A Bay County legislator has introduced a bill to the Michigan Legislature that would ban utilities from charging additional fees to homeowners who don't want smart meters.
State Rep. Gary Glenn, a Republican, submitted a bill that would allow homeowners to keep their analog meters or even have a smart meter replaced with an analog meter.
The bill is in response to concerns raised by numerous residents about smart meters violating their property rights. They contend that smart meters provide real-time data utilities could use to learn about their private behaviour.
There are also concerns about the waves emitted by smart meters, data privacy and cyber security.
Glenn, the chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, said opposition to smart meters is growing around Michigan.
“I have conducted public hearings on this issue and there is a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state have valid concerns about their health and privacy."
Consumers Energy and DTE Energy currently charge residents who want to keep their analog meters about $70 up front and then an additional $10 a month afterward.
Attorney General Bill Schuette sued utilities to end the penalties for smart meters, but the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the additional charges are legal under current state law.
Several public hearings held around the state about smart meters have drawn standing-room-only crowds, showing the high interest in the issue, he said.
“It is very apparent that utility customers across the state, many of them retirees, have strongly-held concerns about the effect of smart meter technology," Glenn said.
The AARP Michigan has elevated Glenn's bill one of the organisation's top 10 legislative priorities for 2018.
“AARP's making this legislation one of their top priorities indicates that the Legislature is not the only place senior citizens are registering their concerns," Glenn said.
"I'm pleased to have AARP's support for my efforts to give people a choice on how their electricity usage is recorded.”
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