Smart meter charges?

Joanne of Grand Haven Township asked, "Can you tell me where the bill regarding stopping the initial fee and not allowing the monthly charge for smart meters from state Rep. Tom McMillin stands?"
Mark Brooky
May 8, 2013


Joanne further said her electricity provider informed her that it plans to install a smart meter at her home. She said she requested information on opting out and was told it would cost $69.39, and $11.12 per month thereafter.

"I'm not sure how these charges were determined, but it is what it is," she said. "I have read my own meter since 2007 and called it in. Any data I may want is stated on my bill monthly or I record it myself."


Dennis McKee, communications director of Consumers Energy's Smart Energy Program, said House Bill 4315 (introduced by McMillin, R-Rochester Hills) "is an unnecessary and restrictive bill that will hinder Consumers Energy from providing upgraded meters that lay the foundation for improved customer service and money-saving programs for our customers."

The bill was introduced in February and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Technology. That's as far as it has gotten.

McMillin's proposed legislation does not lay out opt-out fees, except if an "advanced" meter has been installed and the customer then decides to "opt out." The utility would then be able to charge a one-time fee of up to $50 for the removal of the "advanced" meter and putting the old one back.

The proposal would also prohibit utilities from imposing "any disincentive on a residential customer for not requesting or accepting the installation of an advanced meter or use of an advanced meter function."

The Oakland Press reported earlier this year that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette opined that DTE customers should not have to pay a fee to have smart meters removed from their homes, and should be allowed to retain analog electric meters.

McKee said smart meters are safe and secure. The encrypted information sent by them is only aggregate energy consumption data and can only be used for billing purposes, balancing electric supply and demand, and energy reports to customers.

"The technology upgrade sets the foundation for better outage response, electronic meter reads that virtually eliminate estimated bills, and future programs to help our customers save energy and money," he added. "Feedback from our customers has been enthusiastic, strong and supportive."

McKee said the Michigan Public Service Commission will determine by Sept. 1 the actual costs of the Consumers Energy Manual Meter Read Program, which provides customers the option to continue to utilize older meter technology. Under consideration right now is a $69.39 one-time program fee that McKee said reflects the costs of maintaining a program to support the older meters, eventual replacement of the meter at another time and other efficiencies lost by continuing to use the older technology. 

The $11.12 monthly Manual Meter Read Program fee under consideration by the state commission reflects the costs of sending out personnel each month to conduct manual meter reads, after a system has been set up to render that process unnecessary.

For more information about the Consumers Energy Smart Energy Program, visit or call 888-862-2199.

Here's an alternative site:



If you are concerned about so-called smart meters from the perspectives of health, safety, and privacy, here is the link to a site for people with similar concerns:


everyone is going to digital, recently most of the tv stations went digital and its the new technology of the future, yes i read and watch videos about how smart meters are bad for, really they are making the big companys in the boogeyman and wants you to be afraid of them, witch is hogwash, i know a number of people that have the new meters and enjoy the savings, far as BLP, they dont have any future plans to install them anytime soon,

NTH_Grand Haven

"Feedback from our customers has been enthusiastic, strong and supportive."

I don't believe that for 1 second. Do a quick Google search or take your time and look into the multitude of health issues these meters cause. Let alone your privacy....


It's a bunch of nut jobs.

You are being bombarded with the same radiation whether you have a smart meter or not. Do you think the signal from cell towers travels from the tower, straight to your phone in a single laser thin line? No. Your body is absorbing the radiation from thousands of cell phone calls every second of the day. Radio waves, microwaves, UV, WiFi and cell phones, you are absorbing it every second whether you like it or not. Having a smart meter does not add to this at all. Not having a smart meter does not protect you at all.

I dated a girl many years back with ultra-religious parents who only believed in homeopathic medicine because normal medicine causes cancer. They would not use a microwave (ok, they did, but they seriously pressed the start button and ran 20' away due to the radiation), would not use cell phones, etc... The funny thing was, even though they insisted modern medicine made you sick, they were sick all the freaking time, and I NEVER get sick (maybe once every four years or so).


