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Consumers Energy customers can opt out of smart meters

9:02 AM, Jul 1, 2013   |    comments
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LANSING, Mich. (AP & WZZM) - Michigan regulators are letting one of Michigan's largest utility companies charge customers to not install new electricity meters outside their homes.

Customers can opt out of "smart" meters by paying $69 upfront and $10 a month to Consumers Energy if they give notice before the device is installed. Customers must pay $124 upfront if they give notice after the meter is installed. However, initial smart meter installation is free to customers.

An order authorizing the fees was issued Friday by the Public Service Commission.

Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern says 92,000 smart meters have been installed at homes and businesses in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan counties.  Consumers Energy plans to install a total of 1.8 million smart meters statewide. 

Some people worry the wireless meters cause health problems and let utilities know too much about energy usage. Utilities say replacing analog meters helps them better manage demand on the grid. The advanced meters give more accurate readings and help utilities better respond to power outages.

Regulators approved similar fees for DTE Electric in May.

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