January 3, 2012 – The City Council of Sterling Heights by a vote of 7-0, approved the first actual moratorium on installation of ‘smart’ meters in the State ofMichigan. The moratorium is to remain in place until such time as DTE communicates to Council that they have an opt-out program for those residents who are not willing to accept the meters.
This moratorium was enacted at the end of a meeting in which two DTE utility representatives had made a presentation arguing for the benefits of the meters and asserting that they posed no health risk and that the utility would be taking every precaution to protect customer’s privacy. The DTE reps also said, however, that the company had no plan to allow anyone to opt out.
Several members of Council indicated that DTE’s plan for no opt-outs was “not acceptable”.
At least one member of Council had advocated a complete and permanent ban on smart meters by any gas or electric utility within Sterling Heights. The intent was to protect not only the individual right to opt-out but also to protect the community as a whole from an undesirable technology. There was not sufficient support for this strong resolution, and a weaker one was finally adopted which addressed only the question of an individual’s right to opt out.
The effectiveness of this moratorium may not be tested for some time as DTE apparently has no plan to install inSterling Heightsfor a few years yet. However it does put the utility on notice that they may need to ultimately satisfy the Council before they can begin their deployment there.