DETROIT — DTE Energy Friday lauded a report on advanced meters by the staff of the Michigan Public Service Commission.
The report, issued Friday, noted that the electromechanical meters now used by utilities, including DTE Energy, are obsolete and out of production. Furthermore, the MPSC staff report said that based on its review of extensive research, advanced meters represent a safe technology and that the health risk is “insignificant.”
“We’re pleased with the staff report as advanced meters are merely the next generation of utility technology,” said Steve Kurmas, president and COO of Detroit Edison, a subsidiary of DTE Energy. “We are absolutely confident in the health, safety, security and benefits provided by advanced meters.”
DTE Energy has installed more than 800,000 advanced meters in its Southeastern Michigan service area and plans to have 1.2 million meters installed by the end of 2013. Nationwide, more than 25 million advanced meters will be installed by the end of next year.
Advanced meters allow DTE Energy to get true meter readings, essentially eliminating estimated bills. The meters also allow the company to quickly locate and reduce the length of power outages, and remotely connect and disconnect service for faster response to customers, eliminating the time that customers have to wait for a technician.
Customers also will be able to track, manage and control their energy usage as a result of timely information provided by the meters. Yet, the MPSC staff report noted there have been numerous comments against the meters.
“We know there is a small – but very vocal – minority of customers who have raised questions about advanced meters,” Kurmas said. “For those who are concerned, we’re developing an option that will allow customers to ‘opt out’ of the advanced meter program, while allowing the vast majority of our customers to enjoy the benefits afforded by the meters.”
Kurmas added that the opt-out option should be filed with the MPSC within the next 30 days.