Residents voice support for county officials resolution opposing opt-out fees on Smart Meters

On Monday, September 9, 2013, members from the public commended Oakland County officials at the Oakland County Board of Commissioners General Government Committee, for supporting Smart Meter resolution MR#13229 opposing the Michigan Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) fees an electric utility can place on customers who wish to opt-out of having a smart meter installed on their property. The resolution also opposes any future Advance Metering Infrastructure programs developed by electric utility providers without customers’ permission. Commissioners Nancy Quarles (D) and Jim Runestad (R) authored resolution MR#13229 which has hit a chord with the public.

The resolution calls for a public education campaign about smart meters and customers’ rights to opt-out, and a provision for customers who opt-out and cannot afford the additional fees. In the resolution, commissioners declare that the opt-out fees approved for Advanced Metering Infrastructure in Michigan are unfair and excessive, and request that electric service providers stop current efforts to install smart meters in Oakland County until a thorough public education/awareness campaign is undertaken in the County to advise residents of their rights and protections for their health and safety.

At today’s Oakland County General Government Committee meeting, Commissioners in support of the resolution voted to have a copy of the resolution sent to the Michigan Public Service Commission, the Attorney General Bill Schuette, who will be reviewing the Smart Meter issue, and electric utility service providers. The resolution will come before the 21-member Oakland County Board of Commissioners for a vote at the Board’s meeting, on Thursday, September 19, 2013.

This bi-partisan resolution has reinforced the commissioners’ stance from last year on the issue, when they passed Miscellaneous Resolution #12134 on June 21, 2012. The resolution called for fair treatment and no economic penalty for electricity customers choosing not to participate in the smart meter program.

Commissioners Quarles and Runestad’s resolution opposes the smart meter installation’s one-time fee of $67.20 with a monthly charge in perpetuity of $9.80. This unfair fee put upon those who opt-out also includes an approved fee structure that increases the electricity rates of which customers will be paying for the installation and operation of meters they choose not to use. On May 15, 2013, the MPSC approved these new lower rates in Case No. U-17000 and Case No. U-17053.

Oakland County Commissioner Nancy Quarles stated “As it is evident today, residents are concerned and want to know more about the options when it comes to Smart Meters. This unfair financial levy on citizens is appalling and the people here speaking out are evidence that there needs to be public engagement, transparency and education on the matter. The MPSC and electric utility service providers have some explaining to do. You can’t leave people in the dark.”

All meetings are open to the public and can be viewed at www.oakland.michiganeventslive.com.

For more information, call Commissioners Nancy Quarles at 248-498-2552 and Commissioner Jim Runestad at 248-802-5500.

About Sarah Hovis

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