They installed a smart meter on my home in Spring Lake last fall; I have no issues with it at all and appreciate the savings


The hysteria associated with this subject is overwhelming! I hope the folks that are whining about these meters and the health related issues do not have or use wifi, cell phones, prtable phones, or any other radio frequency operated device in their immediate vicinity! Amse operting principle! Cell phone technology!
The current system of power grid and "dumb" meters, allows huge segments of customers to be without power until smeone calls the utility! The samrt meter will notify instantaneously (essentially)!
I am a bit confused with the invaison of privacy concern. You prefer to have a meter reader lurking around your property once a month? These will allow the information to be sent to the utility, not the "government", to provide a better idea of what is actually being used by their customers.
At this point all you get in the way of use information is how much yu used a month ago. Do yo know which appliance uses the most electricity in your home? Probably not! If you do not know how much you use and how it is used, you can't change or improve!
Additionally, these will provide a better basis or path to a distributed grid, which I can imagine, some of these conspiracy theorists, would rather have than depending on a huge utility for their power.
This is change, and we know how most embrace change!
We live in an organized society that requires us to participate in the system to make it work! If the utility cannot measure actual use, they have to provide more than is needed. This requires larger facilities and more charges back to the customers!
Wind Turbine Syndrome in another form!


These people get ALL the same radiation just from being alive. The smart meters do not add to this radiation at all. They are just a bunch of nut jobs.


Regarding privacy issues, Vlad's link spells it out: "You do not want the utility company, marketing companies, hackers and possibly would-be burglars to know everything that goes on inside your home. You have a right to keep private when you are at home, when you are sleeping, when you prepare meals, how many showers you take in a day, when you watch television, when you are on your computer.

You do not want your door kicked down in the middle of the night because some law enforcement agency saw higher than normal electric use and concluded (wrongly) that you were growing marijuana in your attic."


The paranoia rampant in that web site is ridiculous. I can't imagine a Judge awarding a search warrant based on an elvated use of electricity! They would have to have probable cause to gain access to the data to begin with as explained in Consumers Power web site question concerning the meters. Unless you think that installation of a Smart Meter suspends all constitutional protections. No one is going to be monitoring how many showers, when you sleep, or prepare meals. That would cost huge amounts of money to support that type of surveilance!
What they will probably do, and the only reason to install these meters is to monitor trends! Right now they can't tell anything concerning actual use! So they have to over produce to maintain the required amount of power! Yes, this will save them money, but since this is a regulated monopoly, not a government service, if they are making unreasonable profits the rates would be lowered!
Would be burglars! OMG, that is just plain stupid!
Right now, its like driving your car without a speedometer or gas gauge.
"Will my building owner have the ability to access my individual usage data without my consent?

No. Only the account holder has access to that information. We can’t share that information with a third party without the written consent of the account holder.

Will my smart meter make smart energy choices for my home, like turn off lights when no one is in the room?
•No---smart meters do not control lights or appliances
•Smart meters send data wirelessly to the smart energy grid, so you can find out how much energy you’re using in any given hour, day, week or month
•When you have a detailed understanding of your energy usage, you can find more opportunities to use energy more efficiently." From the Consumers Power web site!


Sure, it's just paranoia. Did anyone receive a written notice and an e-mail from Consumers comparing your energy use to your neighbors? Who authorized them to make such a comparison? Not me! You say right now they can't tell anything about energy use, but apparently they have enough information and people dedicated to the task to compare people's energy use. Do they know the size of your home? How many occupants? Any conditions people might have to increase energy use? If not, the comparisons are meaningless; if so, how did they acquire that information?

You can trust them all you want - I don't. Once they have access to the information they want, don't you suppose they will want to use it. Why not shut down your AC if you are using more electricity for AC during peak periods? And if they are so regulated, how did they start this program without any approvals? Why was the Michigan Public Service Commission AWOL until public and legislative pressure forced them to look into them in January of this year, well after the program had commenced?

What is the problem with having hearings and public disclosure on health, safety, and privacy issues - what do the utilities have to fear from some sunlight?

If you are at all curious, and can overcome the allegation of paranoia, you might want to look at . There you will find some worldwide paranoia, including issues with non-ionizing radiation in the amount used by smart meters (World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, and many others).

I have a great idea - you eat a smart meter and I'll keep my analog meter. We will have achieved diversity!


I guess we share some concerns about technology and privacy, unless you were being facetious. Technology is great for mankind up to a point, and depending who is using it and for what purpose. The following is awe-inspiring from a technical perspective, but nonetheless doesn't leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling about our future (and no warrants necessary)


Big Brother IS Watching !!! WOW !

Using the same technology as Google Earth to track you, be warned it will be most difficult to lose yourself in any crowd.

This is the crowd before the riots in Vancouver .

Put your cursor anywhere in the crowd and double-click a couple of times.
To further help with image, use the scroll button in the centre of your mouse.
Zero in on any one specific single face. The clarity is incredible..

