Smart Meters and Smart grid in Michigan
Starting with Consumers Energy Employees, Smart Meters have begun to be installed. I spoke with one Consumers Energy Employee Kelly, From Michigan and she says she is very excited to have hers. She loves being able to go online and see her usage so that she can pick a time that is cheaper to do things such as laundry. Some people have begun to form groups against the meters being changed. You can look online and see many articles stating that some are worried that you can tell when they are home or away based on their usage. Others complain about medical issues such as people who have a high sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation given off by the devices. The device gives off the same amount of electromagnetic radiation as a cell phone. The signal only lasts 20 seconds, one time a day unlike a cell phone that most people have turned on all day and night. Kelly says "the signal given off is about the same as when you are sending one email." You can see a chart here showing this. Many other states already have these installed.
With the new Smart Meter it automatically reports a power outage to the company. They have the opportunity to re-route your electric from another Smart grid so that you are not out of power while yours is being repaired. (based on each situation) You will be able to go online and see when peak times are so that you can choose to do things that take high amounts of electric at a different time to get the cheaper rate.
If you choose to opt out from the program there will be a fee that is still to be determined by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
I know our family is thrilled to be getting one and Jim says " I want mine installed TODAY!" This will really make our Electric challenge around here fun.
On the consumers Energy website you can get more answers to any questions you may have. I have also found a page on DTE Energy with answers about the program they have.
Kelly says that they are starting in Muskegon, Zeeland, Grand Rapids and making their way around. The whole project is scheduled to take until 2019 to complete. Newaygo county is schedule to be complete in 2014. In case you are wondering the meter readers have been given other jobs within the company. They will remain reading meters for awhile after installation to be sure they are working properly and when that is complete they will be tested for other jobs within the company to be placed in.
So what do you think? Are you for or against the new meters?