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Court affirms decisions in DTE meter opt-out program

Feb 22, 2015

UPDATED 5/11/15

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan appeals court has rejected challenges from people who don't want a new digital meter from DTE Energy.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The court says state regulators did nothing illegal or unreasonable in approving an opt-out program. It allows DTE to charge customers about $10 a month to send someone to a house to record electricity usage by hand. Customers who opt-out will get new meters but the radio transmitter will be turned off.

So-called smart meters allow utilities to monitor electricity without sending an employee to each address. DTE says customers can go online and see how much electricity is being used on an hourly basis.

Dominic and Lillian Cusumano of Oakland County's Addison Township say the meter is an illegal surveillance device that violates the U.S. Constitution, even if it's turned off. The appeals court disagreed in a decision released Friday.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story suggested consumers who opted-out of the smart meter program would keep their old meters. In fact, new smart meters will be installed, but the radio transmitters will not be turned on. The error was made by the AP.