Heights seeks to halt smart meter installation

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

The Dearborn Heights City Council passed a resolution to the Michigan Public Service Commission, hoping to make the lives of some of their residents a little easier.

The Council voted 5-1 in favor of a resolution by Councilwoman Janet Badalow to ask the MPSC to put a moratorium on the installation of the DTE Energy smart meter within the city limits until further notice.

Badalow addressed the resolution in a letter addressed to MPSC on March 29. The next step is for MPSC to decide to place the resolution on their next City Council meeting.

The meters, also known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure, are digital blue-faced meters that are the future replacement of natural gas and electrical meters. The AMI project plans to replace 2.6 million electric meters, modify 1.3 million natural gas meters with a remote-reading module.

The full conversion will occur in phases in the eight- to 10-year range, according to DTE officials.There is also an opt-out program for those who do want the meters, even though the details have not been fully formed, Bob Zuckakis, program manager for the AMI installation, said during a previous study session in the Council Chambers.

Some of the concerns against the smart meters brought to the Council by residents during an earlier study session were potential health risks to a girl’s reproductive organs, along with negative effects to those with pace makers.

Another concern was that the smart meters could be effected by Wi-Fi, radio frequencies, tech phones or three-way frequencies. Another concern was loss of privacy, with some residents opining that the smart meters could invade their privacy by reading every source of energy used in the house.

The motion was carried in a 5-1 vote. Councilman Tom Berry was absent and Councilman Ned Apigian was against the resolution, saying it was “a bit much” during the meeting.

“All the Council can do is pass a resolution urging the MPSC to study the issue,” Apigian said. “It is not the Dearborn Heights City Council’s responsibility to make a symbolic resolution that doesn’t carry any weight.”

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)