You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

DTE Energy to install 120,000 smart meters at Washtenaw County homes

By Nathan Bomey

DTE Energy this month will begin installing 120,000 so-called smart meters at homes throughout Washtenaw County, officials announced today.

The meters allow the Detroit-based utility to remotely monitor power outages — instead of relying on customers to call — and remotely monitor usage, reducing the need for meter readers.

This month, DTE will start installing "advanced electric meters" at homes in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. In March, workers will start installing meters in Ann Arbor Township and Barton Hills. In April, they'll start installing meters in Dexter, Dexter Township and Scio Township.

Crews will start installing meters in Saline, Saline Township, Superior Township and Whitmore Lake in May, followed by Chelsea, Manchester, Milan and York Township in June.

Washtenaw County has about 134,161 households, according to recent U.S. Census data.

Scott Simons, a DTE spokesman, said in an email that the company "is absorbing the cost of the new meters through greater operational efficiencies gained by the meters."

DTE said more than 1 million of its customers would have smart meters by the end of 2013.

“This technology will allow us to quickly locate and reduce the length of power outages and other problems, virtually eliminate estimated bills through automated meter reading and remotely connect and disconnect service, which means faster, less intrusive service," said Vince Dow, DTE Energy vice president for distribution operations, in a statement.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Robert Williams

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 3:40 a.m.

SMART METER PRIVACY VIOLATIONS. 1. Must-See 4-minute youtube video on Smart meters <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;v=8JNFr_j6kdI</a> SMART METER HEALTH PROBLEMS AND CANCER. 2. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless Smart Meters (&amp; some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B Carcinogen List. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> 3. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH Feb 2011 found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> 4. The NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE Calls for Halt To Smart Meters in Homes and Schools. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> 5. LABORATORY SCIENTISTS have observed? (1) Human Cell Damage? (2) DNA Chain Breaks ?(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier? from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> 6. INSURANCE COMPANIES won't insure smart meters due to biological damage seen by scientists they hired. ? TV Video (3 minutes) <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> ? Cell Phone use and other devices are Voluntary and can be shut off at the user's discretion, but Smart meters mounted on homes are emitting radiation 24/7 and can not be shut off.

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 2:41 a.m.

There are serious privacy concerns growing among consumers and others about this technology being imposed on us. Wireless smart meters can be hacked by outsiders. They will be able to tell you and the utility company how much energy you are using every 15 minutes; the next generation of smart meters proposed real-time monitoring. This is extremely dangerous. Do you want the utility company and manufacturers (and hackers and insurance companies among others) to know how often you use your appliances, including when you turn off and on your home security system? The Denver Post reports: The &quot;smart&quot; electric grid may be just a little too smart. Once a smart meter is attached to a home, it can gather a lot more data than just how much electricity a family uses. It can tell how many people live in the house, when they get up, when they go to sleep and when they aren't home. It can tell how many showers they take and loads of laundry they do. How often they use the microwave. How much television they watch and what kind of TV they watch it on. Almost 200,000 smart meters are now being installed between Fort Collins and Pueblo, and across the country 52 million smart meters will be installed by 2015, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission estimate. &quot;This is technology that can pierce the blinds,&quot; said Elias Quinn, author of a smart grid privacy study for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. &quot;Insufficient oversight could lead to an unprecedented invasion of consumer privacy,&quot; Quinn warned in his report to the PUC. Source: Denver Post," New electricity grids may be smart, but not so private," May 18, 2010: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

G. Orwell

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

I'm no expert but I do not want this on my house. AA city and other municipalities need to do their research before people start getting sick. Particularly babies and little children who are far more susceptible to radiation. Do not be so naive. DTE isn't going to tell you how dangerous these meters are. Just as tobacco companies denied dangers of smoking. <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;feature=youtube_gdata_player</a> Cities and counties that have banned or are in the process. I am sure they've done their research and found smart meters to be ery dangerous. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Spy Meters

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.


Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Spy Meters


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

Just another friendly move by DTE to set the consumer up for variable rates to punish families and seniors With increased rates.

Ellis Sams

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:31 a.m.

What this means is the power company will be able interrupt your service during peak demand times.


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

The city reaps the benefits from surcharges and taxes from the utilities, that's why they didn't oppose this scam.


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

California has been putting them in like gangbusters, and guess what everyones electric bills have skyrocketed. I know because I have a home there and my electric bill has increased by 25% from the prior meter with the same usage as before. Not only will they monitor how much usage that you use but they'll charge you a higher rate during peak hours from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. They claim that most people work during the day and that you should be using less power during that time, guess what, AC in the summer time will usually kick in around 2:00PM and you get charged extra. Either way many meters in CA needed to be re-calibrated because if the high complaints, the city should have never let them adopt this program till after they had enough data about how bad they really are. More profit for the companies and shareholders :))!


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

walker101 - That is not the meter's fault - it is the decision of the commission to change rates and change the 5 tier usage system. If you don't like the price you pay, contact the Office of the Rate Payer Advocate at the California Public Utility Commission in San Francisco.


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

P.G. &amp; E. here in CA put a &quot;smart meter&quot; on our natural gas line. Our gas bills have never been higher. Hang on to your wallets Washtenaw County, between higher gasoline prices, higher natural gas bills, and expensive electricity, your disposable income is going to take a massive hit.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

finally! now i will get my dte bill due date the same instead of different days during the month. this is the only company that has a floating due date.

toothless wonder

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

DTE knows when you're sleeping, DTE knows when you're awake. DTE knows when you've been bad or good, or operating a grow room, So be good for goodness sake!


