MI House holds hearing on smart meter fees

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- An update now on the battle over smart meters here in Michigan.

A state House committee held a hearing on the bill Tuesday. It would ban utilities from charging fees to people who opt out of the upgraded meters and choose to keep their old one.

The hearing ended up drawing people opposed to smart meters for a variety of reasons. One fire chief says his smart meter caught fire the day after it was installed. He thinks customers should not have to pay to opt out.

"It should not be penalized to the individuals that want to opt out. It should be done at no cost or, as this committee made recommendation of say five dollars. I think people could live with that. But people on fixed incomes to opt out and it costing them up to 200 dollars a year is exorbitant," says Chief Duane Roddy of the Luzerne Fire Department.

A Consumer Energy spokesman tells News 10 that none of its meters have ever been a part of a fire in Michigan. The company says the fees are in place to cover the cost of meter readings for customers who keep their analog meters. It says banning the fees means the cost gets passed on to all customers.

Consumers and DTE charge a one-time opt out fee of around $70 dollars and a $10 dollar monthly fee.

We'll let you know when the bill comes up for a vote.