This is the photo taken by Port Moody photographer Ronnie Miranda that appeared in the Tri-City News 24-June.
You can see perfectly the face of every single individual - and there were thousands.
Just think what the police and the military have at their disposal.


Do you use a cell phone? Do you have a wifi router in your house or workplace?
The comparisons are not disclosing any private information, they are merely using current billing info compared with those in your neighborhood! Most neighborhoods have very similar size houses! I appreciate knowing that my efforts to reduce have actually placed me well below most! What do you have to worry about from a simple bill comparison? It's not the "government", it is the power company! What more people should worry about is using purified drinking water, that does come from a government organization, to water their lawn!


I guess you are so sure of your scientific knowledge that you didn't need to read the link about cell phones vs smart meters (including the fact that you can voluntarily turn off your cell phone).

I guess I didn't know that " Most neighborhoods have very similar size houses" but clearly you have superior knowledge on that. Suppose, for a second, that my wife and I have sacrificed and worked since we were very young so we don't have to be placed "well below most" and that includes a lot of things rather than our energy consumption!


You didn't answer my question! If you have a cell phone in your pocket and wifi in your home or workplace, you are a hypocrite to complain about a minimal additional exposure to smart meter RF! I am also a trained microwave radio tech.
Your typical American bragging about your gluttony is sickening! I don't waste my money on energy or driving behemoths I don't need!


Since you were apparently uninterested in the study of the nuclearphysicist from the University of Santa Cruz included in the links, I'll repeat it for you http://www.committeetobridgetheg... .

I don't doubt we are exposed to radiation from many sources, including cell phones (I don't carry one), but I'd like a fair and honest study before being forced to have a smart meter - it's my choice to have a cell phone or microwave. I also have privacy concerns. Why is everyone so afraid of obtaining additional information before this project to benefit the energy industry is implemented?


First, why would a nuclearphysicist be an expert in RF technology? He makes his mistake when he compares non-ionizing radiation to ionizing rediation. RF is non-ionizing and is in no way comparable to the ionizing radiation emitted by radioactive materials. Ionizing is cancer causing because the energy emitted has the ability to break cellular and chemical bonds to cause damage. Non-ionizing does not have that type of energy.
Second, he assumes a 100% duty cycle for the Smart Meter! False. SmartMeters communicate intermittently, with each RF-signal typically lasting from 2 to 20 milliseconds. These intermittent signals total, on average, 45 seconds per day. For the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day, the meter is not transmitting any RF. The RF from an electric SmartMeter is roughly one one-thousandth that of a typical cellphone. In fact, you’d have to have one of our meters on your home or business for more than 1,000 years to get as much exposure to radio waves as a typical cell phone user gets in just one month.
That study and the ones you have cited earlier are completly biased and obviously have as their agenda to incite fear! Just like Wind Turbine Syndrome!
I can't live in constant fear, how can you? This is probably a plot to determine where all the guns are stored, by monitoring the electricity use when the owners are polishing them!
There are plenty of things out there worth getting worried about, Smart Meters are not one of them! Educating our children should get this much effort!


Good going, bringing reason and logic into this discussion. Shame on you!

Sadly, I know some of these paranoid people and no matter what facts or reasoning they are presented with, they flat out refuse to consider that they may be wrong, and just keep reiterating their false and sometimes laughable talking points. They are hopeless.

I do dislike wind turbines, but for other reasons (such as the fact that without heavy subsides from tax payers, they would never turn a profit); not because the noise emitted from them causes cancer or other such nonsense.

I think a much more serious issue that needs to be looked into, rather than smart meters or turbines, is our agricultural and food industry. I do feel there is a lot we don't know about the effects of all the crap Monsanto and other corporations does to our food supply. I feel it is much more likely there is health risk there than with a smart meter.


Here's the long view on wind turbines and other energy sources, both renewable and fossil fuels, and government subsidies:

"Rather, the government heavily subsidized each new energy source, often at both the federal and state level. In our study, we looked at those subsidies in their historical context, in order to compare the relative levels of federal support for each new energy source—something that, as far as we know, no one had ever attempted. On an inflation-adjusted basis, we learned, the subsidies for "traditional" energy sources in their early growth days—coal, oil, gas, and nuclear—were many, many times what we are spending on renewables today."


The problem is not so much the fact that they receive subsidies, it is that they will never even pay themselves off.