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

Big brother is watching.....


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

toothless wonder - your current meter will tell them if you are running a large grow op - your usage will be out of formula for the size of your house. Smart meters don't do any more to help them find them than the meter already on your house.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

Does this mean lower rates due to fewer meter readers? Does this mean the elimination of the monthly $6.00 &quot;service charge&quot; on electric bills since meter readers no longer have to come to homes or apartment buildings? I'll believe it if I see it. DTE raised per kwh rates this past December on the power supply cost recovery factor, the base electric rates, and the choice incentive mechanism surcharge, effective January 2012, just in time for the new remote meter reading. Only 33% of my total DTE bill each month is actually electric useage; the other 67% is fees, surcharges and taxes. This is ludicrous.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

This will be a great way for DTE to control the amount of electricity your home gets at any given time. These meters report electricity consumption on an hourly basis. This enables DTE to set pricing that varies by season and time of the day, rewarding customers who shift energy use to off-peak periods. The peak pricing program will start out on a voluntary basis, and the full rollout is expected to take five years. Looks like energy is going to cost more!


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

I believe we are already on a similar program. Interuptable service.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

Your electric bill goes up after a smart meter is installed, lots of documentation on this,also another person out of a job not supporting the economy and or housing values,etc.

Rick Neubig

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

Glad to get a Smart Meter. It will facilitate off-peak metering for people who may want to charge an electric car at night. Silly for DTE to have to send a car out to every house to read meters.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

...check out this YouTube. decide for yourself if he is in touch with reality or not regarding smart meters: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

ac10award - The video in question assumes that the meter provides readings every second. The meters DTE is installing can't do that. The meter records hourly readings, nothing shorter. Can you pick out of a 1 hour time period when the garage door went up? I sure can't. They don't do harmonics or other signature information that could tell a motor from a light or a TV. The video you show is just as good as the letter that circulated in the early 1970s on the horrors of seat belts and how the manufacturers were working to trap people in their cars so they died in the crashes. It took years to prove the letter was false.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

This guy is out of touch. The meter can only tell how much power you used and at what time. They cannot tell what specific appliance was used. They can't see into your home with a video camera as he says. I look forward to saving $$ by moving tasks such as clothes washing and dish washing to low demand hours. There is nothing in my power consumption pattern that is any sort of invasion of my privacy.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

Updating meters must be cheaper than updating infrastructure.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Boy, I hope we don't have the opposition to smart meters here in Michigan that they do in California. I've been wanting one of those things ever since I was in California and some people who were gathering signatures to ban them told me about them. I was like, you want to BAN these? I want to make them mandatory.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

I don't see Pittsfield Twp on the list anywhere? Did I miss th notice that we are not in Washtenaw County anymore? I would love to have one of those meters.

Rob Henderson

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 3:39 a.m.

I work as a meter reader in Washtnaw County, and the bosses are telling us that about half of the county's meters will be changed this year, in the locations listed in the article. No word on when anyone else gets 'em.

Ricardo Queso

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

And another thing, that fluoride in the water ...!

G. Orwell

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

I am glad you know. Only if you knew that fluoride was toxic waste from fertilizer and aluminum smeltering plants. It causes bone cancer, lowers IQ, causes thyroid problems. This is according to our own government. Look it up.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Educate yourself. Smart Meters output less RF radiation than an average Cell Phone or WiFi router, yet your house likely has both.

G. Orwell

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

These meters are very dangerous and they are being banned in parts of California and other areas of the country. The meters emit high levels of EMF radiation 24/7. They are also very intrusive to one's privacy. Google, &quot;dangers of smart meters.&quot; Also go to &quot;Stop DTE Smart Meters.&quot; Inform yourselves before it is too late.


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

G. Orwell - Wrong on every count. Some people are allowed to &quot;Opt Out&quot; in California - as of Friday the number (out of roughly 15 million) is 4,400 - well less than 1 percent. It costs $39 to opt out and $10 a month to have the meter manually read. The meters talk 3x a day, unless there is an outage. The average message is well less than 1 second long. If you spend 3 minutes on a wireless phone in your home, you need to keep the meter to your other ear for 6 months. None of the scare information is correct. The leading scare you person, also has a youtube video on the &quot;aliens living among us&quot;. He has no engineering degree and no background in physics.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Ugh. I am with you @justcurious. I would much rather have a smart reader than person from DTE in my backyard. Especially since they leave my gate open half the time.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

I don't &quot;Google&quot; anything as they are tracking what I Google and using it to let others Google my Googling habits.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

It is intrusive to my privacy to have the meter reader show up in my backyard.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Everyone run to California where it is safe.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.


Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Do our rates go up to pay for this, even though they are reducing the need for meter readers?


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

@thinker: I'll speculate here - rates won't go up immediately, but the new meters allow DTE, for the first time, to measure peak demand. And likely power factor. Don't be surprised if residential rates start to incorporate charges based on peak demand (as some businesses get). And if your average power factor isn't pretty high expect a call from DTE regarding correcting it - I'd bet for a fee. FWIW The more precisely DTE can measure power usage and distribution costs, the more precisely they can bill accordingly. Seems fair to me.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

This is good news. Long overdue.