MICHIGAN-City seeks legal opinion on regulation of smart meters

City seeks legal opinion on regulation of smart meters

“This is a good starting point to let them know we’re unhappy, and hopefully this letter will make them aware that there are a lot of people out there who are not happy about this, especially the people of Sterling Heights,” said Councilman Joseph Romano.

According to City Manager Mark Vanderpool, the Sterling Heights City Council has been the recipient of significant public comment by “a group of passionate residents and non-residents” who are vehemently opposed to Advanced Metering Infrastructure, better known as smart meters, on issues involving safety, privacy and cost.

In response, the City Council adopted a moratorium in 2013 that opposed the installation of smart meters in Sterling Heights until such time that an opt-out program is available for residents who do not wish to have one installed on their residence.

“This moratorium, as well as others adopted in many other Michigan municipalities, prompted the Michigan Public Service Commission to issue an order directing the utilities to provide information regarding their plans for smart meter deployment, including whether an opt-out program would be offered,” Vanderpool said.

After receiving input from the utilities and public comment, the Michigan Public Service Commission concluded that while AMI is a safe technology, an opt-out program should be available for those people opposed to its installation.

“The MPSC approved DTE’s opt-out program, which provided for installation of a non-transmitting smart meter, and payment of a one-time installation fee of $67.20 and a monthly charge of $9.80 for manual meter reading,” Vanderpool said.

However, as concerns about the cost of the opt-out program continued to grow, city officials responded by sending letters to State Sen. Tory Rocca, and State Reps. Jeff Farrington and Yanez urging their support of pending legislation that would afford opt-out participants the option of keeping the existing electromechanical meter installed on their residences.

“Despite these efforts, there continue to be unsubstantiated claims that the city can adopt an ordinance banning smart meters,” Vanderpool said.

“Due to the substantial financial risk associated with attempting to enforce such an ordinance, the City Council directed City Administration to prepare a resolution that seeks an opinion from the Michigan Department of the Attorney General on the question of whether a Michigan municipality has the power to regulate AMI meters.” Continued…

READ FULL STORY HERE: http://www.sourcenewspapers.com/articles/2015/03/06/news/doc54f9b197c2385706383351.txt

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