State commission rules DTE Energy can charge opt out fees to customers in smart meter program
The Commission ruled Wednesday that DTE can charge an initial $67.20 to opt out, as well as a monthly surcharge of $9.80, MLive reported.
The charges are the same rates that were recommended by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who issued a written opinion this February.
DTE had previously proposed an initial fee of $87 and a monthly charge of $15 for the opt-out program.
Schuette said those fees were not justified, given the company's reported costs for the services to remove the meters.
A cost schedule DTE Energy submitted stated labor and overhead costs average about $61.46 per hour for removal, including additional fees for training and billing.
For each customer every month, DTE claimed it would cost $8 to read a meter, $2 for a supervisor, $3.60 for two billing analysts and $2 for a route coordinator. DTE bills its customers now a meter-reading rate of $0.45 per month.
Smart meters are digital devices that track energy usage. DTE and other utility companies use them in place of older analog meters. The new devices are equipped with radio transmitters to wirelessly communicate electricity consumption information to the company.