A Muskegon man says he doesn't want a Consumer’s Energy smart meter, but it’s not for the reason you might think.
Tony Driscoll called 13 On Your Side after the utility company told him he would have to pay for the installation. "I told them I shouldn't have to pay for somebody to do that, when it's their meter”, says Driscoll.
Driscoll says his current meter is in an odd place. Several years ago, it was installed in the corner of his house and it’s not enough space for a new smart meter. "We bought the house 23 years ago. I haven't moved it."
The house used to be masonry brick and 10 years ago tony says he had a contractor put siding on it for better insulation. Consumers Energy says the meter is in an unsafe location. Driscoll says the meter-readers never had a problem until recently.
Consumers Energy started installing smart meters in 2012. The device allows Consumers to read meters remotely.
"They want to eliminate a meter reader position, which makes them more profitable. I understand that, but I shouldn't have to bare that brunt," Driscoll says.
Drsicoll says he can either get a smart meter or opt-out -- meaning he would pay an initial fee of $69, then $9.72 a month to pay for the meter readers to come to his house.
Right now, there is proposed legislation that would allow residents to choose whether they want one and not be penalized, but Driscoll says "I never said I'm opting out, I'm saying I'm not paying for something you want to do."
Driscoll called 13 On Your Side when he says he wasn't getting anywhere with Consumers Energy. If he didn't opt-out, the company was threatening to shut off his service. He says a fair solution would be to let him keep what he has or do what they need to do at their cost.
Consumers Energy Spokesman, Roger Morgenstern says the company is willing to work with Driscoll. Morgenstern suggested he get an estimate on the work and when he know how much it will cost, Consumers Energy can try to come up with a fair solution.
In the meantime, the proposed legislation allowing people to opt-out of program without penalty is still making its way through the Michigan House of Representatives. Another hearing is scheduled for March 7, 2017.
Consumers says it's smart meters get rid of the need to estimate bills helps them respond better to outages.
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