Michigan Court Orders Justification of Smart Meter Refusal Fees

Court GavelLast week a Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that key issues remain regarding Consumers Energy Company being able to charge customers a fee for refusing to allow installation of smart meters on their homes.  The Court ordered that the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) “conduct a contested case hearing on this significant issue.”

The Court appeared sympathetic to arguments from customers that the PSC’s approval of tariffs requiring customers who refuse smart meters to pay a one-time charge of either $69.39 or $123.91 and a monthly charge of $9.72 “was unjust, unreasonable, and unsupported by evidence in the record.”

As stated in the ruling:

“…because of the numerous issues raised on appeal … concerning tariffs for customers who elect to opt-out of the AMI program, we remand those issues to the PSC and direct the PSC to conduct a contested case hearing on the opt-out tariff. … “We direct the PSC to issue a detailed opinion with sufficient facts and conclusions of law that allows this Court to review the entire scope of the unusual opt-out tariff.”

Note the Court itself characterized the smart meter refusal fee as “unusual;” that “numerous issues” were raised on appeal; and that the opt-out tariff represents a “significant issue.”

In addition, a footnote in the ruling states:

“On remand, the PSC should clarify the purpose and nature of the opt-out tariff by addressing whether the tariff represents a reimbursement for costs of service, or whether the tariff constitutes something more akin to a tax, sanction, or penalty imposed upon customers who choose to opt out of the AMI program.”

Thus, the Court appeared skeptical that the opt-out tariff is solely a cost-based fee rather than a sanction against concerned consumers.

Also, however, the Court felt it currently did not have sufficient information to make a final judgment ‘for or against’ the opt-out tariffs and simply stated:

“Unfortunately, it appears that these issues were given only cursory analysis in the PSC lower court record.  We conclude that the record on this issue is inadequate to support an informed decision by the Court at this time.”

Among the “numerous issues” to be resolved is whether customers who refuse smart meters effectively pay twice, i.e., whether they pay for a smart meter plus having to pay an additional fee for not having a smart meter.

Opinion as Downloaded from Court Website:  Michigan Appeals Court Opinion

News Coverage:

“Regulators ordered to reopen dispute over smart meters,” at http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/05/03/regulators-reopen-smart-meter-debate/26834773/?

“State utility regulators ordered to re-open dispute over smart-meter fees,” at http://www.wwmt.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/State-utility-regulators-ordered-to-re-open-dispute-over-smart-meter-fees-126576.shtml

About SkyVision Solutions

Raising public awareness and finding solutions for smart grid issues related to invasions of privacy, data security, cyber threats, health and societal impacts, as well as hazards related to radiofrequency (RF) radiation emissions from all wireless devices, including smart meters.
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5 Responses to Michigan Court Orders Justification of Smart Meter Refusal Fees

  1. DWmom says:

    It will not help individuals to get rid of their own smart meter because the neighbors meters are sending out RF transmissions that flood the area. It is not like wifi that is confined to your own house. Smart meters operate by sending transmissions out to all the other smart meters. Everytime they get a message, they have to pass it on. I have an RF meter that detects and measures RF. The smart meters operate continuously, more than once a second. They bathe your entire body with radiation. It never, ever stops, the readings never go to zero, not ever.
    We need to get rid of smart meters, entirely.

    • Nathan says:

      I have a meter, too. I’ve found MOST AMI meters send every 15 seconds. However, my neighbor has two (one for the air conditioner) and his meters seem to almost continuously broadcast. There are “repeater” AMIs that repeat the signals sent by other “local” meters. I would bet you have a repeater on your property.

    • 1vimana1 says:

      To DWmom,
      I agree with you entirely, one needs to get rid of every dopy and poisonous to all LIFE Evil stinking filthy Electric A.M.I and actually far from Smart Meter in every country of the world, that’s for sure !

    • Frank says:

      You are so very correct. These electronic devises will save the power companies many millions of dollars because they can fire all of their meter readers. . These meters are sheer madness that will destroy millions of lives.

  2. 1vimana1 says:

    Dear Readers,
    Opt out fees are simply EXTORTION. The Court should stop stuffing around and wasting Tax Payers time and money. I’d like to have seen the judge and Jury fine that that this is EXTORTION by the Power Company/s trying to bully their Electricity Customers to be wickedly forced to accept dopy Type 2B A.M.I Carcinogen machine against those sensible customers which don’t want to be bullied to take these truly poisonous and all life Health Wrecking and Spying Machines. The bosses of these Electric Power Companies making these Wicked and Undemocratic Demands all need to be thrown into gaol for Fifty Years and the Keys to be thrown away.

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