Most wind turbines only operate at 20% or so of their total capacity. By the time they reach their end of life, they still will not have paid themselves off. There is a reason TCBLP is taking theirs offline; they are not turning a profit, even though they are in ideal locations, and they are too expensive to maintain.

At least with coal fired plants, they usually break even or even profit.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for alternative energy sources and feel we need to move away from the fossil fuels, and quick. The problem is, this country is being sold on wind power by corporations (many of them based overseas) that are making a killing, along with the government throwing subsidies at them in the name of green energy.


Not to belabor the tangent we have taken, you might find this interesting:


Thank you for your detailed response. Now all that's left for us to do is determine which has greater credibility: the scientific paper prepared by a nuclear physicist and two graduate students at the University of Santa Cruz prepared in response to a legislative hearing in California on smart meters against or opinion of a commenter in the local paper and self-identifies as a "trained microwave radio tech."


Smart Meters
Cost, Energy Efficiency, Underlying Issues, Health & Take Action

Greetings Potential Smart Meter Recipient,

Per The National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy,
Washington, D.C. November 26, 2012. A new policy report focused on the electric grid and economy of energy, Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid, states that billions of dollars in federal subsidies for smart utility meters have been misspent on meter technology that will not lead to energy sustainability or contribute to the possibility of a more efficient and responsive electricity grid.


Attorney Generals from Michigan, Illinois, and Connecticut have found smart meters to not be cost effective.

Each Consumers Energy smart meter, or portion of the smart energy program, equates to a capital expenditure of $417 per household, assuming the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) allows Consumers Energy to recoup the full $750M -per Consumers Energy Communications Director of Smart Energy, Dennis McKee.

Additionally, utility capital expenditures are allowed a 10% profit thru the MPSC. This equates to another $42 per household or another $75M incurred for smart meter profit, over a 7-year period per Mr. McKee for a total project cost of $825M.

All this to replace meters that still have a useful life as Mr. McKee has noted.

And all this for meters that actually create an overall load to the grid. No matter how small the amount of electricity these meters use, multiplied by 1.8M meters running continuously, this still presents a significant load.

This seems incongruent to add load to an already deficient system when Mr. McKee indicated that 25% of all summer time power must come from out of state.

Compare the value or benefit to the customer in outage response, flexible billing dates, and software home applications at a cost of $460 / household to what could be accomplished with $460 allocated toward energy efficiency.

Keeping in mind that 25% of our summer time energy needs must be imported why are we not looking to, and allocating resources to do something about this directly? Why not address the root cause and minimize, or eliminate altogether the need for summer time air conditioning... rather than install smart meters with smart fixtures on air conditioning units requiring more effort -into the overall system, to cycle down AC units at a cost of $460+ per household, plus continuing rising energy costs?

Smart meters actually add to energy usage. Smart meters do nothing to physically reduce energy usage, nor greenhouse gases. Smart meters at best can only shift the time of energy usage with behavior modification thru pricing incentive. This is not an energy conservation measure.

Energy efficiency thru attic ventilation, attic insulation or lightening of roof color physically reduces energy usage, reduces energy costs, keeps more state monies within the local economies by sending less money out of state for out of state fuel costs used to generate electricity ($20B annually), and reduces greenhouse gases. Ventilating, insulating and lightening of roof coloring, are direct and effective.

Ventilating and lightening of roof coloring, the two most significant ways to reduce summer time cooling needs are NOT LISTED on Consumers Energy, Energy Efficiency Rebate Section of their website.

At the MPSC Energy Forum in Kalamazoo on March 18th, energy efficiency was shown to be the most effective way to address our energy needs as well as reducing greenhouse gases. $825M for the Smart Energy Project. To the reader, is a flexible billing date, not having to call in when you're without power and being able to compare your home size to another home your size's electricity usage worth being charged almost a Billion Dollars?

A moment on Health in light of electric, gas and water smart meters.

In May of 2011, The World Health Organization / International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use. (WHO, 2011) (Baan et al., 2011). Smart meters communicate via wireless cellular radiofrequency technology.

We are now in the process of adding additional radiofrequencies and perhaps voltage transients, to our entire utility infrastructure with electric, gas and water smart meters. We are creating an entire infrastructure of radio frequency, a giant antenna, an inductive circuit that we cannot extricate from. Furthermore, our future is set to include RF chipped appliances, creating another continuous stream of in-home electro-smog. This is already dangerous to certain segments of the population. Cumulative increases in RF exposures are continuously increasing the number of sensitive individuals.

