Last week, the commission announced the investigation, saying that electric customers in the state and several municipalities have expressed concerns about the installation of such meters.
The commission wants information from utilities by March 16, and a public comment period is open until April 16.
The MPSC plans to review recommendations about the use of smart meters at a later date.
The company is investing $750 million into smart-grid technology in response to the state’s 21st Century Energy Plan, which emphasizes the need for renewable energy and energy conservation.
Consumers Energy plans to start its smart meter deployment in Muskegon County in August and expects to have 50,000 meters deployed in Muskegon and Ottawa counties by the end of the year, said Roger Morgenstern, smart grid communications coordinator at Consumers Energy.
There are currently about 5,000 pilot smart meters installed in Jackson County.
“We will be working closely with the MPSC to give them and their staff the information they are looking for,” he said. “We don’t see it having an effect on our deployment schedule.”
Smart meters allow residents to see exactly how much energy they are using on a real-time basis, allowing them to adjust usage to cut monthly bills, company officials say.
It also has the capability to alert the utility if the power goes out, without the customer having to report the outage. Meters will send a “last gasp” signal, helping the company locate the problem and find an alternate route for sending energy.