A subsidiary of Detroit Edison (DTE) Energy is suing two consumers for removing their smart meters and replacing them with devices they bought. The utility states that tampering with the smart meters and other such equipment is a potential felony.
The consumers argue that they were justified switching out the meters because of health and privacy concerns. They also claim the utility has no right going onto their property without permission. DTE and other utilities have consistently asserted the devices are safe and secure. Studies have also maintained smart meters do not pose a threat to homeowners.
In documents filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, one of the litigants, customer Donna Stenman, claims she began to experience health issues such as nausea, headaches, and insomnia after DTE deployed the smart meter was installed at her residence in September 2011. She also says those health problems went away after they replaced the meter. Stenman also suspects her son’s death from a brain tumor in 2004 was related to his constant use of a cell phone.
In the filing she states: “My husband and I have made a decision, based on our son’s death and our own medical problems, that we cannot risk continued living in our Farmington Hills home once a ‘smart meter’ is re-installed on that home.”
Currently, Michigan does not have an opt-out policy for consumers but the state’s Public Service Commission in the process of reviewing a proposal that would let homeowners opt out of smart meter installation for a onetime change fee of $87 and a monthly $15 fee.
The two cases are being pursued separately and no final ruling has yet been made.