Please see the following very well organized letter to the FCC by Paul Dart MD FCA. It is short at only 54 pages and readily readable as far as these types of documents go... Dr. Dart reviews the current medical literature on the biological or non-thermal effects of microwave radio frequency transmissions.
He was motivated to do this by his increasing concerns regarding the health effects of these exposures in his patients and community.

Please see the following link for a 4-part video re: smart meters w/ both Michigan Stop Smart Meters and Consumers Energy.


To delve into the controversy surrounding smart meters:
California has been leading the resistance to smart meters.
Their website is

Michigans website is

To Take Action

Count Me Out
To Opt out of Consumers Energy smart meter call 888-862-2199.

To support Representative McMillin on House Bill 4315 in his quest to eliminate Opt-Out fees for a device you will already have paid $460 for, please e-mail Representative McMillin at and your local representative.

To voice your right to Opt -out without any fee and let your concerns be known re: cost, health, fires, privacy and hacking please submit comments to
MPSC U-17053 / MPSC U-17087

MPSCEDOCKETS note U-17053 / U-17087

Support Attorney General Bill Schuette that smart meters are not cost effective.

Michelle Rison
Environmental Engineer


Elizabeth Kelley, MA
Coordinator, Arizonans for Safer Utility Infrastructure

I am forwarding this U.S. Smart Grid publication that Nervada distributes, for your information and use. See readers notes below, made by Angel DeFazio, in Nevada.

"The Smart Meter Deployment Handbook is a guide to increasing consumer confidence in smart meter deployments using an approach that has been developed and tested at several utilities including SDG&E, ComEd, and NV Energy. This handbook was developed by NV Energy under their grant with the U.S. Department of Energy's Smart Grid Investment Grant program. The purpose of the handbook is to share some of the lessons they have learned about customer education, messaging, and marketing strategies related to large-scale smart meter deployments. It contains much information about the strategies that have worked for NV Energy and some of the pitfalls to avoid."

Sometimes when you fight Goliath you wonder if you are really having any impact.
See page 29 of this taxpayer funded handbook and you will find your efforts do have impact.

"The summer of 2011 signaled a noticeable rise in consumer uncertainty regarding the safety and privacy of smart meter systems. This uncertainty was fueled by consumer activism that originated in California, Maine, British Columbia, and parts of Illinois, and was amplified to other states by social and mainstream media. Nevada was not immune. Postponement requests tripled over a six-month period. One-on-one meetings with consumer activist leaders could not resolve the issues. There were fundamental differences regarding the science related to radio frequency (RF) exposure and health effects. The same was true for privacy concerns. Ultimately, the issues were escalated to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN).

The PUCN conducted a series of workshops to hear the views of all stakeholders. In the end, the PUCN ordered an opt-out option for consumers. Similar to opt-out options in other states, Nevada consumers who opt out will bear the costs associated with that option."

How does Johnny develop confidence in himself?

"Confidence in ownership enables customers to conclude that their new behaviors and habits utilizing the smart metering system provide them value. Ownership is the last step in demonstrating the performance necessary to create consumer confidence. Once customers have verified the smart metering system's achievements, they can then develop confidence in themselves. Customers can use the smart metering system's capabilities to avoid the surprise of a high bill, as well as improve their habits of energy usage, their selection of appliances and devices, and the premises in which they live. A smart metering system that provides energy ownership becomes an integral part of customers' lives."

Also good graphic on page 11, shows how you need more than just a smart meter, you need in home technologies and notification of next day rates!

end of excerpt.

There is world wide concern with smart meters. From health, waste related to cost, fires, hacking and privacy.


Good Morning

This is an outstanding document on non-ionising radiation (non-thermal) effects of RF.

Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy 2012, The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields. Electrical explanations of electrical cellular (membrane) activity, specifically, leakage of calcium ions related to the following.

Research: Autism, ADHD, dimentia, Alzheimer's, obesity, liver disease, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, melatonin, sperm quality, fertility, stress hormone cortisol, neurotransmitter adrenaline, 16Hz potassium ion resonance frequency, cell growth & glandular activity.

Also includes how we can make our EM environment safe re: electrical wiring and cell phones / towers. Excellent! 29 pages.

Link to document:

Be Well


Michelle, I always enjoyed attaching my PE handle to my name to add credibility as an endorsement to a long winded drawn out technical document I wrote filled with a multitude of facts and figures, This I called fancy footwork. There were many I wrote that made no sense at all, but carefully worded.


after reading all of the comments, i realized why the republicans and democrats can not get anything done, their always auguring who is right or wrong, lol


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