From Iris Atzmon:
September 11th, 2012 – Order issued today by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) requires Michigan electric utilities to offer an opt out from ‘smart meters’. The Order is directed to all privately owned electric utilities in Michigan and requires that if and when they decide to implement an AMI program (smart meters) that they must offer an opt out, based on “cost of service principles”. The latter means that utilities should impose an opt out fee that will be sufficient to cover any costs they must incur in order to accommodate the opt out customers. The question of whether it is appropriate to charge such fees, or how high they can be is being explored in a separate Case U-17053 that had its first hearing yesterday.
Part of the Order is directed at Consumers Energy and gives them 60 days to propose an opt out plan for MPSC review and approval. Consumers is the only Michigan utility other than Detroit Edison to actually have a smart meter program, and the latter has already submitted a plan.
The Commission also concedes that the issues that have been raised by customers and cities concerning customer data collection, privacy and security of the grid itself are important enough that they will open a new case to deal with these issues. We will inform our readers of the new case number as soon as that becomes available. We hope and expect that the new case will be a contested case proceeding where evidence may be heard on the record.
The Commission’s order is notably silent in two crucial areas: (1) the question of the health issues and (2) the question of what type of meter shall be provided as the alternative for customers opting out. MPSC staff had previously dismissed the health concerns as “insignificant”.
To read the Commission’s Order, click here.Leave a reply →