.72 monthly charge to cover manual reader service costs.

The Michigan Townships Association is concerned that this would limit Townships' ability to recover their costs for removing and replacing the meter so they are working with legislators to remove municipal water from the bill, as its original purpose was to address electric and gas meters.

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