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Want to opt out of DTE's smart meter program? You need to pay a fee

Those who want to opt out of DTE Energy’s smart meter program now face a fee.

According to MLive, the Michigan Public Service Commission “ruled that DTE can charge customers an initial fee of $67.20 and a monthly fee of $9.80 to opt out of the smart meters.”

Melissa Anders reports that:

Smart meters record near real-time electric power consumption and use wireless signals to transmit the data directly to utility companies. They also notify the utility of an outage and allow utilities to remotely turn service on and off.

Opposition to smart meters primarily stems from health concerns.

Last December Michigan Radio reported on a lawsuit over DTE Smart Meters. Dominic Cusumano of Oakland County claimed that a smart meter installed at his home by DTE Energy caused flu-like symptoms for his wife.

This past January, Amy Biolchini of AnnArbor.com reported on two Ann Arbor women who have been vocal in the debate. They claim they are hypersensitive to the electromagnetic waves that smart meters emit and have consequently experienced negative health effects.

Biolchini spoke with John Meeker, an associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

There are few peer-reviewed studies regarding the electromagnetic fields associated with smart meters, Meeker said, and all are industry-funded. Those studies indicated that smart meters emitted less radiation than cell phones.

Scott Simons, a spokesperson for DTE, told MLive:

“We believe that the advanced meters are safe, reliable and protect the customers’ privacy, however for customers who don’t want the meter, we agree with the MPSC that they should be able to opt out.”

Overall, the ruling will likely impact few households.

MLive's Anders reported that less than one percent of DTE customers have asked about opting out of the smart meter program.

-Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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