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Court: Utility Has To Justify Smart Meter Fee


The Michigan Court of Appeals has ordered a state utility board to take another look at “smart meters” and how much utilities can charge customers who don’t want to use them.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette and a group of customers are challenging the “op-out” charge. The Court of Appeals says the state Public Service Commission needs to hold a hearing and require Consumers Energy to justify the fee.

Consumers Energy, like most other utilities, is switching customers to smart meters. They communicate detailed information about power usage to the utility without having to send a meter reader. Some customers have concerns about privacy. Utilities say the meters save money and ensure more accurate bills.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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